I remember when I first learned that Mother's Day can be the most painful date on the calendar for those still waiting to be mothers. A dear friend who had waited years to become pregnant received the devastating news that her baby had died in utero. When I visited her in the hospital, I was horrified to find her in the maternity ward, surrounded by mothers and babies. While other women cradled their newborns in their arms, my friend lay alone.
Weeks later, I saw her in church on Mother's Day, and I'll never forget the pain and heartache on her face. It gave me profound compassion for women who lose a child or suffer infertility. Of course, not all women waiting for a child have suffered such a devastating loss as my friend, but feeling stuck in a monthly cycle of hope followed by disappointment can be heartbreaking for those struggling to get pregnant. For them, Mother's Day can serve as a reminder of uncertainty or even grief.
While of course we want to celebrate mothers during the month of May, let's not forget to show sensitivity to those who may be grieving one more negative pregnancy test, a failed medical treatment, or a miscarriage.
"He will 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." (Revelation 21:4)
Let’s consider how we might show support and express the Father’s compassion to women still waiting to be mothers. The most important thing we can do is pray—the prayer at the end of this article is a good place to begin.
If you have a close friend navigating infertility, consider these ways to support her:
Even if you’re not sure what to say to your friend—and most likely your words would fall short anyway—you can serve her by giving the gifts of compassion and empathy. Let her know you are willing to listen when she feels like talking. Be a safe person she can always approach when she feels sad and needs to express negative feelings.
If your friend wants to talk about it, focus on listening in order to understand. Although we ultimately do want to point our friends to the hope and comfort Jesus offers, being too quick to give suggestions or speak encouragement might communicate we think their struggle isn’t valid or important. Instead, let’s express empathy; they might need to know we agree that they are going through a heart-wrenching situation.
You might feel tempted to tell your friend about the latest infertility treatment you read about or suggest she consider adoption. But you can rest assured that she is more interested than you are in investigating options. If there is a new treatment, her doctor will tell her about it. Infertility and adoption are sensitive issues; it might be best to wait and let your friend bring up the possibility of adoption when she feels ready to consider it.
Ask How She Is Doing
Especially as time goes by and your friend still hasn’t been able to get pregnant, she may need some space. She may not want to talk about it all the time. Rather than asking, “How are you feeling about not getting pregnant?” ask more open-ended questions like “How are you doing these days?” If she’s struggling and wants to talk, she’ll bring it up.
When we don’t know what to do, it never hurts to let our friends know we feel concern and care for them. We can tell them honestly we’re not sure what kind of support and encouragement they need; we can simply ask them to let us know.
When our friends are struggling to conceive or just suffered a miscarriage, we might not want to go on and on about what our children are doing. Let’s think about other topics of conversation: our jobs, our latest hobbies, great books we’ve read, or what we are learning about God.
Pray for Her
Ultimately, the prayers we lift to God on behalf of our friends carry more power than any words we say to them. Let’s be faithful to intercede before the Father on behalf of women still waiting to become mothers. He knows their heartache and understands their need so much better than we do, and He is the only one with the power to change their situation.
Lord, I pray for my friend who is still waiting to be a mother. Would You touch her with special encouragement and strength today? Father, let her know You see her struggle and care about her grief. Give her faith to believe You hear her prayers; reassure her that you have plans to bless her and give her a hopeful future.
Would you reveal Your great compassion to my friend today? Pour out Your love into her heart and heal the wounds she carries inside. Remind her that You treasure her and hold her in Your hand. You have promised to show her steadfast love and faithfulness.
Lord, open her eyes to the greatness of Your power. You are able to do abundantly more than all she can ask or imagine. Give her the grace she needs to seek You first today. Help her to cultivate a strong relationship with You and reassure her that You will complete your purposes in her life.
Father, I ask that You show mercy and grant the desire of her heart for a child. Help her to acknowledge her desire before You and lay it at Your feet, trusting that you will grant it in your timing and in your way. Let her live in surrender to Your plans and purposes for her life. Lord, have mercy.
Draw her close to Yourself today and renew her joy. Open her eyes to daily blessings. Give her a steadfast heart, that she might continually look to You and Your love. Show her that the truest joy comes from your presence and give her the grace she needs today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Betsy de Cruz helps overwhelmed women take small steps to invite more of God’s presence and power into their lives. Connect with Betsy to get your free Quiet Time Renewal Guide and other resources at FaithSpillingOver.com. Her book More of God is a distracted woman’s guide to more meaningful quiet times. After living in the Middle East for 16 years with her husband and two children, Betsy landed in Texas, where she still enjoys drinking chai with friends.
This article is part of our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Betsy de Cruz writes and speaks to help overwhelmed women take small steps to invite more of God’s presence and power into their lives. Connect with Betsy and get a free Quiet Time Renewal Guide at FaithSpillingOver.com. Her book More of God is a distracted woman’s guide to more meaningful quiet times. Betsy and her husband José live in Arlington, Texas and love hanging with their two young adult children.
This article is part of our prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.