With Mother’s Day just passing, I thought I would share some thoughts with you. Mother’s Day was very sentimental this year because it was my first since dying during the birth of my baby girl, almost leaving my children without a mother, my husband without a wife and my parents without a daughter. I know I am alive, but to see all that my family went through for a horrific 24 hours has brought tears to my eyes many times. Even though I lived, they thought I would die, they settled it in their minds. There was a point at the hospital where my family and friends began devising a plan as to who would help Doug take care of the children. So, when I did survive, there was incredible joy within my family and friends, but they also were in mourning, mourning what they thought was the loss of me. It lasted for many months and a lot of tears were shed.
As I reflect on this past Mother’s Day, I cannot help but want to pour my heart out in prayer for all those who have suffered the incredible loss of their mothers, their wives and their children. I especially pray for all those women who have died from suffering an amniotic fluid embolism, the same condition that almost took the lives of me and my daughter, Ella. I saw what one day of losing me did to my own family, so to think of that pain in the hearts of those who have lost someone is truly unbearable—it is honestly more than my humanity can bear—so I must invite the Lord in and trust in His plan for all of our lives.
For those who have lost someone, I can tell you as someone who was “lost” for a moment in time, had I died, I would have been really happy in heaven. I lived a good life, said all I needed to say to people in my life while I was living, and sought the Lord daily. When I woke up from death, I experienced a peace that was not of this world. Since my memory of the whole incident was wiped clean, I do know that I must have seen the light or touched the cloak of Jesus because the peace I woke up with was heavenly. My sister said to me, “God wiped your memory clean, because if you had seen the face of Christ, you would have never returned to us.” And, she is right!
Since experiencing that peace, I have wanted it back so much. In previous months, I have tried to force it—maybe at times trying to live in la-la-land, shirking responsibility. I even had ideas of giving everything away. I know it sounds crazy, but the peace was too amazing to not want it every moment. What I have come to realize is that peace is not meant for me on earth—it is meant for all of us to experience in heaven! I felt a glimpse of heaven, and for those who have lost a loved one, you can be assured they are in a great state of peace and joy!
Now, if I can be honest about the reality of me as a mother this year, I can honestly say I have not been the greatest mother. When I arrived home from the hospital, I could hardly care for my children. (See picture to the right: Me holding Ella a few days before being released to go home.) I couldn’t carry them, go for walks with them, kick a ball around, etc. I had 50 staples in my stomach, a horrible infection that weakened me, a hard time breathing since a respirator was breathing for me 100% in the hospital, and a weak heart. I was helpless, but I was not hopeless. It was being a mother that gave me the strength to get through—to do whatever it takes to survive for my children. There is a super-special strength given to mothers. Motherhood has allowed me to endure hardship and suffering in a way I would have never been able to while I was single. Having children makes me think I can move mountains!
On top of being physically unable to care for my children, I made some poor decisions as I was trying to survive the days the best I could. I had to throw my dream of how I wanted to love them, teach them, and pray with them out the door and face the reality of my situation. Life was messy for many months. I raised my voice at times where I should have been more patient, I allowed my two-year old to watch Shrek (a PG movie, he begged and I caved many times), so he would not get into trouble when I couldn’t chase him around, Ella had thrush for a month on her tongue because I would forget to give her medicine. These are just a few of the mistakes. The littlest things that I needed to do as a mother seemed huge—too large! Not to mention after three months when I finally was able to take on full care of my children, I had to ask my mother and husband their tricks for getting Ella to calm down and go to sleep because I, her own mother, had no idea what soothed her the best. My life felt out of my control. I look back and that is my worst memory of me as a mother and the sad thing is I was doing the best I could, given the incredibly hard circumstances I was facing at the time.
Here I am, nine months later, and that seems like a distant memory. There have been times where I have wanted to beat myself up for the mistakes I have made this past year regardless of what I was going through. As a mother, it doesn’t matter your reason, like mine, it could be a good reason, but as moms we are still hard on ourselves when we don’t do what we know to be right. So at the times I would beat myself up, I would try to remind myself of Mary. She was the most perfect mother, chosen over all women to mother our Lord and Savior, yet she lost her own son in the Temple. Can you imagine losing your son in the store or park? If it were me, I would be thinking, “I am the worst mother of all time!” But, here we have Mary, the most perfect of all women, and she lost her son, the Savior of the world. She may have made a mistake, but many mistakes, especially those made unintentionally in parenting, are not sins.
Once Mary realized her mistake, she rushed back to find Jesus. She corrected what was wrong. Once I got healthy and back in control of my life, my household and my children, I started to make a lot of corrections. I tried to bring order to the disorder created during the most chaotic unforeseen circumstance I have ever faced.
For all you parents out there who beat yourself up for making mistakes—for those who feel like you are bad parents, remember that you have to look at the intention of the mistake to decipher if it is a sin or just simply—a mistake. And, if mistakes have been made with your children, it is never too late to make corrections— it is never too late to bring order to disorder, even if your children are grown!
For those whose parents have made mistakes, have charity on them. Look to see within their intention and know that even the most perfect parents make mistakes. This week I am going to pray for the restoration of family relationships. I pray that people will invite the Lord into the memories of their inadequacy and failures as parents. I also pray people will invite the Lord into the hurt and pain that may have been caused by their parent’s mistakes, and bring truth, forgiveness, and charity to family relationships. Let us pray for the Holy family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph to show us the way to loving one another rightly!
And, for all the parents reading this, I pray for us, that no matter how many mistakes we have made, no matter how discouraged we may feel, that we may never give up trying to learn how to be better parents—holy parents, that we may never give up on making sure our children are on the path to heaven because we are on it first.