mother’s day is bittersweet

I absolutely love being a mom. Of course, there are hard days and days I need to get away…but goodness I love being a mom. I can’t believe those little babies I once welcomed in my arms are now a toddler and growing kids. As much as I treasure being a mom and am so grateful for the joy of experiencing motherhood, you would think Mother’s Day would be my favorite holiday. It is not. This day, this weekend always brings up hard things for me. A miscarriage. My grandma’s passing. Thoughts of my daughter’s birth mom. Thoughts of friends and strangers aching on this day because they want nothing else than to be a mom. This is a hard, hard day for so many. While some moms get celebrated, others are barely making it. While some women, like myself, find themselves surrounded with the laughter of their kids…others are hurting over hopes and dreams not yet fulfilled.

It is a bittersweet day for me.

I will celebrate the moms in my life. I  will delight in the little surprises my kids have planned. I will relish being a mom.

But, a part of me will also be breaking for those that ache deeply on this day….

Today, whatever your story might be, I hope that you find unexpected joys and laughter in surprising places…..

Happy Mother’s Day.

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  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Dearest Ashley, I didn’t realize you had a miscarriage. I am so very sorry for your loss. You are very loved and thank you for your beautiful words here. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Kat - Thank you for this. I am surrounded by mothers & often hear how hard it is to raise kids (which it is!) and how they can’t wait until another stage in life (ie. when their kids are more independent). I am 27 and unmarried but am told all the time not to worry because I am “still young”. But that doesn’t take away the fact that my deepest desire is to have a child. I am trusting that God has that in my future, but sometimes it feels impossible. So thank you for writing this for all the mothers out there, the ones doing well, the ones just making it, and the ones that haven’t officially become mothers yet.

    Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

  • Samantha - Ashley – thank you so much for sharing this. I am amazed at your compassion. My husband and I have tried for over 3 years and are waiting for our miracle. I always feel bad for dreading this weekend and making excuses not to go to the Mother’s Day service. I thought I was being overly sensitive it’s nice to know there are women that share the same struggle.

  • Gayna - Thank you….

  • Mary from tenn - Thank you. Simply that. You may wonder what I mean and I’ll explain. You get it. You get that today may be hard for those of us aching for a child. So many in my life don’t get it. That it hurts and this day is hard. You truly are a beautiful person inside and out. Never forget that. Happy mother’s day to a wonderful woman.

  • Liane - Such a lovely thought provoking post.
    Happy Mothers Day! x

  • Heather - Thank you for saying the things that I try my best not to think on days like this. It is hard to not feel sadness on a day celebrating something that you have been unable to become. And then it’s hard to know that you are having a “pity party” about it when everyone else is celebrating loved ones. I love that you are so thoughtful and empathetic about others. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your family and again thank you for acknowledging all the others who don’t get the celebrations today.

  • Andrea - You are an amazing woman with a huge heart. I wish I could know you, you have so much to share. Wishing you a wonderful day, from Auckland New Zealand.

  • Sarah - Thank you for this post, Ashley. You get it more than most people do.

    This year, I suffered my first miscarriage of my first pregnancy. It’s a bittersweet day for me, too. I’m a mom, but not quite. But I am still a mom. But with no living children. I know I haven’t been trying for that long, in comparison with other people, but it is still so hard waiting.

    For my first mother’s day, I bought myself a bouquet of flowers and put my lost baby’s ultrasound picture on top of it amongst the flowers. My husband is away on business and I don’t live close to my family, so I feel a little alone today. That’s why I was so touched to see this. Thanks so much again.

  • Kirsten - yes, yes, YES. Amen and amen.

  • Katie - Bless you for understanding the struggle of others. No doubt you will pass that virtue on to your children.And the world will be a better place.

  • Lyn - Happy Mother’s Day!!!

  • Hannah - I’ve been hopefully and faithfully waiting for 3 years to celebrate Mother’s Day with my babies in my arms. But my arms are still empty. It is a rough day, but I don’t grieve without hope. Thank you for wishing us a happy Mother’s Day. Means more than you know. 🙂

  • karen - so nice ashley

  • Emily - Such a sweet and thoughtful post that I know will be appreciated by many. Happy Mother’s Day, you are wonderful.

