Mother’s Day and May in general can be a difficult time for those who have lost a child or have lost a mother. We often dwell on what should have been, could have been, or would have been. But it’s important to look beyond the traditional definition of “mother” and think of mother as “nurturer.” In that sense, we are all mothers regardless of our situation. To nurture is to provide love and influence, to care for, support, educate, encourage, protect, and teach. To nurture is to help someone to grow and develop. We nurture our families by caring for the elderly, supporting our spouse, and guiding siblings. We nurture others in our communities by providing food for the poor, helping our neighbors, and volunteering. And we receive nurturing from others in our community like nurses and teachers.
Viewing motherhood in this way makes it inclusive, not exclusive. While for many of us it is hard to get through this month and season, take comfort in the fact that no matter what your situation, you are a mom. And it sometimes helps to mother ourselves during times of grief.
Deborah experienced the loss of her grandson, Liam, in January of 2019. She has two grown children, both adopted, and two grandchildren. Deborah lives with her husband, Keith, and dog, Kovu. Now that she is retired Deborah volunteers with several heart-health focused organizations. She is the author of the book “A Journey of the Heart: Learning to Thrive, Not Just Survive, With Congenital Heart Disease.