The first Mother’s Day after my wedding, my husband and I went to church with my family. Our priest asked all the mothers in the congregation to stand up for a special blessing. My 10-year-old brother poked me and told me to stand up. I whispered to him that I wasn’t pregnant. He whispered back, eyes full of hope, that maybe I was but the baby was too tiny for the doctors to find yet. I laughed at how cute he was and ruffled his hair.
But now, eight Mother’s Days have gone by, and I remember this conversation every time all the mothers in the congregation stand up for their special blessing and recognition, and I just sit there in the pew, trying not to be too sad or too hopeful.
I want to participate in the experiences of motherhood too – the beautiful and the hard.
Mother’s Day with No Children
The concept and celebration of Mother’s Day are great – except for all of the women who want to be mothers but can’t. It’s just one more potent, inescapable reminder of what we don’t have. We won’t get scribbly, crumply homemade cards. We won’t get sticky kisses. We won’t get dandelions picked from the backyard.
Don’t get me wrong, I would never want to diminish what mothers have. I would never wish the burden of infertility on anyone else. But I want to participate in the experiences of motherhood too – the beautiful and the hard. I’m tired of being left out of my friends’ conversations about pregnancy and birth, nursing and the terrible twos.
Don’t take what you have for granted because children aren’t a guaranteed part of life.
I want the thrill of seeing a positive pregnancy test. I want to feel a baby kicking inside of me. I want to experience the pain of labor. I want to be a member of the “do I sleep or shower now that the baby’s asleep” club. I want to hear my husband reading bedtime stories with all the different voices to our kids. I want to hear little voices calling me “Mama.” I want to feel like I’m a whole woman and that I’ve fulfilled my feminine potential by bringing life into the world and loving and nurturing a child.
I want all of these things so badly, and I’ve spent years, money, and pain trying fruitlessly to achieve them. So, for me, Mother’s Day is a day of loss. A day of steeling my soul, hardening my heart, and stifling my thoughts. A day where I feel broken and unfixable.
Be joyful about the responsibilities of motherhood. Be grateful in the midst of the hard work, the exhaustion, and the dirty diapers.
I’m not trying to rain on your Mother’s Day parade. I just want to remind you to not take what you have for granted because children aren’t a guaranteed part of life. So, please, love your children. Delight in them. Be attentive to them. Listen to their little voices and revel in the soft pressure of their hugs. Be joyful about the responsibilities of motherhood. Be grateful in the midst of the hard work, the exhaustion, and the dirty diapers. Enjoy every little moment because you’ve been given a precious gift. A gift that not everyone who wants it receives.