This day comes around every year and every year I celebrate. Before I had kids, I celebrated my mom. When I got married, I celebrated Rob’s mom AND my Mom. Now that I have kids, my husband helps them celebrate me and we all celebrate my mom.
But Mother’s Day isn’t always happy. Often and for many, Mother’s Day is hard.
This post is for YOU, and I know that there are a lot of you. I know that Mother’s Day can be hard for a LOT of reasons.
Maybe you lost your mom. Maybe your mom was such a difficult person that you have zero relationship or a very strained one. Maybe you don’t have kids and never wanted them. Maybe you don’t have kids and desperately wanted them. Maybe you lost your child or children too young. Maybe you lost your child or children before they were born. Maybe your children grew up and became estranged from you.
Whatever the reason that Mother’s Day is hard for you, I want to tell you something:
I am thinking about YOU.
No, really. I mean it. Because I still very clearly remember the days when I was not a mom. When I did not WANT to be a mom. I felt that way for years, actually. You see, I would have been pretty content as a lifelong single lady or lifelong dog mom. You may not think that, seeing the pictures of me and my kids plastered all over my blog. Don’t get me wrong— motherhood has been amazing and I love it. But it was not something I dreamed about from the time I was a girl. I don’t think I thought about seriously wanting kids until I was 23, when I thought…MAYBE.
And if that’s you? YOU DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT TO ME. I am 100% unquestioningly okay with your decision to NOT want kids. I’m having enough for both of us, okay? So the pressure is off in this space. Power to you and your choice to not be a mom. I support you. Know that and know I’m glad you’re here. Your voice is significant and it matters. I will never open my eyes wide and look at you with revulsion or shock or any other thing when you say you don’t want kids.
I’m sorry that happens sometimes. I’m sorry that sometimes you feel excluded at church on Mother’s Day when everyon seems to assume all women want to be mothers. (Are you skipping church in favor of brunch? I would join you if I could.) I’m sorry that there is the expectation that one day you’ll change your mind, as though there is something inherently wrong with NOT wanting kids. Please know that this mom is giving you a virtual high-five right now. Having kids does NOT somehow complete you. It changes you, but you are not a stunted half-person without them.
Now. To the women who desperately WANT to be mothers this mother’s day–
to the women who are longing for marriage and babies, living out a single life
to the women who feel like they are on that endless cycle of waiting for either the period or the plus sign
to the women who can’t go to church on mother’s day because it’s too hard
to the women who just lost a baby
to the women who just lost a child
to the women who have heard the words from doctors, “There is nothing we can do.”
to the women waiting on adoption
to the women who were told their baby was coming, only to have the birth mother change her mind
to the women crying in the bathroom at a baby shower because it always seems to be someone other than you
to the women counting every day of every cycle
to the women who feel like they might burn up with longing
to the women frustrated when the moms on Facebook only seem to gripe about the kids you would give anything to have
to the women who feel desperate, ashamed, alone, unloved, unfulfilled, or otherwise in despair–
I AM THINKING ABOUT YOU. AND I AM PRAYING FOR YOU.
Though I now have the blessing of four kids at home, I never think that it ISN’T a blessing. It is hard, but I don’t take it for granted. Because there was a time, probably much briefer than yours, when I waited. When I worried. When I counted. When I cried secretly at every pregnancy announcement from someone else. When I burned through a pack of pregnancy tests only to see the bright bloom of blood ten minutes later announcing the start of my period. When the months seemed like DECADES.
I did not spend long in that time, almost a year, but I did not forget that it. As I sit in church listening to a sermon that will probably be about mothers this Mother’s Day, I am thinking of you. I am praying for you. And I really and truly mean that. I do.
I cannot and will not fully understand all of the different places that you are in, but I care about you and your story and your longing. It is valid. I understand that you might also skip church or that you might leave early or hide in the bathroom or put on a bright smile, hoping no one will ask you when you might start trying. (People, please STOP ASKING THIS QUESTION.) Your longing is valid. Your pain is valid. Your story is valid. Your hurt is valid. YOU are valid.
And, finally, to those who have lost a mom or never had a mom or had a mom who utterly failed you: I’m so sorry that this day is a big reminder of that loss.
I am thankful for my mother. She lives close by and we can have dinner together on a whim and I DO NOT take that for granted. But I know so many of you who did not know your moms. Whose moms wouldn’t do small things, like signing a financial aid form so that you could be the first one to go to college. Who do not celebrate your wins. Who may not care. Who may have cut you off or who may cut you with their words. Mother’s Day is not a day of celebration for you.
This year and last was the first time that Mother’s Day felt bittersweet to me. I do have my mom, but have lost Rob’s mom, who was like another mother to me. I think of her on this day too. I feel her absence like a fresh bruise on these holidays. I imagine that you, too, feel that absence. There are good memories, but still, and always, the loss.
Mother’s Day can just. be. HARD.
This Mother’s Day weekend, I want all of you who are hurting out there to know that I am thinking about you. I know that I’m not alone in this, and maybe this post will remind people to also be thinking about you and praying for you. I hope this weekend you are gathered under God’s wings (because he longs to gather you there, you know) and that you KNOW you are loved. He sees you. You ARE enough.