Every Mother Matters

Last Monday night my mother and I prepared a turkey dinner to celebrate my nephew’s college graduation.  At 82, Mom didn’t feel up to fixing turkey and all the trimmings herself.  As a (mostly) vegetarian, I’ve given up preparing meat and poultry.  But together, we did pretty well.  She did the turkey and gravy and two apple pies.  I did all the easy stuff.  The next morning, we drank coffee and admired the fresh blossoms in her perennial garden.  Then at noon I began the three-hour drive from her home in Michigan to mine in Illinois.

I won’t see Mom on Mother’s Day, but we both considered preparing a meal together for loved ones and then enjoying a leisurely early morning conversation as an excellent Mother’s Day celebration.  As I drove home, I thought sadly of friends who have recently lost their mothers. I realized how fortunate I am to still have a mother with whom I can share the simple pleasures of life.

I won’t see my mom on Mother’s Day because I’ll be taking care of my grandsons while my daughter, Shauna, gives the Mother’s Day sermon at our church.  Shauna is a fabulous speaker and a fabulous mother.  Today, while Henry plays with transformers in my living room and Mac sleeps in my Pack ‘n Play upstairs, Shauna is at church working on a fabulous talk that she’ll present this weekend. 

It is a rare blessing I have: to be able to celebrate both my mother and my daughter-turned-mother.  For many people Mother’s Day is anything but a day of celebration. I think of children grieving the loss of a mother and of childless women who are not childless by choice. So I do not write of Mother’s Day lightly, and as I write, I breathe a prayer for help and comfort for these children and women. 

I also write in solidarity with women in regions of the world where motherhood too often becomes a death sentence.  Every 90 seconds a women somewhere in the world dies due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.  For every woman who dies, 20-30 more suffer from lifelong debilitating disabilities.  In the developing world, pregnancy is the number one cause of death in women aged 15-19.  Nearly 70,000 young women die every year because their bodies are not ready for parenthood. 

This year I can’t let Mothers Day pass without reminding myself and others that every mother matters.  I already clicked the “Donate Here” button to make a gift to mothers in need through one of my favorite humanitarian organizations.  Would you consider doing the same?  A simple google search—the name of your favorite charity plus the words “Mother’s Day”—will provide plenty of options.  If you don’t know where to start, consider World Relief, World Vision or Compassion International.

And don’t forget to think closer to home.  If you have a friend or relative who lost her mother this year, or had a miscarriage, or buried a child, or found out—yet again—that’s she’s not pregnant, consider her sadness and pray for guidance about how to offer her the gifts of kindness and compassion.