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Mother’s Day is a truly wonderful holiday: it is a day when we get to honor the mothers, grandmothers, and female role models in our lives, sharing with them how much they mean to us and remembering the pivotal role they’ve played in our lives, acknowledging the sacrifices they’ve made on our behalf, and celebrating the wisdom they’ve imparted and the love they’ve freely given.

Mother’s Day is also a special day for those of us who are mothers to savor time with our children; to give thanks for the opportunity to parent them and pour our hearts into them; and to celebrate the new women within ourselves who were reborn the day we welcomed our children into this world.

In my younger years, I basked in the joyous parts of Mother’s Day, naïvely unaware of how this day is also quite difficult for so many. Life and maturity have taught me that Mother’s Day, though a great day of celebration, can also be a day of unspeakable pain. For those who have lost their mothers, or who have never known a mother’s love; for those whose relationships with their mothers are fractured beyond repair; for those who long for motherhood but cannot conceive a child; for those who have been disappointed as mothers because motherhood looks different from how they imagined it to be; for those who have lost a child . . . . for these individuals, Mother’s Day is not a day of celebration, but one of grief.

This Mother’s Day I find myself on the other side of heartache, content in my identity as both mother and daughter. I feel fulfilled in my role as Charleston’s mom, and excited about the two new lives that are growing within me. I am thankful for the amazing mother who raised me and continues to love me, for Luke’s mom who raised a fantastic son and has welcomed me as a daughter, and for the grandmothers and other female role models who have touched my life in unimaginable ways.

Here, in my place of joy and contentment, I reflect on the incredible tribe of women that motherhood has made me a part of. In her book Bittersweet, Shauna Niequist writes:

“Motherhood has rumbled over us like a freight train, rendering us in some moments out of control and humbled, positions we’re not accustomed to. . . motherhood laughed at our plans, twisted up our expectations, and gave them back to us upside down, covered with blood and stretch marks and Goldfish cracker paste. Logic says mothers are crazy to hope as heedlessly as we do, to love as rabidly as we do, to care as recklessly as we do, to yearn as acutely as we do, but there’s no other way. We have been made vulnerable by motherhood as we have by nothing else in our lives. We are very thankful, of course, and we adore our children and one another’s children. But as much as it’s beautiful, the process is a little harrowing. . . . The stakes have gone up in our lives, the way they do, it seems, every time you decide to love something.”

Shauna’s words remind me that we mothers are warriors! We wage battle every day against our children’s poor behavior, our personal insecurities, and the external forces that threaten our families. Love and courage and community are our weapons, and we wield them with a power we never knew we had within us. When we come to the end of ourselves, we lean into our Heavenly Father, beseeching Him to fill in the gaps that our own mortal mothering cannot reach.

This Mother’s Day, I honor and celebrate fearless mothers everywhere. Some are flourishing, others are floundering, but all of us are in this together. To every mother, in body or in spirit, who loves her children with an an unimaginable fierceness, Happy Mother’s Day!

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