Monday, April 22, 2013

When Mother's Day Hurts

June will mark 3 years of waiting for a baby for Luke and I.  And luckily at that point we will only be one month out from meeting our daughter.  But I'm just saying that to show that I am no stranger to waiting for a baby.

I still don't know why God made us wait so long for a baby.  Nor do I know why he chose to bless us with this pregnancy at a time I least expected it.  Chalk it up to His mysterious ways, and His perfect timing.

I am so beyond thrilled that we are so close to meeting Scarlett, but there has been a tiny, dark cloud over my entire pregnancy.  And that is the fact that I have friends, blog friends and in-real-life friends, who are still waiting on their miracle baby.  I can't fully be excited when I have friends who are hurting so much while they wait.  My own period of waiting has given me a heart for these women.  

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and I didn't want it to pass without acknowledging the women who are struggling with this disease.  

I also wanted to address the fact that Mother's Day is just a few weeks away.  It's not a happy holiday for everyone.  

Last year, I wrote a post the day after Mother's Day, about how it had gone fantastically and I hadn't felt discontent at all.  

What I hadn't bargained for was a few hours after writing that post, having one of the most alienating experiences of my entire life at a mother-daughter banquet.  

Actually, it wasn't a "mother-daughter banquet."  Our church makes a big deal of calling it a "Daughters of the King" banquet.  That way, every woman feels welcome, whether she has children or not; or whether she has a mother or not.  Usually it's just a fun night to come together, have a catered dinner, and listen to an inspiring speaker.  

Last year the banquet started out great.  I sat at a table with my mom, grandma, aunt, cousins, and a few friends, and we had a great time visiting.  

I wasn't ready for what happened when we entered the sanctuary to hear the speaker, though.  She started out with some funny jokes and anecdotes about motherhood -- how hard it is, and how it takes such a special type of person to be a mother.  In the first five minutes I was choking back tears.  On and on she went about motherhood, and how it was the most difficult and rewarding job anyone could ever be blessed with.  

I was kicking myself for sitting in the front with my friends, instead of in the back with my mom and grandma.  As I felt the hot tears sting my cheeks I felt like everyone was watching me.  I desperately wanted to sneak out of the sanctuary, but didn't want to draw attention to myself.  I felt trapped.  

Her sermon was like the culmination of two years of mourning while waiting to become a mother.  It made me wonder why God didn't think I was ready for this wonderful, difficult, life-changing job.  It made me think there was something so wrong with me, and as I said earlier, it was probably the most alienated I have ever felt in my life as I sat in a room full of so many mothers.  On top of it all was a layer of guilt for having such selfish feelings.

I somehow got my feelings in check, and made myself stop listening to her words for the remainder of the service.  But as I left the room and saw my mom, I started bawling, right there in the middle of everything in the church lobby.  I could not pull myself together.  Luckily I think my grandma and mom were the only ones who saw me crying.  I just left as quickly as possible so I could go home and cry in private.

I am crying fresh tears today remembering how much it hurt.  I know the speaker had only good intentions in preaching about motherhood, but listening to her words was one of the most painful hours of my life. 

I never posted about this experience because it made me feel guilty and immature.  For a long time, I never understood why her words hurt me so badly.  But looking back on it almost a year later, I know that it was okay for me to have those feelings.  And I'm posting it today to show you a little bit about what it's like for someone who is struggling with infertility around Mother's Day.  

I can only imagine the pain is probably equal for someone who has lost a mother, or who doesn't have a good relationship with theirs.  

So if you have a friend who is struggling with infertility, give her an extra hug on May 12.  Send her a text, and let her know you are praying for her.  Be careful about what you share about your own Mother's Day, because it can be like salt in a wound to someone who wants to be a mother more than anything else in the world.

And if you are struggling with infertility this Mother's Day, know that it's okay to be sad.  Don't make yourself feel guilty on top of all the grief.  I don't often advise skipping church, but this might be the one day a year it's okay to have special one-on-one worship time with the Lord at your kitchen table or on your front porch where you won't have to watch the baby dedications, or listen to sermons about motherhood.  Know that there are people who are praying for you, and God has a perfect plan for your life! 

I really believe that Mother's Day will always be a bittersweet day for me.  Obviously I am so excited to be celebrating my first Mother's Day in 2014 with an almost one-year-old.  But I believe that day will also serve as a reminder of the pain I experienced during Mother's Days while waiting, and as a reminder of all my friends who are still struggling with this ugly disease.  

In the end, I know that God has grieved over every tear I've ever shed over this situation, and I have faith that He will use every bit of pain I experienced for His glory.  


  1. Thanks sweetie for the kind sentiments to all of us still waiting. I am truly so happy for you that your time has come. I cannot wait to see little miss Scarlett.

  2. Wow, thank you for talking about this. It definitely is a often-silent topic, and I know many who struggle with infertility, as well as many who are ignorant about the struggles these couples have... thanks for your vulnerability.

  3. I'm glad you shared about this Jessica, it's a good reminder as Mother's Day gets closer. Our church does have the mothers stand on Mother's Day, which I always feel nervous about because I know it could be painful to some, but it never bothered me too much because our pastor and his wife always wanted children and never could have any . . . and they always say a prayer for those who are hurting on Mother's Day too, and every year it makes me want to cry, because my heart goes out to those women as well. It's especially hard when you know someone who is struggling to get pregnant, after having walked down that road too - it's hard to know what to say, because you know nothing will take away that pain. But I think if you try to be sensitive they'll appreciate that. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!


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