Rebecca Burtram

Pain and Celebration

Pain and Celebration


Mother’s Day is celebration and pain.

On one side of the event, we pack restaurants, buy out flower shops, eat breakfasts in bed, host special church services, and kick our feet up.

However, there is another side to this celebration that is not as visible- longing and sorrow.

As I prepare to celebrate the blessing of my own amazing mother and the gift of her loving example, a piece of me is touched by grief.

I am in awe of the vibrant and lovely lives of my children who have given me the honorable and tiresome title of mother, but I also understand the pain of the celebration. I have felt it sharply, and I have watched you, my dear friends, as you feel it too.

You are not alone in pain and celebration.


Mother of the children you cannot hold, I, like you, have felt the barrenness of an empty womb and empty arms.

I stand witness to you, dear women, whose dreams of a family slip away with each passing year. I know grief is deep.

You, who feel the hole your mother did not fill, I hear you in the voices of my students as they express a longing for a mother to embrace them rather than the addictions or unrealistic expectations that damage and divide.

I, like you,  experience the aching of the date that sharply reminds me of the time of year a loved one left far too early.


I share your pain, and I celebrate because this is what Mother’s Day is. It is a day of celebration in the pain.

It is a recognition of the mess, the straining, and the bleeding beauty of coming into the world. It is the dancing and laughing with bouncing and playing mixed with yelling and crying.

On Mother’s Day, we are reminded that we have each been born, and each birth is a straining, glorious entrance to life. From our first gasping cries, every step of life is pain in the midst of celebration.

Our pain does not need to be lost in the remembrance and observance of joy.

So, today, let’s grieve, dance, eat, sleep, smell flowers, tell stories, and always remember… pain and celebration need not hide from each other because they are twins–born on the same day.

Happy Mother’s Day.

By Rebecca Burtram

I am a woman in my mid thirties figuring out how to balance an intense need for perfection with the reality of my own imperfections. The answer I am finding is grace.....and plenty of it.
As a mother of three, a teacher, a church planter, and a runner, I have many opportunities to practice giving myself and others the grace I need to survive.

Grace and Imperfection:

The River Walk (Guest Author on Fridays):


    1. I was strong in the writing, and then I read your comment. I broke. The air became hard to breath and pressed heavily on my chest as I wept. I grieve with you. We have so much shared grief, and it means so much to never have to explain.

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