Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: Today is Mother's Day and I'm feeling rather down. Eight years ago, I found out the joyous news that I was expecting. Following that, a devastating thing happened in my life. I was brutally raped. I gave birth prematurely -- at 5 1/2 months -- and my daughter passed away three hours later.

Abby, I feel that although I didn't have the joy of raising my daughter, I am a mother nonetheless. She has a name and I think of her daily. A good friend of mine disagrees. She says I'm not a mom because I have no living children to show off. She has told some of our mutual friends that I'm "not all there" upstairs.

Could you tell me how to deal with this tactfully? I would also like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all those who have lost children to miscarriage and stillbirth. -- STILL A MOM IN ALBUQUERQUE

DEAR STILL A MOM: Clip this letter and give it to your "friend," who doesn't sound like much of a friend to me. You ARE a mother -- you're the mother of an angel.

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DEAR ABBY: I would like to acknowledge all mothers on this Mother's Day. It astounds me that motherhood remains one of the least respected occupations in our society. Mothers are on call 24/7, and their job encompasses more professions than any other I can think of.

My mother excelled in many roles, including plumber, porter and, at times, platoon sergeant. To get a snapshot of her career, I created the following job description that ranges from A to Z:

-- Accountant

-- Baker

-- Coach

-- Dressmaker

-- Electrician

-- Financial adviser

-- Grief counselor

-- Health-care practitioner

-- Interior decorator

-- Judge

-- Kitchen Manager

-- Lender

-- Mediator

-- Nutritionist

-- Office clerk

-- Psychic

-- Quartermaster

-- Restaurateur

-- Supervisor

-- Taxi driver

-- Underwriter

-- Victim's rights advocate

-- Weightlifter

-- X-ray vision expert (OK, but for years I THOUGHT she had it!)

-- Yard maintenance assistant

-- Zookeeper

If you print this, please do so in honor of my mother, Barbara Irgens. Thank you, Mom, for choosing to be one! -- LOVE, HEIDI

DEAR HEIDI: Motherhood from A to Z. I love it! I'm pleased to print your job description, knowing mothers and children of every age will relate to it.

Happy Mother's Day to birth mothers, adoptive and foster mothers, and stepmothers everywhere -- and especially to my own beautiful mother, Pauline Phillips, in Minneapolis.

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To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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