Mother’s Day is an unknown day for me. Every year prior, I would reluctantly saunter into Hallmark. Buy a bijillion cards for all of our moms, m-aunts, step-moms, and sisters (we have a big family), and hope I don’t ugly cry in front of the cashier as I check out. Afterwards, I would unplug from the electronic world for the rest of the day. It was just best to dodge all of those emotional darts and find a way to make sense of why my card never seems to come on that particular Sunday.
Over the past few weeks as the commercials roll out and the shelves get stocked with the shit-storm of Mother’s Day Capitalism, I have been trying to wrap my mind around my feelings. I will get a card this year. I will hold my babe a little tighter on Sunday and I will fully recognize the mountain we climbed to reach the summit of parenthood. But for some reason, amidst this joy and what should be the end of the story, I hurt. I have an emptiness. Perhaps it is the scars I bare that remind me pregnancy was and will never be part of what has made me a mother.
I am standing in the middle of the road with one foot on one side of the line for what will always be my infertility diagnosis and the other foot on side of the fertile ground of motherhood.
Someone really put my melting pot of thoughts and “feels” into the right words last night. She said I was surviving infertility in a fertile world. Yes, yes I am.
I feel guilty.
I feel blessed.
I feel angry.
I feel overwhelming joy.
I feel sorrow for others.
I still feel infertile.
This is where I have learned something in this journey. It isn’t just childless couples who are grieving. There are others who need a gentle whisper of encouragement. Mother’s Day should recognize those Moms in our lives and if you are a Mom, you deserve to be honored. But you know what, we should also grieve for those who are painfully grasping at why they lost their pregnancy. We should mourn with those mothers who have lost their children. We should be sensitive for those who are staring at single lines on a pregnancy test, and we keep those who have lost their mothers in our thoughts. I felt compelled to write my pastor.
Here is a snippet of that email I wrote a few weeks ago:
Hey folks, in preparation for Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a different perspective. It may seem a bit too far out to think about, but as you prepare you message for that particular Sunday, I wanted to share my brief thoughts. It is no secret about our struggle to be parents. After nearly a decade of prayers, empty bank accounts and tears, this will be my first year that I will be honored as a mother. The emotional and physical toll to climb to what seemed an unsurmountable summit was unimaginable. I re-established my relationship with God during this time. I am still working on my relationship with Him, as your music, messages, and environment have helped immensely. Sunday after Sunday, every card we filled out always had the same prayer request. Yet, month after month, failed IVF after IVF, and Adoption pursuits, we would still pray and come home to an empty home.
Mother’s Day was the hardest for me. It is an all-day reminder of something that comes so easily to others, and is seemly impossible to us. I remember coming once and when all of the mothers were honored it was too much to bare. I got up in the middle of the service and walked out. I had not been to a Mother’s Day service since.
I am elated to be attending a Mother’s Day service this year. However, there will be so many others who need to be prayed over on that day. 1 in 8 people struggle with the disease of infertility, roughly 13% of the congregation. 20% of known pregnancies lead to miscarriage. Lastly, chances are that many many are mourning the loss of a mother that they will not spend this day with. I ask that when you deliver this message you honor the hopeless, the broken, the mourning, and the ones that should be remembered. Although there is no real measure of who needs to be prayed over the most, the heartbreak and desolation associated with infertility and infant loss certainly needs attention on this day of all days.
God would have us honor a pillar in the community in the same way as a wayward person who, in a life filled with crime and deceit, has just turned his eyes to Christ. I know spanning that gamut is difficult, and Believers certainly represents that range! On Mother’s Day though, there is an opportunity; to provide hope, provide understanding, provide peace, and provide community to a sect that is often too ashamed to even tell close friends what they are going through. I do believe that God places obstacles in our lives as an opportunity to grow in faith, family, and community. Chris’s brain tumor brought our family close together and brought him closer to God. The difficulty to have our daughter brought both of us to this church, baptism, and the countless blessings we have received both before our daughter was born and since. I believe that on Mother’s Day, our church has an opportunity to reach those in the audience that believe this is the worst day of the year and in doing so, carve a piece of their heart that can be given to the Lord.
I thank you for your time and your service. I will be attending this service on Mother’s Day this year, not as a bedraggled Christian trying to slight any suggestions of what the day means, but as a Victor, embracing the blessings that God has bestowed upon us!
So let us honor all of the Moms. Those who are trying to decipher if they have chocolate or poop on their hand and cannot remember when they last took a shower. Those who have lost their moms. Those who have angel babies. And those who are moms in their hearts waiting for double lines. All mom’s, those with us and those not, those with a child and those still seeking one, those who hold their child in their arms and those who hold their child in their heart, on this day we acknowledge your love. We acknowledge your caring. We acknowledge your support. We acknowledge the incredible part you play in all our lives!