  • nicola - Thank you thank you. Thank you for seeing that for some of us this is the hardest day of the year. That being said you are a GREAT mom – please, go, enjoy a day that celebrates all of that greatness. : )

  • Mulling it over | Unwarranted Grace - […] embodied in any holiday card – and who are often very easily invisible to the world. [Update this is another good one here, short and sweet, posted by one of my favorite bloggers on Sunday […]

  • Angela - Thank you from someone who is aching today.

  • Erin - Ashley, you have said it all so beautifully. Thank you for continuing to share your heart. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Jenna - From deep down inside I want to say thank you for saying that!

  • Katherine - Beautifully written sentiments. This is exactly how I feel about today. I am acutely aware of how blessed I am but also hurting for those who grieve today.

  • Crystal - Thank-you for recognizing those of us that long to be mothers. This day is very painful for us.

  • MJ - My FB status for today. Totally feeling this way as well. Missing my babies I have miscarried, even while celebrating being a mom to my wonderful daughter.

    There is a beautiful inheritance to the women who aren’t mothers. Your calling is just as vital to God’s plan and I honor you today…

    “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. – Isaiah 54:1-17

  • Michele - Ashley, Thank you. For the blog you write, and the joy you share through it. For your understanding and kindness. Mother’s Day has always been a time of celebration for our family. A time to celebrate my mom. Sometimes a time to celebrate the gift my Mom got when I was born on Mother’s Day instead of being born when I was due — on my Dad’s birthday two days before. In the last ten years it was also a time to celebrate the birth of my sister-in-law (the day before my Dad’s day). All fun things to gather together and celebrate. And yet, in the last 6 years it’s been bittersweet. A failed adoption. Missing the daughter-of-my-heart who lives another world away. Not really knowing how to respond when people wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day.” My mother’s day celebration came in April this year — two sets of photos of our girl. She is bright and beautiful. Smiling and healthy. Loved by her mom and brother there, and loved her mom and dad here. So loved. It’s been two years since we’d seen her last. Two years since we Skyped with her each week. Two years since we’d heard much about her. So this Mother’s Day truly brought unexpected joys. And this year when people wished me a “Happy Mother’s Day” I was able to smile and thank them sincerely.

  • Jen - my sentiments exactly. so well said. thank you again for sending a message of grace and kindness.

  • Val Strande - Very well said.

  • Debbie C - Happy Mother’s Day Ashley! Thanks for inspiring us in so many ways .

  • Amy - So blessed:). The picture of you and little one took my breath away. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Sarah @ The Little Dove - I’m encouraged by your perspective, very honest and true! I used the word bittersweet in my post about Mother’s Day today as well, it just seems appropriate. My husband and I have been going through infertility and so today is always a reminder of that longing as well as a celebration of the moms we love and adore. Bittersweet. Blessings on you and your beautiful family!

  • Hannah - Thank you, so beautifully put. I hope you had a wonderful day surrounded by your beautiful family.

  • Kimberly Troth - Happy Mother’s Day Ashley Ann!! Beautiful post and so true about it being such a hard day for some!

  • Jessica - I couldn’t have said it better myself. <3

  • Jacqui - Thank you so much for such a perfectly worded post. Bitter sweet indeed for so many, and for so many reasons. I appreciate the time and thought you have put into writing this. I don’t think it could have been said any better. X

  • Aneta Nina - Great post, Ashley. Yesterday we had a sermon about how women, who have or have not born children, are mothers. Look at Mother Teresa. She never born her own, yet she is remembered as a GREAT mother to so many. Her love and compassion for others is a quality of a mother. Hope this is encouraging to women who are aching in a dream unfulfilled. Be encouraged that you are a mother and you are making an impact!

  • Frances - This is really beautiful. I feel the same way about Mother’s Day. I lost a baby to placental abruption when I was almost 8 months pregnant and I always think about that child on holidays like Mother’s Day. I try to focus on my three beautiful children that are here but it’s always in the back of my mind.

