Welcome to the life-changing role that may be among your most defining and treasured moments. Congratulations on the life you have already nurtured and sustained that has immortalized your own existence, converging past, present and future into this powerfully precious moment of creative Divinity that has become your infant daughter or son. I wish you joyful peace, profound and wordless exchanges of love and the maternal wisdom that connects you to eternity.
While this is indeed my hope for all who read this letter, for some, thereality may be starkly different. It may be that life after baby's birth has not yet fulfilled your dreams, that the joy and totality of the complete maternal experience has eluded you. You may feel separate instead of bonded to your child, a panicked indifference to the experience and a deep sadness that robs your baby's smile of its ability to move you. If this is where you find yourself, please do not stand alone, but reach out to your loved ones andreceive their willing support. Allow the sisterhood of the birth experience to unite you with those who understand and lift you and your sweet babe safely to your path again.
I speak not only to mothers whoseliving babies are at her breast, but to those mothers who stand with empty arms whose eyes may be fixed on a distant horizon where a too brief life has wandered, a mother nonetheless. This mother may not find a kinship in her isolated mourning; we must reach out to her and lead her to her rightful place among us for babies seen and unseen never leave us. I speak to mothers whose infants babble, whose infants cannot yet come home, whose children are grown, disabled or gone. I speak to my own mother and her mother before her and God's entire kingdom of mothers be they two- or four-footed, yet swimming or flying among us. This purpose of procreation is a serious business, it is the industry of life everlasting yet we cast a smile as we carry such ancient secrets within us.
We are, all of us, mothers of earth who claim this day as ours and say to all that we are the hope and the future that sustains and nurtures, who facilitate renewal; ours is a passage through heaven and hell for the sake of life. But in each instance we meet such challenge with joy, depth of purpose and fervor that makes us accessible and mysterious, formidable and gentle, raging and loving. I am thankful to stand among you, thankful to say to you and to my mother, and to hear from my child, "Happy Mother's Day."
Happy Mother's Day.
Susan Stone, MSW, LCSW, is chairwoman of the President's Advisory Council ofPostpartum Support International, an adjunct lecturer at the Silvery School ofSocial Work at New York University, a public reviewerfor theNational Institute of MentalHealth,and a blogger at Perinatal Pro.