On this special day, I want to share a Mother’s Day message to all the moms suffering from infertility or who have experienced the death of a child. I understand your pain and the difficulty of this day, as I’ve been there before, and you are not alone in your journey.
When the pastor asked the moms to come to the front of the church that Sunday to receive a bouquet of roses, I felt a flush of heat spread across my face. As I looked around, I noticed that nearly all of the women in the room got to their feet and filed forward, some of them carrying infants. They were all smiling and laughing and clearly having a good time, an aura I had thought I’d lost after dealing with infertility and two unsuccessful IVF cycles, and the news that I was probably never going to get pregnant at all.
Unfortunately, I was not one of the fortunate parents who got to celebrate this day.
What I wanted most in life was to become a mother. What I had always been certain I would eventually possess.
Yet on that Mother’s Day Sunday in church, I realized how far away my hope of becoming a mother really was. It was soul destroying to be made to sit there as other mothers accepted the applause they so rightfully deserved.
A painful reflection of the void within my own uterus.
A short time later, I was presented with the chance to adopt my daughter. To make matters more challenging, I had only a week to get ready after meeting the baby’s other mother by chance and having her ask me to adopt her child within the first fifteen minutes of our chat.
To put it simply, it was the miracle I’d been praying for. This was the one I had all but given up hope of ever having. In the six years since I have never stopped being amazed by the outcome; I am grateful for every tear and second of pain I endured because I know I would do it all over again if it meant I could be with my daughter again.
No amount of thanks can make up for the hurtful Mother’s Day memories I’ve had in the past. For years, I yearned for something I was convinced I’d never have, while everyone else seemed to revel in the effortlessness with which it had been bestowed upon them.
For me, Mother’s Day ranks among the year’s most excruciatingly unpleasant occasions. This Mother’s Day, even though I now get to call myself a Mother proudly, I can’t help but think of the women who aren’t mothers yet.
For those of you who are having a hard time, if there is one thing I could tell you, it wouldn’t be to keep hoping for a personal miracle. As I was in the thick of it, I found that being told there was magic in the future only made me feel more hopeless and isolated, as if no one could ever completely understand what I was going through. But if you are the kind of person who finds comfort in stories like these, I have a lot of them.
Rather than devalue your experience on this special day, I would not encourage you to maintain optimism. I would rather you focus on your own health and happiness on Mother’s Day and do whatever you need to do to get through it without getting hurt.
For the record, that advice is applicable daily; infertility, miscarriage, and infant loss are all traumatic experiences that can deplete a person’s strength. When loss and sadness have overshadowed your pregnancy, focusing on taking care of yourself is important.
Take extra care of yourself today.
The church and family outings are optional, and you have my blessing to forgo them. Those who have seen you before will know what to do. If they don’t, it’s because they weren’t planning on being particularly considerate of your sentiments today.
It’s fine, I assure you, to stay away from places where other people are enjoying the things you so desperately want to have—the restaurants that are full of happy families celebrating Mother’s Day and the grocery stores that are decorated for the holiday in hopes of attracting teary-eyed last-minute shoppers.
You should stock up on whatever makes you feel better, whether it’s mint chocolate chip ice cream or old movies from the 1980s.
What I’m trying to say is, treat yourself nicely. Get your fill of whatever it is that you know you happy with. Turn off your phone and take some time for yourself.
To add some perspective, you should know that you are not the only person in this situation.
Few people take into account how difficult Mother’s Day can be for those who have experienced infertility or the death of a child. However, I do. What you’re saying is true. I fully comprehend your pain and hardship. Yes, I’ve been there before.
And as this weekend approaches and you brace yourself for yet another onslaught of sorrow, all I can offer you is my love.
My sincere wish is that you will heed my warnings and take all necessary precautions. This is a day set aside to honor parents who have given their lives to provide for their children.
There is no one who has given more than you.
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