As Mother’s Day approached, I saw numerous facebook posts regarding being respectful to women that are not moms on this day. I immediately felt compassionate, thinking of women that struggle with infertility and other obstacles preventing their dream of motherhood. I had two miscarriages and remember how emotional and sensitive I was during that trying time. There are other incidences of infertility within my family and I know how heartbreaking they’ve been.
Then I read an open letter to pastors begging them to not publicly identify mothers within the congregation on this day. A lot of reasons were understandable, and I felt valid, but then she began to explain her own experience. She is not a mother by her own choice, but she felt pressure around her when all mothers were asked to stand because she was of childbearing age and without kids. Whaaaaaaaaat? I know women that do not want children who feel secure in their decision. I know that a lot of people question them, but they have enough sense to explain that it isn’t their calling (and that is truly what it is) and they decided to live their lives as they feel best. I guess this viewpoint was just absurd to me.
I decided to get to the bottom of Mother’s Day. Where did this day originate? What was it’s original intention? I assumed that I would find a story of an amazing mom that created such an impact, the world decided to celebrate her life. I wasn’t even close. In 1908, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother by passing out a white carnation to every woman that attended her church that day located in West Virginia. She then lobbied for the second Sunday in May to be observed as “Mother’s Day”. She was very specific that Mother’s should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world”.
I was instantly touched that Mother’s Day began as a memorial. My mother passed away when I was 23 and even after becoming a mother, this day is still difficult for me. Now that I realize the original intent of Mother’s Day, I also realize that the author of that letter had a valid point in not publicly recognizing moms. This day is for the celebration within families.
That’s what I wish for every mother today. The chance to hug your kids a little closer. The opportunity to reconnect with their children. For children to dedicate their day to their mothers by making her the center of their attention. Cards and flowers are nice, but cuddles and hugs are even better.