Mother’s Day: A Lost Story
The Heart of the Unknown Mother
by C.P. Estés
Whether children landed on earth, but had to leave too soon,
whether they were detoured before they could be born,
whether they were wrenched away, or lost for unexplained reasons,
whether they were here for just a few moments,
or a few days… they all are blessed children.
When people ask, “Are you a mother?’
you are entitled to say ‘Yes,
I am a mother.’
‘Oh, how many?’ they’ll ask.
You are entitled to say
the full number of children,
including the ones
who were on their way
and never made it
for whichever reasons.
When people ask, ‘Where are your children?’
Say, ‘Right here, in my heart.’
Back Story: I realize that not all people may agree with my Mother’s Day philosophy, but long ago I wrote this to try to talk about we who have lost our children, been separated from our children, have not been able to complete the body for a child soul, have decided other things. For myself as a young unmarried woman forced to relinquish her first born child, Mother’s Day was the saddest day, if any one day could be said after that ripping away, to be sadder than any other grief-stricken day.
When throughout the years people would ask me how many children I had… beaten down and walking wounded, I never felt worthy to say the full number of souls I’d struggled to carry with infinite love and safely to this earth.
Until one day. It seemed like such a huge break with convention– but as the years gathered, I came to know ever more dear women and men who had lost children in one way or another…and they felt pressed into silence for many reasons…
I honestly don’t know the exact moment I stood up against the forces pressing me to remain silent. But I gradually felt more and more sure that we who had lost our children in whichever way, all had a right to count our children as all other souls counted their children. In full. That we are full mothers. Despite all agonies, despite being warned to silence, despite impossible twists of fate, unconscionable situations, despite never having told our stories, despite not wanting to cause anyone else sorrow, despite being too filled with hurt to speak. Still, and even so… we carry that lit room of the heart for our children forever; we are mothers of all our children.