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  • Victoria Lin Peterson-Hilleque

Mothers’ Day Complications

Updated: Jul 1


Full Disclosure: We were all fighting before, after, and during this photo.


There is societal pressure put on mothers to be a certain way. And additionally there is societal pressure put on women to become mothers, even if they choose not to. It’s a big, hard decision to choose when and how to become a mother. No one needs additional, outside pressure. Some women have other passions to follow. Some women have to pursue alternative paths to motherhood. I am thankful to live in a time when all paths to and away from motherhood can be honored.

Every mother’s day, I think about my mom and how she raised 4 kids (with my Dad), including a daughter with Down Syndrome. She did this even though her mom was an alcoholic and didn’t nurture her the way she needed. Her mom died of complications related to alcoholism, and my mom has to mourn that everyday. My sister with Down Syndrome also died a few years ago, another loss for my mom and our family. Any joy on Mother’s Day is complicated for my mom by the losses she has suffered.

Every mother’s day, I think of the birth mothers of my children. I think of how sad it is that they don’t get to share in the extraordinary lives of the people they birthed. I send prayers of comfort to them as they manage the absence they have in their hearts. Every mother’s day, I think of how complicated this day is for my children. Celebrating me as a mom is a painful reminder of the birth mother they didn’t get to have.

It’s not that I mind celebrating Mother’s Day, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the loss that can accompany it. I also think it’s important to acknowledge that every mother feels a gap between the person she wants to be for her children and the person she is. Mothers are just ordinary people trying to do the best they can. We are not angels, as we are sometimes made out to be. We are not demons, as we are sometimes made out to be. We are multifaceted, complicated people trying to figure out our own lives as we nurture our children and help them make their way through the world. It looks different for everyone. It is not simple. Motherhood is a path that warrants empathy, compassion, and grace, just like any other path human beings take.


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