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A Mama by grace
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The biggest compliment I have ever been given was that I was a good mom.

I think this is something I strive for every day.

I know I worry if I am being a good mom, so hearing I am gives me a fleeting moment of relief.

When Cole was born, one of my dearest childhood friends called me at the hospital and told me whatever I did, to do it out of love and it would be fine.

It may not be perfect, but it would all work out.

Those words have guided me over the years.

Whenever I have made decisions, I have tried, sincerely and earnestly, to let love lead.

I am sure I have made some mistakes; in fact, I know I have.

There have been times I have I probably pushed too hard or not enough.

I have been short tempered and had a sharp tone.

And times I have not let him explain while I judged and punished too quickly.

But overall, I have tried to let my heart tell me what was best.

On the flip side, there may have been times I have overindulged and have given in, letting him get his way when it was permissible.

Maybe I spoil him on occasion because I know it is a miracle he is here.

I had been told shortly after Lamar and I married that more than likely, I wouldn't be able to have children.

I remember sitting on that examining table, wearing that oversized paper towel as the doctor explained the results.

I had never really been one who ooh-ed and ahh-ed over babies, but I knew I wanted one at some point and suddenly, that possibility was taken away just by reading some labs.

I cried.

I grieved.

I told Lamar and no one else.

Until several months later, we found out I was pregnant.

I promised myself to never take for granted that he was a miracle and had defied some pretty steep odds to get here.

My first Mother's Day was pretty special.

Each one that has followed has been too, especially now, with Cole picking out his own card for me.
And thankfully so; his father is horrible at that.

But then I think of women who have battled infertility, who have lost babies; I think of those women whose heart aches every time they see a baby, knowing they can't have one and remember I knew that feeling, even if only briefly.

Mother's Day can be a painful reminder to them.

A day to try to hide from the world that wants to ask why they don't have children yet, with accusations and assumptions abounding.

"When are you going to have kids?" someone asked a friend who had tried for years to have a baby.

"When are you going to have another?" someone asked me when Cole was barely one. "You need to give him a brother or sister."

I cringed at their rudeness. It was none of their business and tacky of them to intrude in my personal life in such a way.

"Is that baby yours?" someone asked a friend who had adopted.

While this day is about honoring the mothers in our life, it doesn't always feel that way for some.

Just like childbirth, there's some pain that surrounds everything that fills your heart. Those kinds of moments are no different.

There will always be someone trying to measure their mothering skills based on your decisions.

There will always be someone who would welcome a screaming baby with open arms because it meant they had a baby.

And there will always be mothers worrying if they are being a good mom and if they did the right thing.

Giving birth isn't the only qualifier of motherhood; there's a tremendous amount of love, heart, and compassion that goes with it.

And a tremendous amount of grace.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."