Once a Mother, Always a Mother

Mothers’ Day arrives at the height of spring’s beauty, yet it often brings painful memories and conflicted feelings.

Some of this pain is straightforward and simple to understand. To put it simply, moms can be a pain at times. I know and I am. Although my four children are technically all adults (as is my husband), I still feel the need to offer them frequent safety advice and other wisdom. I worry because I am a mother. I second-guess my decisions, because I am a mother.

I am becoming my mother, and that worries me. When I began working at Lighthouse, my 81-year-old mother drove to our house to cook dinner for us. Nine years later, I am driving her old Saturn to a nursing home to fill out her menu. Some days I can’t live with her, but I know it will be hard to live without her.

A more complicated but understood pain connected to motherhood is pregnancy and infant loss. There are few tangible reminders of the child. And grieving a precious little one is more difficult without the usual rituals that accompany an older person’s death. The tinier the person, the greater the loss for words. A recovery guide at Lighthouse, “Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy,” speaks to this pain.

Arguably the most complicated, least understood pain related to this Hallmark holiday comes from abortion. I say “arguably” because each termination decision is as unique as the woman experiencing it.

Trudy M. Johnson, a licensed counselor who specializes in understanding abortion grief and has personally experienced it, believes that the most common feeling immediately following an abortion is relief. “Unfortunately, Johnson says, “this sense of relief is not always permanent. Sometimes a deep feeling of sadness will set in immediately.” Because an abortion decision can’t be taken back, she believes many women stuff down the sadness in order to move on with life.

Johnson feels this potent mix of relief and sadness is a recipe for confusion and emotional shutdown that can reinforce the isolation and silence of post-abortive women. Her antidote for this is to provide a safe place for women to grieve an abortion loss.

At Lighthouse, we have post-abortive women with open arms, loving hearts, and listening ears, ready to mourn with and mentor others on the path toward healing. Just like a mother would do.