My first Mother’s Day (2014) was about a month after I gave birth to our first-born. I was still at home with our son since he was not old enough for public outings. I remembered feeling somewhat lonely that day as my husband went off to church without us. We were about to celebrate our first wedding anniversary that same week and after almost 365 days as a married couple, I had come to realize that my new husband was not big on holidays. He did not make a big deal about them so I adjusted my expectations for Mother’s Day accordingly. Maybe he would remember or maybe the mayhem of life with a newborn would sweep all thoughts of cards or gifts from his mind. Either way, I was prepared. I was thankful enough for the gift that we have in our new baby and that was all I really needed for day to be special.
My amazing husband shocked me by going all out for my first Mother’s Day. I had more gifts than I knew what to do with and my heart truly blessed God for how well I was loved as a wife and as a new mom.
At that time in my life, I had naively assumed that all of my friends who were newly married and not yet mothers themselves were delaying pregnancy on purpose until the time was right to build their family. At that point, I had a handful of sisters who were also newlyweds and only two of us were moms. In my mind, everyone else wanted a few more years with their husbands before they started bringing children into the world. As the years went on and the same friends of mine had yet to welcome their own bundles, I marveled that so many of my friends who were either in their thirties or right at the cusp were delaying starting their families for so long. Eventually, I got a reality check. Many of these loved ones of mine were not actively trying to prevent pregnancy. In fact, many had prepared themselves, emotionally, spiritually and physically for the journey of pregnancy and motherhood only to be disappointed month after month. It was a sobering reality.
I do not know why I assumed that everyone who wanted to get pregnant could. It had never occurred to me that anyone that I actually love and pray for would suffer the heartache of infertility. In my understanding, infertility was what happened to other people, those who had waited until they were menopausal before trying to have children or those who had long-suffered with medical conditions that were known to make childbearing next to impossible. It did not happen to happily married, young, thriving, Bible-believing women. That would not be fair.
All around me were women who had been married for far longer than I who were not yet mothers and I was totally convinced that it was because they wanted to wait till later. These were women who were leading ministries, running businesses and managing much more than just their household. It made sense to me that they did not yet want to add the responsibilities of parenthood to their long list of duties. Then there were the newlyweds who were younger than me by five years or more who were not yet parents either. Again, I assumed it was because they were not ready at the ages of 23, 25 or 27 to enter into the trenches of life with a newborn. Many of them were still learning how to be married so it made sense to me that they decided not to have children right away.
Lost in the melting pot of my assumptions were the friends who were newly married, newly pregnant and not yet showing, only to have their hopes crushed by miscarriage. There were others who were my seniors in marriage by almost a decade and I had assumed that they were childless simply because their time to conceive had not come. Worse still, those friends who were saving the sharing of their joy until after the safe arrival of their babies only to experience every parent’s worst nightmare of giving birth and having to bury their children.
For so many Mother’s Day in the past, I had never given a second thought to these different classes of women, all mothers in their own right – mothers in waiting, mothers of angel babies, and hopeful mothers to be. This year, they were at the forefront of my mind. Even as I celebrated the joy of fruitfulness, a part of me was prayerful for the countless number of women in my life who may be carrying their pain quietly.
You are loved. You are not forgotten. You are not alone.
Yours in Christ,