I stood in front of the long mirror hanging from the back of my closet door, newly married with a pillow under my dress, blissfully imagining what my pregnant, bloated belly would look like someday. Staring longingly at my image in the mirror I hoped to be pregnant within this year. A few years passed by and after getting tested, my husband and I found we could never conceive a child naturally. Heartbroken and confused, we began to grieve the loss of conceiving a child and Mother’s Day was forever altered in my mind from that point on.

Mother’s Day is full of great life, ringing laughter, deep thankfulness, sloppy kisses, messy breakfast in bed to the sounds of fire alarms, sleeping in, soft snuggles, and paste-sticky cards. Mother’s Day can be wonderful, full of love and thankfulness. But Mother’s Day can also be hard for many.

For the one whose mom hurt you, told you you’re not enough, told you lies about yourself you have come to believe. May you find peace today. May you know you are worthy of love and acceptance and Grace. May you honor a mother in your local nursing home and deeply care about her wellbeing.

For the one whose mom has passed away, too early, too soon, leaving a wounded hole in your heart which hurts desperately on Mother’s Day. May you find peace today. May you deeply love those who are still here, holding nothing back.

For the one who lost your little one, cancer ripping her from you, miscarriage leaving your womb empty, the accident which took his life, the sickness stopping breath. May you find peace today. May you hold your other children closer, tighter. May you allow yourself space to grieve and to sit in that grief. May you know that in your grief, God grieves alongside you.

For the one who became a mother too young, wasn’t ready, couldn’t be a mother quite yet, for the birthmoms who discover not a day goes by without thinking about and longing for your child. May you find peace today. May you know how loved your child is and how lucky they are to know you are on their side. May you know your child has never stopped loving you.

For the one whose womb is empty, longing to bear a child, longing to become a mother, loss stretching a mile wide in every direction and hope is hard to find. May you find peace today. May you continue to love the children God has placed along your path. Your nieces and nephews. Your god-children and neighbor’s kids. You are their person when parents can’t be.

For the one whose adoption might not go through again, whose child is overseas waiting for you, whose foster child is in your home with you, cuddled next to you, who you desperately see as your very own, birthed from your heart and out of you, flesh and blood child. May you find peace today. May you love without holding back. May you be your child’s mom no matter how long you get to have your child for. And in the unknown, in the waiting, in the uncertainty which life keeps throwing your way, may you give all of yourself to your child.

I know I have more than I deserve, more than I could have ever imagined for myself 13 years ago while looking at my “pregnant” self in the mirror that day. I know the life I have now is not how I would have written. However, it is more than I could have thought up. My plan for my life would have been a bushel of babies born from my body. God’s plan for me includes three incredible children born from each of their Mama’s bodies, and what a joy and honor it is to be their mom.

I know the Mother’s Day of angry tears, of clutching an empty womb while sobbing and screaming, of hopelessness and jealousy. I know that Mother’s Day and it sucks and it’s hard and every Mother’s Day reminds me of that pain.

I also know the Mother’s Day of overwhelming joy and deep gratitude: I am a mother because of three amazing birthmothers who have given me my everything. Respect, love and awe are words not big enough to describe and I am forever thankful.

May you remember that today can be a gift for many but a heartbreak for some. May you find peace and give peace today. Happy Mother’s Day.