  • Jenni - Ashley,
    I am sorry it is a hard day for you….. I can relate, but in a little different way. You see all I ever do on mothers day is think of my sister, she was a mommy of one precious little girl, Norah, that we now have. My sister only got one mothers day with her daughter and then she passed away. Some how, when mothers day comes around it is full of so much more emotion than I ever would have expected and all I can think of is how my sister should have been the mommy to our sweet little Norah.
    By the way, your 2nd son, looks so similar even as an infant, totally amazed by that!

  • Candee - Thank you for your words today. For acknowledging those of us who want nothing more than to have a family of our own. My husband and I have been trying for nearly 7 years. Last week we had our first appointment with a fertility doctor where I actually had my first ever positive pregnancy test. That joy was short lived as I miscarried on Friday, two days before mother’s day. This holiday will forever remind me of the heartbreak of this year. But I hope that in the future it will also be joyful.
    I’ve been a long time follower of your blog, but this is the first time I’m commenting. You have a beautiful family. I enjoy coming to see your gorgeous pictures and read your inspiring words. Thank you , again, for those.

  • jami - exactly. <3

  • Kristina - Lord have mercy, you are so right! It was the harest day I’ve had in all my years. Struggling with infertility my whole adult life, I’ve always tried to find the good in the bad but yesterday in church. I lost it. I broke down and had to leave and sit outside and cry my heart out thankfully to my girlfriends who understand, one a nurse and the other who was celebrating her first mother’s day after 5 years of infertility. It’s hard, it sucks and I’m still having a hard day. Thanks for sharing!

  • Aly - I just want to say thank you for acknowledging that Mother’s Day is bittersweet. Sunday was my very first momma’s day and it has so hard…my precious daughter was born in March and passed away the same day she was born. I watched as other moms joyfully celebrated the day and I spent the day tending to my broken heart. Thank you for shedding light on the bittersweet side to the day.

  • Emily - Oh that picture of LO makes me so teary. It’s amazing the bond that has developed in the last year! She looks so small in the first picture and so healthy in the recent. Happy Mothers Day!

  • Reese - I, too, spent time thinking of all the women aching to be moms this Mother’s Day. It was my first Mother’s Day since one of my children went to be with Jesus, and I spent much of a year dreading it. It turned out that I found myself mourning less and being grateful more. I prayed and ached for those with empty arms and thanked God for his blessings.

  • Sharon - I almost cried (at work) while reading your post. I couldn’t express why I felt so uneasy about mother’s day this year. I have a wonderful son and 2 (soon-to-be) step-daughters, I should be overjoyed. But deep down, I’m sad that I may not be able to have more and then feel selfish for not being happy with what I do have, as other people so desperately want just one child and can’t for one reason or another. I guess it’s an internal battle. Grateful and blessed for my kiddos, praying for those battling parenting situations. Thanks for posting…helped me understand my feelings a bit more.

  • Jamie - I so understand exactly what you are talking about. I love nothing more than being a momma. But like you, Mothers Day is a reminder of years of heartache over wanting children so desperately and the loss of several pregnancies.
    Its a reminder that my children have birth mothers and there are questions that will be asked at some point and I won’t have the answeres too.
    My heart hurts for friends and family who are still waiting for their babies to come, either via adoption or pregnancy.

    Yet its full of joy, and laughter and love. I get to watch my babies be silly and my 7 yr old draw me cards and “make me breakfast” which is usually honey toast (because he loves honey toast) even though I am allergic to honey! It delights me to be their momma. There is no greater joy, deeper sacrafice, overwhelming exhaustion, or perfect love than to be theirs and they mine.
    Praying for those still waiting.

  • Stefani - Hi Ashley, I have been following your blog for about 4 years now. I feel like I laugh with you, and cry with you, but I’ve never actually left a comment. I just wanted to say thanks for recognizing those of us who really struggle on Mother’s Day weekend. It’s one of the hardest days of the year for me since my miscarriage, and being told that I will never be able to carry a child to full term. And sometimes I feel like I’m the only one struggling during what should be a very happy weekend. Thanks again! You have truly touched my life!

  • melanie - Enjoy your children. They are beautiful. I have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren who are 5 and 6. I did get calls, cards or visits from any mof them. My grand babies live one hour away. I still have their Christmas presents. I don’t know what is wrong….I did nothing wrong. I spent all of mothers day in tears. You are very blessed.