On Mother's Day, Are You Happy or Hurting?
- Janet Thompson Founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring
- 2015 1 May
“I hate Mother’s Day!” admitted a dear friend longing for a baby. “You know, women struggling with infertility don’t go to church on Mother’s Day.”
Kris agrees. “I was that mom-in-waiting for 16 years. I stayed away from baby showers, church, and pregnant friends. I didn't stop praying, but it was the worst pain.”
Lisa concurs. “I am guilty of having skipped church on Mother’s Day a few years before we adopted my son.”
In, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? my daughter, Kim, shared her painful Mother’s Day experience:
It’s almost Mother’s Day and I don’t know if I can handle seeing all those happy moms at church and brunch. I’m trying to focus on my mom and not think about how I’m missing out on being a mommy on yet another Mother’s Day. This year is especially hard since we’ve been trying to be parents for so long and so hard, only to be repeatedly disappointed. At the store looking for a card for my mom, I see the cute cards at the end of the aisle “To Mommy”…oh God, I wish I were someone’s mommy! I look away and continue focusing at the task ahead, getting my mom and mothers-in-law their cards.
Today’s the day, it’s Mother’s Day. I don’t think I can bear it. It’s just begun and already I want this day over. I pull myself out of bed and get ready for church. I’m not looking forward to the sermon about children being a blessing and honoring mothers. God, help me focus on my mom.
We met my parents at church and I put on my happy face, when inside I was crying watching all the mothers with big smiles dressed in pretty spring dresses and children running all around. This was a day of celebration and I just wanted to go back to bed. The pastor started the message with asking all the mothers to stand up. Hundreds of women stood and everyone applauded. I couldn’t take it any longer and sat slouched over in my seat quietly crying. Toby put his arm around me and my mom held my hand, but nothing took away the pain. I barely heard the rest of the message.
After brunch, I came home, collapsed on my bed, and cried myself to sleep where I remained the rest of the day. God, please don’t make me go through another Mother’s Day with this hole in my heart. I want to stand up in church with all those other mothers beaming from ear to ear and have everyone applaud me. God, please let me stand up next year.
Mother’s Day is especially hard for mommies-in-waiting, but for most of these women, every day is hard. With 1 in 6 couples experiencing infertility, you are, or know, a woman experiencing this heartache. Often we don’t know what to say to them, so we say nothing, or maybe unintentionally say something that makes them feel worse. Kris says, “We cannot ignore them [women longing for a child]. I know how hard it was for people to talk to me. But I would have loved it if they did.”
Avoidance only adds to these hurting women’s feelings of isolation and aloneness. When you don’t know what to say or do these suggestions might help: “Top Fifteen Things Not to Say or Do and to Say or Do to Someone Experiencing Infertility.”
It breaks my heart to hear that many women say the place they feel the loneliest is in the church. Jesus said he came for the sick, and that includes heartsick. The church should be a safe place for the hurting, not a place where they feel shunned or like outcasts. How does your church comfort mommies-in-waiting on Mother’s Day … and every day?
Mothers of Prodigals
Mothers of prodigals are another group of women who dread Mother’s Day. They may not know where their child is, or know all too well where he or she is, and that breaks a mother’s heart and the heart of God. These moms need comforting, a hug, and assurance that this day is for them too.
I was that hurting mom, and I prayed daily that my daughter, Kim, would find her way back to God, and six years later, she did. Last Mother’s Day weekend she and I shared our story at a Mother/Daughter tea. For many years, I’d had a vision of us doing this together and prayed expectantly that God would bring my dream to life, and he did.
Kim, who was the heartsick mommy-in-waiting on Mother’s Day, is now blessed with three children, but when we speak to women God brings to our speaking events, neither of us ever forget what it felt like to be brokenhearted on Mother’s Day. We share with care and compassion a comforting message of hope in God’s plan and timing. We don’t ignore these women, we love on them!
I hope that you will do the same for the mommies-in-waiting, the moms of prodigals, or the moms who have lost a child who may need a shoulder to cry on...a prayer...an understanding hug this Mother’s Day. If you’ve been where they’re at, mentor them like only someone who has been in their shoes can. If you haven’t been in their shoes, let them know you can’t possibly understand, but you’re there for them and God is too!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT).
Janet Thompson is an international speaker and an award-winning author of 17 books including Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? and Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com, or on her Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Twitter pages.
Publication date: May 1, 2015