Mothers Day is a good thing and it’s absolutely right we should have the chance to celebrate mothers everywhere. For those of us who are still fortunate enough to have our mum with us it’s a lovely opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the women who not only gave birth to us but who nurtured us and loved us, and probably sacrificed more than we will ever know for us.
I am in the fortunate position to know the love and care of a mum who has always been nothing but supportive of me, who has always believed in me and told me she loved me. I am also fortunate to have a lovely mother in law who welcomed me into her own family when I married her son and has been nothing but generous in her love and kindness to me ever since.
I am a daughter and a daughter in law. I’m a wife, and a sister and a sister in law. I’m an aunt and a Godmother. All of these are roles I am proud to be, but I’m not a mother. ‘Every one has had a mum but not everyone can be a mum’. This thought struck me earlier this week as I was thinking about Mothers Day.
One of the amazing things about being a woman in the 21st Century in the UK is that we have choices. A number of women make the choice not to be mothers, and it’s a choice I respect. But, like many women I didn’t make that choice, as it turned out, in the end, I didn’t have a choice.
I will never know what it means to hold a new born baby knowing that you have been part of making him or her. I will never know how hard it is to hand a child over to someone else’s care on that first day at nursery or school; or the joy of that same child running to meet me proudly brandishing brightly coloured art work. I will never have a child I can share my favourite stories with or take to the beach and jump waves with. I will never experience those difficult teenage years or the startling reality that the same child who once cried when you left him is now leaving you, stretching wings and finding adventure.
However, I do know the joy of being part of a family, the privilege of being married to a wonderful man, the fun of loyal friendships and the excitement of never quite knowing where life will next take me. I have a freedom and independence that I know my friends and family who are mums will never have. For all of these things I am immensely grateful and I wouldn’t change any of them.
But today is Mothering Sunday, and as we celebrate the glorious and vital role of motherhood it seems important to acknowledge all those fabulous women who are daughters and sisters and wives and aunts but like me can never be mothers and like me today, may be feeling just a little bit sad about that.
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