When I was in high school, I became really close to one of my boyfriend’s aunts. She was close to her twin nephews because she was very devoted to her sister, their mom. But this woman was also close to her sister’s kids because she didn’t have any children of her own. She couldn’t have children. She and her husband had tried for years to conceive, but they never did. I don’t know any of the details except that she wanted kids and couldn’t have them.
I was sad for her. She had a deep desire for children but couldn’t have any.
She was sweet, loving, kind, gracious, and honest. She was a doting aunt, a confidante, a friend. She would have been a great mom.
As the years went on, we kept in touch (even though her nephew and I had long broken up). I continued to think of her. I empathized with her because she couldn’t have children.
One year in college, Mother’s Day rolled around and I had an idea to send her a Mother’s Day card.
This card came from me, but I wrote about all the people—all the kids, like me—that she had touched. Even though she didn’t have a child of her own, she influenced so many children. I expressed to her my appreciation for the influence she had on my life, probably one that she never even knew about.
She was touched by my gesture. She told me that she cried reading the card. She had never received a Mother’s Day card before, and this card was so unexpected. I think what affected her the most was that she felt nobody cared about her on this day.
She was left out of the celebration because she wasn’t a mother. Yes, she had a mother (a great one), but she also desired to be a mother and she wasn’t one.
While most people celebrated motherhood, she mourned it.
While (male) church pastors and leaders spoke about how God instituted motherhood and how wonderful it is and on and on and on, she grieved.
When Hallmark commercials came on, (I imagine) she changed the channel, or watched it with sadness, loneliness, and pain.
I love my own mother, my mother-in-law, and my grandmothers. They are special women. But I’m extremely uncomfortable with Mother’s Day.
I’m always thinking about the people left out of the “motherhood celebration”.
Women who have suffered a miscarriage.
Teenage girls or young adults who have given their children up for adoption.
Women who have had abortions.
Women who cannot bear children.
Children—young and old—who have lost their mothers to death.
Children who do not have the “type” of mother promoted through greeting cards, retail stores, and even the church.
Mothers who do not feel they meet up to societal or Christian standards about what makes a “good mother.”
I’m uncomfortable with Mother’s Day.
My husband does not preach a Mother’s Day sermon for many of these same reasons (However, he is giving a 4-part tribute to the mothers he loves in his life, including my mom).
This Mother’s Day, think of women:
Who are not in the mood to celebrate this holiday, a national one, mind you, not a Christian one.
Who do not have the emotional energy to come to church on that day because of the pain they will feel.
Who grieve every day but on this day, in particular, the grief hurts even more.
Who feel alone and lonely.
Who want to be a mother but can’t.
Who were mothers at one time but decided not to be.
Think of these women when you go to church, when you call your mom, when you talk to friends, when you buy gifts.
Pray for them.
Do something special for them.
Listen to their stories, and let them know you care.