Mother's Day. Simple enough, right? It's a day to honor the mothers in our lives. But it seems that as I get older, this day has become a complex mix of celebration, remembrance, and grief.

I am blessed to be able to honor the mothers of my heart this day. The strong and wise women whom I have chosen to welcome into my life and who have walked along side me on my journey. We have shared laughter and tears, great times and damn crappy times. They have imparted wisdom, forgiven foibles, shored up my confidence, and led by example. I am blessed because this list of women in my life is long.

I am grieved because the mother of my blood passed away ten years ago and I am not able to honor her in person this day. Our time together was too brief. I am starting to suspect, however, that it really wouldn't have mattered how long she had stayed - it would have always felt like not enough. My mother gave me the incredible gift of unconditional, unstinting love. My mother gave me the gift of fearless dreaming - no idea was too impossible to not at least try.

 my nana, mom, me, and little sister

my nana, mom, me, and little sister

 My mom in a wheelbarrow

My mom in a wheelbarrow

I am blessed to be honored by my three children on this day. They make me homemade cards and homemade gifts and fill them with so much love it hurts. They push every button I didn't know I had, drag me past my breaking point regularly, and have forced my heart and mind and self to be more open and compassionate than I would have imagined possible without them.

I am grieved this day because my children did not meet my mother and that, I think, is the hardest thing of all today. She would have loved them so much. And they would have loved her right back. If she were here, I would tell my mom that I get it - that now that I am a mother myself I understand so much more about her, about the way she moved in the world, the ways in which she was strong that I didn't see when I was the one she was being strong for, the ways in which she was human and broken and just doing the best she could and I would honor her for all of it.

 my brood

my brood

And I am grieved because there is one little bean that we lost to miscarriage and so there is something missing this day. That little bean would have been five years old this year. I sometimes wonder what he would have been like. I don't know why I think he's a he. I just do.

I am blessed because I get to celebrate my mother-in-law, a woman who welcomed me with open arms, has treated me with compassion, generosity, and respect for all the years that I have known her. And because I get to see the incredible relationship she has with my children and I see the spiral of maternal wisdom continuing on unbroken. That spiral is one from which I draw great strength.

We are the result of the love of thousands.

So, whether this Mother's Day is one of pure celebration, deep grief, or some complex mix of the two for you, know you are not alone.

With light & love,
~ Rachel


Rachel Parris

Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, Birthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.