(un)Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day.

That means a lot of you got extra-crispy toast in bed and artistic scrawls in finger paints and colored pencils. You deserve it. Yours is a 24/7 job with no time off, and this small recognition is hard won. Most of my friends are mothers and I’m more grateful than I can say for the unfailing love and patience of my own mother, my grandmothers, my mother-in-law. I don’t begrudge any of you mothers either the joy or the difficulties of your role.

Still, this is not an easy day for some of us to navigate.

While you’re curled up on the sofa with your kids, some of us are doing time with our ovulation calendars, trying to figure out why on earth the thing that happens so easily, almost accidentally, for many… appears to be a complexity that, inexplicably, we may never find our way through.

This morning at church, the mothers were asked to stand. As nearly every woman in the room rose, someone behind me laughed and whispered, “Pretty much everyone!” That’s the moment I lost my emotional nerve and had to leave—not out of anger or frustration, but simply because it kicked me once again in the gut: motherhood seems to be a clique that a few of us simply can’t access.

Here’s what those few of us might say, if asked.

1. Most of the time, I can be pretty dispassionate about the situation. Physically, this is possible and should happen at some point. I believe that God can and will give us a child at the right time. But there is a deep emotional core for a woman regarding motherhood that I don’t fully understand and, at least right now, have no ability to control. Sometimes, something taps into that core—and then I lose it. When I do, it’s not a demand for sympathy or pity; it’s the way I’m wired.

2. Yes, I am aware that motherhood is possibly the most difficult thing I will ever do. I frankly don’t look forward to losing “my” time and current level of flexibility and independence. But I do crave the opportunity to grow and stretch further into the person God has designed me to be. Of course He can and will do that in other ways than motherhood. But I see it in a similar light to marriage; while marriage is the most difficult thing I’ve tried to date, it has also shaped and deepened me in ways I would never chose to give up.

3. Yes, I know that there are many, MANY children desperately in need of mothers. If we’re unable to have biological children—and possibly even if we are—we desire to adopt. But adoption takes a high level of emotional, financial, physical and spiritual investment, and right now, those resources are going into navigating the complexities of treating infertility.

For now, I’m trying to learn from all the moms in my life who are such fantastic role models, even through their lack of sleep, the terrible twos and various heartaches.

I hope to join you soon.

7 thoughts on “(un)Mother’s Day”

  1. Liz

    THANKS, as always, for your frankness and vulnerability! It’s so easy to forget the pain that others possess until we are reminded. I truly and sincerely appreciate your openness and honesty!

    Karen Clark

  2. Well done, Liz. This day is bittersweet for me, too, because I had an abusive mother. It’s been a long journey to learn to embrace the gift of my own three kids- I was terrified I’d mess them up. My church made us go up there, too, and it was awkward. Yes, mothers do deserve recognition, but never in a way that diminishes others. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful and sincere post. I am a mother, but I know a few dear woman who suffer infertility. I can’t imagine their/your grief, my heart goes out to you.

  4. Hugs to you, my very first niece. Life holds unfathomable richness and breathtaking pain. I have not walked your path, but you have touched my heart in sharing yours. Thank you for your eloquence and openness. May Life continue to awe you with its sweetness. Love you.

  5. Hey Liz,
    Nicely put. It’s tempting to say nothing when you don’t know what to say–speaking from my point of view–but I’ve learned thru my own losses and sufferings that it’s so much better when friends try to say SOMETHING to ease the burden and enter the pain. This is me trying to say something to let you know that your kind of struggle and disappointment are unimaginable as I gaze back from this side of the chasm between “kids” and “no kids.” I am so sorry. Thanks for speaking from the heart and letting us in today. Sending you dearest love today.

  6. Dearest Liz,

    I know amazing stories on all sides of the perplexment of infertility.

    The one central thing that seems to hold true for all is that
    God was in control. God has a plan. I will keep you and Dave in my prayers!

    Hugs, Maureen

  7. Ladies, thanks so much to all of you for your comments and prayers. They mean more to me than I can say!

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