As a woman who has experienced several types of dynamics on Mother’s Day, I’d like to use this forum to suggest some different approaches to our somewhat-hallowed holiday. Certainly, we need to celebrate our mothers and the incredible work they do to nurture, teach and birth the next generation. But for women in various seasons of life, Mother’s Day can be either a blessing or a curse. For example:
The Infertile Woman
For six years, I tried to conceive. Each month brought another disappointment even while I bought baby gifts for friends and attended so many baby showers I was sick of cake with blue or pink frosting. For me, Mother’s Day represented the day in which I could not share joy. Instead, it was a poignant reminder that like Hannah, Rachel and Elizabeth before me – I could not bear a child.
I hated to attend church on Mother’s Day, because the pastor or the worship leader always recognized the mothers in the congregation. He asked them to stand proudly to their feet while everyone applauded. I, too, clapped for my “sisters” and posed with a fake smile. But there I sat, in the soprano section of the choir, almost as if a spotlight centered on me – the only woman of child-bearing age not standing. I felt disgraced.
After the service, mothers were handed prepackaged gifts, usually a pretty little potted plant or a packet of wildflower seeds. I drove home empty-handed with the question imprinted on my heart, “Why, God?” or more often, “Why not?”
So how should we approach Mother’s Day while many women in our lives cannot bear a child?
- Send a card. Find one that says, “I’m thinking of you today” or a card with a funny sentiment such as, “When life hands you lemons, forget the lemonade. Go for the chocolate.” Or design your own card that reminds this woman she has value to Christ and significance in your life.
- How about some flowers, a tin of homemade cookies or a Starbucks card? Any little gift that reminds the childless woman she is not forgotten.
- Remind your church leaders to acknowledge all women on Mother’s Day, not just the ones whose ovaries work properly. Better yet, let’s not celebrate Mother’s Day in our churches, but rather let it be a private family observance.
If you’re a woman who has your quiver full of children, say a prayer of thanks. But also pray for the childless woman. She needs God’s comfort this weekend, and she needs your love.