When Mother’s Day Hurts
- Saturday, April 30, 2011
“Oh, no—May is here,” the woman muttered as she stared at her calendar. “That means Mother’s Day is coming,” she sighed. “It’s the worst day of the year for me.”
She shared that her daughter had been tragically killed in an auto accident many years prior. Although she has a son, Mother’s Day still triggers the sad reality that her daughter is gone.
For many women this special day specifically designed for feminine springtime joy, often triggers grief, anger and tears instead. Here are a few reasons why:
Mothers Day is usually painful for the woman who deeply desire to have a child but cannot. My friend Cathie explains, “During our journey through infertility I wanted to escape on Mother’s Day. But then I quickly realized it was another mountain of grief for my husband and me to hike.”
“However, nothing prepared me for the wave of sorrow that struck as I entered the Hallmark store to buy cards for my family,” she continued. “The first tear welled up as I approached the Mother’s Day section. I quickly turned and walked away asking myself, ‘Can I put on a mask and muddle through the minimum requirements? Is this holiday destined to be a reminder of my defective body and our loss?’”
Recently I met a woman who has lost full time custody of her kids due to a divorce. She is devastated and feels like a terrible mom. Her husband has remarried and lives in a beautiful, lavish home. This mom lives in an apartment. She knows her kids prefer to be at Dad’s house, which is filled with toys. To her, Mother’s Day isn’t something to celebrate, it’s a megaphone that screams, “Failure.”
Stepmoms often avoid church all together on Mother’s Day. Carla shared with me, “The most torturous moment comes when the pastor asks all moms to stand so they can receive a round of applause, beaming smiles from their kids, and a flower from the usher. I sit there awkwardly wondering what I’m supposed to do,” She continued. “I’ve never given birth, but I fill the same role that a mom does. I do their laundry, make dinner, drive the carpool, and help with homework. A stepmom has all the stress, work, and financial burden of being a mom, but none of the perks or recognition.”
Childless By Choice
A handful of women in our society are, “childless by choice” resulting from wounds they’ve experienced. The lack of children isn’t normally what triggers their pain on Mother’s Day; it’s the comments from those who don’t understand. “I grew up in a very abusive, neglectful home. By the time I was thirteen I knew I never wanted to have children,” Janelle explained. “I didn’t want to bring another person into this hurting world. I couldn’t take that risk. Most women assume I don’t have kids because I’m self-centered or that I wanted a lofty career, but that’s totally untrue.” She proceeded, “It’s not that I didn’t want children, I actually think I would have been a great mom. People typically don’t understand my perspective, so I rarely share. My choice was putting aside what I wanted, for what I felt was best.”
Lest we forget, there are literally thousands of women who have had an abortion. For those who now regret that decision, Mother’s Day can be excruciating. It’s a prime time for Satan to stir up guilt, shame, loneliness, humiliation and self loathing. Our job is to point these women to the forgiveness and freedom that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. His perfect sacrifice offers compassion, redemption and grace.
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