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Empty Arms

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I’m very much looking forward to Mother’s Day this year. This is my first one since having L in my arms. Every afternoon I take a stroll over to the hydrangea bush in the front yard. I count the number of blooms {almost a dozen already} that are only days away from giving me an explosion of lacy, delicate petals that remind me of tiny newborn fingers and toes. That precious plant is so dear to my heart…

Some people might think that this is my first Mother’s Day, but, to me, it isn’t. My first Mother’s Day was 2009. Just a couple months prior we had to say goodbye to our precious baby. My heart was raw and very much still grieving. I felt like a mom but my arms and my womb were empty. Matt bought me the beautiful hydrangea bush because he knew they were my favorite and he wanted to plant something that every year would bloom and remind me of our child and God’s faithfulness. While we are guaranteed trials in this life, we are also guaranteed a deep joy that comes only from our Savior, and every time I glance at my hydrangeas I am reminded of this truth.

Over the past two years, our little hydrangea bush has flourished and quadrupled in size. Last year, we grinned and laughed when the same bush that had previously put forth pale blue and lilac blooms suddenly started shifting to a pinker hue. Some might say it’s the acidic/basic quality of the soil, but I know it was God reminding us of His faithfulness as we brought home our precious baby girl.

Mother’s Day is a joyous celebration, but for many people this will be a bittersweet day. I remember how my heart ached that first Mother’s Day. If you have a friend who has lost a baby due to miscarriage or is struggling with infertility, I would recommend you send her a private little note and just say Happy Mother’s Day and I love you. I know you might be worried that you will remind her of her pain, but, the truth is, she is already acutely aware of what day it is. You see, that woman whose baby is in heaven or who longs to have a baby in her womb–she’s already a mom, but she’s a mom with empty arms.

I love what Laura Bush wrote in her book…

“The English language lacks the words ‘to mourn an absence.’ For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only ‘I am sorry for your loss.’ But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?”

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