Six years ago today, I walked into our church with an incredible surprise in my arms – a beautiful baby girl, placed in my arms just two days before through the miracle of adoption. I will never forget that day; in fact, there is one picture in my purse which is never removed and it is the one I took of my daughter on that first Mother’s Day in 2001. Not only was she a blessing in and of her perfect little chubby self, but she was a reminder to me that God has not forgotten me in my infertility and adoption loss. He had brought me the perfect child, at the most perfect time.
Prior to Eva’s arrival, I did not plan to be in church on that Mother’s Day. The truth is that Mother’s Day had become much too painful a day to sit in church and try to hold in my heartbreak as other mothers received their flowers and well-deserved words of love and thankfulness. Because I remember this so well, the following post spoke to my heart. In my present state of having been blessed with three beautiful children, I do not want to forget those who still wait and cry tears of heartache as I did … So without further ado, I share these thoughts from my friend Melissa C:
Mother's Day can be a day of pain for so many people. For the people:
1. Whose moms are dead.
2. Whose moms abandoned them.
3. Who have prodigal children
4. Who aren't married and desparately long for marriage and motherhood.
5. Who are married but have no children.
I fit three of five categories over the course of my 20's and beginning 30's. As a woman whose mother had taken off for a "new life", a woman who was single and longing for motherhood, and then as a married woman who was told she wouldn't be able to conceive.
This year, my mom is once again in my life after 8 long years. I'm now married and we have received the miracle of pregnancy.
But I don't ever want to forget the pain of the years when Mother's Day hurt. EVER.
And I want to honor all my friends who's hearts will ache beyond words tomorrow. My friends who are still struggling with infertility.
One of the greatest gifts I ever received on Mother's Day was several years ago. My best friend LeAndra bought me a beautiful Mother's Day card, some flowers, and her children gave me some jewelry. She wrote me a beautiful letter about how I was a mother, simply because I had a mother's heart and already loved my unborn, unmet children. And also because I had (have) a huge influential role in her children's lives. And every year since then, LeAndra has honored me on Mother's Day. In spite of the fact I was single--in spite of the fact I was infertile--she considered me a mother. And last year, my husband honored me as well---again, considering me a mother in spite of the fact our arms were empty.
If only more of God's children would do that for women struggling with infertility.
You see, I consider all of you who still have not conceived or met your forever children, MOTHERS.
You are mothers because:
1. You already hold a great love for your unmet, unborn, un-adopted children. In fact, you already love them so much, you will recognize them as truly yours the minute you lay eyes on them. And some of you have children---in heaven---and you love them as much as if they were in your arms.
2. You already sacrifice so much for your unmet, unborn, un-adopted children. Countless forms and paperwork and training classes, days spent at the OB/GYN office in humiliating and awkward positions, undergoing painful and embarrassing procedures on a regular basis, taking drugs that screw with your emotions and cause blinding headaches and pre-mature morning sickness, waiting for months on end for the adoption agency to call, having birth parents change their mind at the last minute, charts, temp taking, OPK kits, thousands of dollars spent either on IVF or adoption proceedings, on and on and on.
They say that in motherhood you sacrifice for your children. You are already sacrificing. Hence, in my book, you are already mothers.
3. You miss your unmet, unborn, un-adopted children. Like in the movie Facing the Giants, the coach's wife struggling with infertility looks at Grant, her husband, with tears in her eyes and asks him, "How can you miss someone so much that you haven't even met yet?" Such poignant truth in that question. And those of you that have lost babies---the missing is not just your child, but you are permanently missing a piece of your own heart.
4. I've heard it said that the day your child is born, a mother's heart begins to die just little bit. Die with the pain and worry of loving and wanting to protect the child at all cost. You all have hearts that die a little bit week after week, month after month. When the phone doesn't ring with your child waiting at the agency on the other end. When your cycle starts up yet again. When the Doctor looks at you and says, "We can't do any more rounds of Clomid" or "this has to be your last IUI". Or when you're told, "You need to put TTC on hold and take b/c for the next three months because your cists are so bad." For others of you, whether it was losing your baby at 2 weeks or the heartbreak of losing your baby at birth, a part of you died the day your child did.
I know many of you will stay away from church tomorrow and I say, "Good for you. Do what you need to, to get through this day". Others of you, as Pastor's wives and praise team members can't stay away. And so you will go, and you will sit through the mother-honoring time alone in your pew with your husband holding your hand as you silently cry. You will sit as the women come up for their roses or carnations and your heart will cry out "Lord, why can't I walk forward?!?!?!" You will stand with tears in your eyes as the kids come pouring up from Sunday School with things they made for their moms, excitedly giving it all to them admidst a flurry of hugs. You will watch the kids come up and sing a song for the congregation and you will wonder "If my child (children) had lived, what would they have looked like up there?" and you will grieve the loss all over again.
You will hear things like, "So when are you guys going to get pregnant?" Or, "relax, it will happen" or "don't think about it. You're just causing stress which will keep you from getting pregnant" or "think of all you can without kids. My kids drive me nuts!" ad nauseam.
Some of you will struggle with overwhelming grief, others will struggle to fight away the anger and bitterness that try to take over. Some of you will go numb and on autopilot and others will bravely try to say "It's all in God's hands" while your heart questions, "Does God even care anymore!?"
I know that there is nothing I can say to make it better. Nothing. Everything will sound cliche and empty. All I can offer is:
I honor all of you as mothers because that is truly how I see you.
I will pray that your Daddy-God will hold you tight in His arms tomorrow and cuddle you in your emptiness and pain. The same Daddy-God who longs for children as much as we as mother's do. He knows the pain of missing the children He already loves because they choose not to make Him Father. He knows your pain dear ones. Let Him help you carry yours.
I am blessed beyond words from the so many of you I have met on my own infertility journey and I am so thankful for the forever friendships I have made as a result.
I love you all and have the utmost respect for you all.