Honoring What We Have — And What We’ve Lost — On Mother’s Day

This guest blog is by Lori Lyons at The Lyons Din

My husband’s ex-wife is trying hard to find the perfect gift for our daughter-in-law for Mother’s Day.

But there isn’t one.

What do you get for a woman who is a mother without a child?

Cori, and my stepson Daniel were within days of becoming happy first-time parents. But a week before their baby girl was to arrive, the umbilical cord somehow wrapped around her neck and took her life before it ever began.

Just days before Christmas, Cori gave birth to a stillborn baby girl they named Parker. Days later, Daniel wept and embraced the tiny white box containing his daughter – my step granddaughter.

And our family is left to dream of what might have been.

I know this Mother’s Day will be hard. I never lost a baby in such a way. Despite years of trying, years of praying, and years of fertility treatments, I was never fortunate enough to get pregnant. I never got to experience that joy of womanhood.

Turning our hopes toward adoption

I did have two stepchildren that I shared with my husband’s ex-wife, who became my friends and graciously let me tag along and be their extra parent.

Eventually, my husband and I turned our hopes toward adoption. But that road was fraught with peril as well. There was the prospective birth parents who left us holding our breaths for an entire weekend before ultimately choosing Couple Number One. And there was the mother who let us care for her and take care of her for six months before deciding to reunite with her boyfriend just 19 days before their baby was due.

And through all of that, I too had to survive a whole bunch of Mother’s Days when I wasn’t. I came to dread it after a while.

There was the Sunday in my church when the priest looked around at all of the glowing women with their glowing children and their pink carnations. He asked all of the mothers to stand up. Then he asked all of the grandmothers. Even all of the godmothers. But he neglected to ask any of the stepmothers. Or the desperate-to-be-mothers.

There were the Sundays I had to accompany my mother-in-law, who proudly stood as the mother of three boys. I would smile and remain seated, envying her carnation, waiting my turn and hoping against hope that it would come. Some day.

Becoming an adoptive mom

My someday finally came in the winter of 2001 when a mother named Gail placed a tiny pink bundle of love into my waiting arms and made my dreams come true.  Finally, I became a mom.

And a few months later on Mother’s Day, I oh-so-proudly accepted my carnation from a young man named Daniel, who was the youth minister that day. And when the priest asked all of the mothers to stand up, I did.

But I also remember the ones who can’t. The ones who are still waiting, some for their miracle, some for a phone call, some for the proper paperwork.

And this year I will remember the ones who don’t know if they should stand, simply because their children are no longer with them or never got to be. The ones who have lost.

They are mothers too.

Lori Lyons is a Louisiana journalist and author who blogs about life, motherhood, adoption and sometimes baseball at The Lyons Din. She self-published the book, Adopting in America: The Diary of a Mom in Waiting, recounting her journey to motherhood.

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Photo: Kenziepoo

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