Mother's Day Memories
As a postpartum doula, i am graced to witness the beginnings of motherhood with so many women. Their joys, their trials and tribulations, and their personal journeys. They share those moments with me as I support them during one of the most momentous life changes they may ever experience.
Today, I ponder my own journey through motherhood…it’s beginnings and twists and turns. The rough start as a single, young mother; the journey through my partner’s infertility, then fostering children and adopting; the journey through losing a child to suicide; the journey of surgically removing my uterus and recognizing the finality of never carrying a baby inside me again. These experiences are my stepping stones through motherhood.
When we build a pathway in our home’s yard, we often scatter decorative stones or plants between the stepping stones for color and texture. I was thinking today, as all of my children are grown, about bygone Mother’s Days and the sweet gifts my children would deliver, tasks they would lovingly do or messages they would write. Those gifts are like the pretty little plants we would put between the stepping stones in our path….they provide brightness and cheeriness and joy; they take root and grow as the motherhood journey continues.
My most treasured gifts have included:
An adjustable ring bought at the school’s “store” that still sits in my jewelry case to this day
Notes slid under the door made with crayons and paper torn from a spiral notebook
The most gigantic card that could possibly be found
Breakfast in bed with a giant mess left in the kitchen
Shopping trips with my adult daughter to celebrate our motherhood together
Heartfelt texts and electronic messages sent from children that I call my “Others” loving me as their own just as I love them
The neighbor girl bringing a sweet card and gift
My children gathering to plant my garden while I sat and watched and sometimes minded the grandbaby….and then all sitting down to a grilled meal.
In the grand scheme of things these things are but little gestures, but, when coupled with love and joy, they pave a sweet path of memories that are priceless in their value. They become treasures.
Today it is quiet in my house. The children are all grown and either working or celebrating with their children. We drove to the nursery to pick out flowers for the front porch, and when I get home from my shift as supporting a new mom today, I will see the most beautiful Mother’s Day sight…..my planted flowers. I will read all the messages and look forward to my scheduled mother/daughter day out. I will breathe in and stare at the gift I bought myself in honor of my child who isn’t here…..and I will feel loved and ready to take on the next twist in the path of motherhood.
Sheryl Cooksley is the mother of 4, fostered over 25 children and is “Nana” to 5. She is the owner of Family Tree Doula Services and a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula serving Portland, Oregon and the surrounding area. She can be reached here to schedule a no-cost consult to discuss your antepartum and postpartum support needs.