A Childless Mother’s Day Wishlist…
We’ve all seen the commercials for the upcoming holiday. The “show mom how much you care with” or “mom gave up everything for you, this year give her ” or “because of mom… ”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I would never, ever discount everything that mothers do, but this post isn’t about them.
It’s about me…mostly because it’s my blog post and I can say whatever I want, but also because I hope that someone reading this will do one of two things. I hope it can help you a) not feel so alone or b) gain some perspective and empathy.
Mother’s Day love is all around us. Everywhere you look, there’s something floral or pink or sparkly or punny or heart warming. It’s enough to throw a childless woman into a tizzy. And just when you think you’re safe in your own home, with your cats, your jammies, Oreos and Gordon Ramsay…you’re bombarded with commercials. Ugh. One such commercial interrupted my binge watch of Project Runway and asked “What do you really want for Mothers Day is year?” And it got me thinking….
What do I really want this year?
I’ll be honest. I’m not entirely sure. I know that I don’t want to feel sad. I know that I don’t want to be bothered and yet, at the same time, I don’t want to be ignored, right? In fact, I know exactly what I DON’T want, so I’ll start there.
I don’t want your pity. Let me clarify. I don’t want you to look at me with your sad eyes as I hurry from the piano, where I’ve just played a song for the primary kids to sing. I don’t want you to say to your spouse, “oh, that poor Sister Jennings.” I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I’m good enough at that myself and my misery doesn’t need anymore company.
Here’s how you can combat that. Love your children. Look at them and realize what a beautiful gift from God that they are. Be a little more patient with them. Hug them a little tighter.
I also would appreciate some space. When I avoid you, realize that it’s not you. It’s me. I need some space. I don’t like to cry in front of people. I don’t like to show my weaknesses to people. When I politely refuse the traditional Mother’s Day gift ( which I will ) please don’t push the matter. I am doing what’s healthy for me and that’s okay. When I sneak out the door in the primary room, don’t try to find me or catch up with me. Again, it’s not you. I honestly feel like I’m going to drown…and I need to get out.
If you really want to say or do something, please don’t make it a huge deal. I don’t like be singled out or treated differently. Send me a text, write me a note, pat my hand. It’s not at all necessary, but if you must, I understand.
That being said, the thing that I think we would all appreciate most is just a little bit of understanding. Understand that when I kick all the primary teachers out, it’s not because I hate you or because I don’t value you, but because I’m a little selfish and I want to spend the day with the children that God did give me. Understand that this is what grief and infertility do to you. Understand that I literally cannot talk about this. Understand that sometimes, I cannot handle being in church. Understand that my grieving (because that’s what this is) isn’t about lessening what you, as a mother, do. It’s not discounting your role or your sacrifice, but rather mourning the loss of mine.
I’m often asked if this pain will ever go away…and the answer is a resounding No. It will lessen with time, but there will almost always be a moment that breaks your heart, not matter how tough you are. It’s a reminder of eternity and of the plan that God has for each of us in the hereafter. It’s a reminder that you are still human, with a heart and feelings and empathy and dreams. It allows you to learn patience and kindness and humility. It allows you to learn to stand up for yourself and for others. It’s never going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
Let me close with this thought. Your contributions to the world are invaluable. You are needed, whether you can give birth or not. There is no one in this world that can do what you do in the way that you do it. There is no one in this world that can fill your spot. You are necessary. You are important. You are a daughter of God…and not one of those things depends on your status as a mother. Not one. The ability to love and nurture is a God-given birthright. Your worth as His daughter does not depend on your ability to give birth. As we were taught by Sister Rosemary Wixom, “Because you are His child, you not only need Him, but He needs you. Those sitting around you right now need you. The world needs YOU.” Thank you, sisters, for your contributions to this world. In the words of President Nelson, “We need more women who know how to make important things happen by their faith.” You are one of those women. Whether you are a mother or not, YOU are needed. Your faith, your love, your companionship, your kindness, your smile, your unique beauty- all of these things are needed in this world. YOU are needed.