To all the women out there on Mother’s Day who are waiting for a baby, grieving one, or grieving several, we see you.
There’s a lot I don’t understand about how babies get made. OK, I know how they get made. That’s not what this article is about.
What I don’t understand is why so many people accidentally get pregnant when they weren’t trying and why so many ready couples cannot conceive no matter how hard they try. Or why there are so many single women out there who would make amazing mothers, but there aren’t enough guys out there with their act together enough to put a ring on it and make it happen. So those women aren’t even getting a chance at the motherhood journeys they crave. It’s not fair. And it can make Mother’s Day a hard one.
So in the midst of all the adorable kid posts this weekend, here are some things I’ve grown to believe.
If you’re trying to get pregnant and nothing is working, you are not nearly as alone as Instagram leads you to believe. Behind every baby bump announcement photo is a mess of families grieving another round of trying without success. I’ve felt the exhaustion of riding that rollercoaster. There is just not enough time to emotionally rebound. You’re waiting to try, trying, waiting to know, peeing on a stick (or ten), grieving, and starting all over again—month after month after month. The relentless repeat of the cycle that you cannot speed up or slow down for the life of you is exhausting. It moves too quickly for hope or grief to have a fighting chance. No matter how well you count, take your temperature, or put your feet in the air, it’s out of our control. And it hurts.
If you’ve miscarried, I want you to know that you weren’t “kind of” pregnant. You didn’t almost have a baby. You had a real baby inside of you. A real one! That life mattered. That child counted. He or she made you a mom even if you never got to meet. And you didn’t mess it up. If you’re worried you didn’t drink enough water or pushed yourself too hard—it’s not your fault. Miscarriage is a dark, brutal result of a broken world. You are a mama to that precious one you won’t meet until heaven, and this day is for you, too.
If you lost a child in delivery or beyond, there are no words to heal that kind of grief. That pain is indescribable, and no matter what well-intended Christianese you might have heard before in someone’s attempt to comfort you—it was not supposed to happen. It’s a tragedy worth grief as deep as you’ve got in you. Even though you don’t get to hold that baby and post a cute Mother’s Day pic on Facebook together, you are a mama with a medal of honor.
Maybe you don’t even have a shot at those experiences because you’re still waiting for the guy, and he’s nowhere to be found. If that’s you, God sees you. He hasn’t forgotten you. I don’t know what the holdup is, but I hope you know: you haven’t messed this up. You’re not unwanted. You are worthy of great love. If singleness tempts you to believe otherwise—it’s just not true.
Whoever you are—if you’ve always wanted is to be a mom, and it’s just not happening, that is not a reflection of your worth. You are worthy—of being loved, of giving love, of having your dreams become a reality even if they don’t. You are not rejected. It’s a crushing reality of living in a world that’s nothing like the one we were made to experience. And your title can still be Mom.
When adorable Mother’s Day posts pop up this weekend, there might be a temptation to despair. Or fear it’ll never happen for you. Maybe you’ve even been told it’s impossible for you to have a baby.
Well, I don’t know what you believe about God. But as I wrestled with my journey, here’s what the God I follow told me:
If you’re worried something is wrong with you, He reminded me that he’s the God famous for making a virgin conceive.
If you’re afraid you’re too old or don’t have enough eggs or enough faith, He’s the God who made a 90-year-old woman conceive. Even after she laughed and didn’t believe Him.
He’s the God who created humanity and who raised Jesus from the dead. He is the author of life, and he’s stronger than death.
That means He can do impossible things. It means He’s bigger than our fear. He’s not bound by biology or limited by the imperfections in our bodies. It means that a doctor’s diagnosis does not have to be the last word.
He’s also expanded motherhood far beyond biologically conceiving. That yearning in you can be used now. You want it because motherhood is already in you. Use it now. Not because you’ve given up hope of your own, but in faith that you are made for this and that it matters even now.
Motherhood is a sacred experience. We are miraculously wired to radically love this tiny human with all of our being before we’ve ever met. Sometimes we struggle to feel the love (or the pain) because it’s too overwhelming. Sometimes we’re overwhelmed because we can’t not feel it. But the love is real, and so is the grief when we’re forced to wait, or the chance is taken from us.
Whether you’re holding your baby this Mother’s Day or not, what can’t be taken is that you are deeply loved and have incredible love to give. This day can still be for you.
When your social media feed fills with photos of happy families and baby bumps, may you feel deep in your bones that you are not rejected or forgotten.
Your lost one, your waiting, your bursting mama heart matters. Your grief is worth feeling. Your doubt and anger are OK. And hope—though it can be terrifying and painful—is still good. The very definition of faith in the Bible is confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see. That means it’s good to believe in what hasn’t yet happened. If you have a hard time believing motherhood is still ahead for you or you’re grieving all that could have been, that’s OK. In the meantime, though, if it’s OK with you, I’ll be hoping for you.
I’ll believe in a bright future for you because God promises it. I’ll believe that one way or another, your babies are coming. I’ll believe in your capacity to thrive as a mother in this very moment—to adopted, fostered, or spiritual kids who would love to receive from you. I bless you with peaceful surrender for the future and honor in the present moment. That God will redeem everything and waste nothing. That grace will fall on you today and wash away any heartache.
God, pour out a blessing on all the moms and moms-to-be out there who read this. May your Spirit heal us. May your hope fill us. Let us surrender all control or fear and trust that You are good. And please bring some husbands and make some babies this weekend. We’ll take all the babies. Amen.
Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...
What strikes you most about this article? Why?
What emotions do Mother’s Day bring up for you? How do you normally process them?
The really annoying thing about emotions is that any feeling left unfelt never goes away. Meaning, if we don’t fully face our emotions in all their intensity, they continue to impact us under the surface. The good news is that facing them fully allows God to heal it fully. Pain like the ones described in this article rarely get the emphasis they deserve. If you need it this weekend, plan a way to face it. Have a funeral even. Maybe it’s just you and God, but it’s worth your time. Healthy grief is honoring and healing.
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