Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother's Day for the Infertile Woman


Mother’s Day:  a day meant to honor the women in our lives who take on probably the biggest responsibility a human can ever be entrusted with; making another human being from start to finish! 

Lately the TV has been flooded with beautiful commercials honoring moms. The stores are full of beautiful displays holding the perfect card, tons of gifts, and fragrant flowers.  But what about the women who want nothing more in the world than to become a mom but for whatever reason, can’t?

It is good and right to honor mothers. However, we must recognize that many infertile women find this day almost unbearable. This Mother’s Day will be my first and while I’m super excited that I get to celebrate this year, I can’t help but remember the pain I felt each year that went by as I battled infertility.  I was always happy to celebrate the moms in my life! Heaven knows that I’ve been blessed with a wonderful, beautiful, and kind Mother who’s been there for me through thick and through thin. I love that I have the opportunity to honor her each year.  But to suffer through Mother’s Day year after year, yearning for a child of my own was often much harder on the inside than I made it look.

Infertility is usually suffered in silence. Infertility carries a stigma in our society so couples struggling with it often do so alone and in private. It isn’t always because these women are bitter or envious that makes the day so hard. The day is simply a painful reminder of their unfulfilled longings. As a woman who battled (and continues to battle) infertility, I longed so badly to hold my own baby in my arms yet year after year went by and that prayer went unanswered.  Even this year, having just birthed four, beautiful, healthy babies, knowing that if I were to want to get pregnant again, it would take another miracle is extremely difficult for me to accept.  It is particularly disheartening when you know that God made women to be able to bear children, yet when you can’t, you feel as though you are lacking and unable to fulfill the role God put you on Earth for. Some days, it’s difficult to remember that in God, in all His Glory, alone knows what he has in store for you. Many years went by that I’d read 1 Samuel and feel Hannah’s struggle and pray that God would answer my prayers.

Perhaps this year, when honoring the moms in your life, look around to see the woman or women who may not be with child yet but have the desire to be and let them know you’re thinking about them. It need not be a direct reminder or discussion of their struggle, but a simple Mother’s Day Card for the aunt, sister, friend or cousin may be enough to help that individual get through another Mother’s Day.  Personally, I struggled with infertility in silence for many years. I’m not sure if they knew it or not, but the years when I received cards in the mail from my nieces on Mother’s Day were joyous for me. Seeing their little handwriting (or drawings) on a card made me feel like they were thinking of me and I knew that I’d made a difference, however small, in their life.

Alternatively, if you know someone openly struggling with infertility, please be kind to them on this day. Understand they may be sensitive or short. While I’d never recommend trying to start a conversation with them about infertility, if they bring it up, please don’t try to offer solutions. Don’t ask them if they’ve tried this or that, but simply listen. Let them cry. Let them be angry. Let them sulk. The emotions they go through are a constant roller coaster. Each month that passes is a constant reminder of their battle and each month that passes and results in yet another “not pregnant” means a new month of mourning the dreams of pregnancy.  Offer to pray with them and then hold their hand and pray right then and there and ask God to bless them with a child if He so desires.

As the world around us celebrates motherhood this year, please remember those who struggle with infertility. Remember, even moms who already have children can still struggle and for anyone who longs to have a child, whether their first or fifth, and can’t, it’s a battle. Your kindness and recognition on this day can sometimes play a role in helping her get through this emotional day. Trust me, those simple kindnesses are not soon forgotten! 

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