Sunday, May 10, 2015

Thoughts on Mother's Day from an Infertile Mom

On this Mother's Day, technically my second one as a mom (last year I was just a few weeks in), there are many thoughts and feelings swirling around in my mind and heart that I would like to share.

 With social media being a forum for people to share their thoughts for all the world to see, it seems like there is more and more awareness on how hard this holiday can be for many people.  Whether you have lost your mom, have a broken relationship with your mom, are single and want to be married, struggle with infertility, have suffered a miscarriage(s), or have lost a child... it is a fact... Mother's Day can be a painful reminder for some of what you don't or no longer have.  Also with social media, it's no longer just at CVS or the grocery store aisle or at church where we see the holiday happening or where we're reminded of it--it's all over our screens and in our faces:  pictures of happy families, moms holding their babies, husbands touching their wives' bellies, sonogram pics, pictures of bouquets of flowers, status posts on how blessed this mom is, etc. etc.  There is no escaping this holiday anymore if you're online (or any holiday for that matter--Sibling's Day, what?).

As a woman who has struggled (and will always struggle) with infertility and who is also now a mommy herself, I have been on both sides of the aisle, so to speak.  Two years ago, the pain of this holiday hit me.  I wanted so badly to be a mommy, I wanted to be one of the ones to stand up in church or receive a little gift or a card or flowers.  Not so I could be celebrated on this day in May, but more because I wanted to proudly wear that badge of honor that is the title of "Mother".  To wear that badge means you have children.  I desperately wanted children because I felt it was my calling and how I would come alive.  To be told it might not be possible is heartwrenchingly painful.  A couple years ago, I wanted to make it my cause to make sure people realized that this holiday is painful.  At times in those days, I felt like I could scream or burst with all of the pain and hurt and frustration and anger and worry swirling inside me.

So on Mother's Day, I wanted to say, 
"Don't forget me!  
Don't forget us!  
Don't celebrate moms and forget us who desperately want to be among you!"  

I also felt like my eyes were opened to all the other women who may struggle on this day, and I felt sensitive to the pains of others.

Then, as days went on and God continued to work on my heart, I began to realize that just because I can't have what others do doesn't mean mothers shouldn't be freely celebrated.  I want to be one who honors others.  Oh, it was so hard to be happy and joyful for my friends who are moms and for friends who kept getting pregnant, but just because I couldn't have that didn't give me the right to steal from their celebration.

I have read a few blog posts and articles on this subject--warning of the painful part of Mother's Day.  When I read them, I almost feel as if the writer is shaking his or her finger at all of us, telling us to tone down the celebration because of what others do not have.  But I don't agree with that, either.  God is a God of celebration and of life.  It is not his intention to put those in the corner who have pain and make them be happy because they hurt, but He also doesn't intend for those who deserve honor to not receive it.  There is a happy medium.  Honestly, becoming a mom and seeing all the dirty work that goes into it, this Mother's Day I have more fuel in my tank to give thanks to my own mom for the sacrifices she made day in and day out to raise me and my three siblings.

Being a mom is hard work--but so rewarding.  One article I read basically said that just because you're a mom that doesn't make you anymore special than a woman who doesn't have children.  That doesn't sit well with me.  Just as baseball games for kids where there is no score doesn't sit well, or every kid in the class getting a prize or reward regardless of behavior or merit doesn't sit well with me.  Our culture and generation seems uncomfortable with honoring others these days.  No, moms are no more special in and of themselves just because they are a mom and someone else might not be... but mothering and raising children IS special.  To say that it isn't takes away from the beauty and treasure that it really is.  To say that we shouldn't go out of our way to celebrate moms takes away from the sacrifice that moms make for their children.  I also know that not all moms are like this.  There are many surrogate moms and grandmas and dads and aunts who took that mantle upon their shoulders and should be celebrated as well.  The title of "mom" is a great one.  Let's not overlook that.

There is a real pain and struggle in the social media world.  There were times I had to give up social media because seeing happy pictures of friends with their kids and new babies and pregnancy announcements hurt, so I decided not to look.  I don't want to take away from someone else's joy.  We can choose to look at what we want to look at.  We can also choose to rejoice when others rejoice... and the flip side of that is that we can mourn when others mourn.  Let's be sensitive to the pains and needs of those in our life and also celebrate when it is called for.

I will leave you with this song that I found in my early days when we were finding out our infertility issues.  It still makes me cry.  The singer struggled with infertility herself.  The words "I would die for that" ring true in my heart.  I felt like I would give anything to be a mom.  And now that I am, I still feel that way.  I proudly die to myself, lay down my whole self so that my children can make it in life.  What an honor and a privilege.  Thank you, God, for making me a mom.  I am humbled.

Happy Mother's Day!

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