Mother’s Day is a wonderful day to celebrate the women in our lives who raised us and had an impact on our lives. The generations of female influence, biological or not, dwell on, and is a rich inheritance. I am so grateful to my mom, to my grandmas (one in Colorado, one in heaven), to my mother-in-law, and to so many women who have played the role of “surrogate” mom to me, providing wisdom and guidance. We are so blessed to have the sisterhood of women to support and encourage each other.
And as thankful as I am, and as happy as I was this Mother’s Day to celebrate with my little ones this year, my heart aches for those who might not feel as celebratory – those who are are not-quite-yet-mothers, and yearn to be. For I’ve been there. And I know how much this day can hurt.
“A hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12
For those who are childless not by choice, this day might have been a painful reminder of what God has not granted yet.
For those who have been waiting and waiting for the title of “mother”, with silence and negative pregnancy tests the only answer.
For those who have lost a child – to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early death.
For those young women who are unmarried, praying for a husband and children, trusting that God knows the rest of their story.
And even for those also who didn’t celebrate this day with their own mothers, who have left us briefly to be with Him in heaven.
I was very uncomfortable on Mother’s Day for several years, during our journey to start a family, and until Miss A came into our lives. I was incredibly happy to honor and celebrate the women in my life, and to acknowledge how important mothers are. But I went back and forth between feeling so alone, suffering in silence and disappointment over coming to another Mother’s Day without being a mother, or almost angry, having the inevitable awkward/painful conversations that the day would inspire, when some well-meaning individual would ask when we would be having children, or, worse, why we hadn’t. (I felt like this happened constantly, and quite often the person would respond to my gawky, lame sputtering by saying something like, “You better hurry up – you’re not getting any younger.” Honestly, this even was said to me on an airplane by my seat partner, whom I’d never met in my life.)
I know that my feelings were mostly selfish, that I was focusing on me. Yet, infertility seems like a condition that separates you from others. It’s not something people talk about – and it’s not something that’s comfortable to talk about. You don’t know what it’s like – physically or emotionally – unless you’ve been through it. (Which is with most happenings, especially deep grief.) Most people don’t know what to say if you bring it up, and I completely understand that, and I tried not to take offense at well-meant remarks. It’s almost like you can’t process it well enough, because there aren’t a lot of outlets in which to do so.
Again, I am SO GRATEFUL, SO GRATEFUL, SO GRATEFUL, that, through the miracle of adoption, and the blessing of fostering, that my Mother’s Day was spent with four little creatures who make messes in our kitchen and lots of noise in our backyard. But I remember what it felt like without them, and I will never forget.
So after Mother’s Day, after we celebrated our mothers, and, some of us, being mothers, let’s not forget those for whom this was not a happy day, but a trigger of emotions reflecting the ongoing struggle inside. Please don’t forget those who are experiencing infertility, have suffered miscarriages, placed a child for adoption, lost a child – or lost a mother. It may have been difficult for the person next to you in church, or at the next table at the restaurant, or walking down the aisle next to you at the grocery store. Even though the support they have for the mothers around them is there and present, it may be difficult for them to express the joy and happiness they do feel, while in the midst of their own heartache. Please be understanding if someone wasn’t as “celebratory” as you. Everyone has things going on in their lives, most of which we may not know about nor understand.
If you know someone dealing with this situation, it’s okay to share a quiet, to-the-side “I’m praying for you.” I felt so alone every year on Mother’s Day. One year, a fellow sister in Christ bought me a small bouquet and inconspicuously gave them to me, and whispered, “Happy Future Mother’s Day. God has great plans for you.” I will never forget it.
To the women and men who are hurting due to a loss or a hope deferred thus far, know that there is comfort and hope = no matter how your story unfolds. It’s okay and normal to have feelings of anger, sadness, fear, disillusionment. God is more than okay with hearing about your hurt. He cries with you every time you shed a tear.
“‘He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” Revelation 21:5
Don’t beat yourself up about feeling the way you do. Don’t think you are less of a godly person for it. “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” God has great plans for you. No matter what those plans end up being, it will be the absolutely right place for you to be.
Please don’t forget about those who are struggling with pain from infertility or loss. Pray for them. Pray that God would bring healing to their souls, first and foremost, and that His will would be done in regards to their futures.
To those women who have shared with me their own private struggles and griefs, I was praying for you on Mother’s Day. And I will continue to keep you in my prayers. Please know that you can talk with me and we can cry, pray, laugh together. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. God is always with you and can carry you through this storm. You are never alone.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
– Isaiah 40:31