Out of 365 days in the year, Mother’s Day was the most difficult in my experience with infertility. A flood of memories comes rushing in when I think about it. This special day, and the anticipation of it, was the hardest of all holidays and more emotional for me than baby showers and hospital visits to see newborns.
At most churches, mothers are appropriately acknowledged with honor and a gift of appreciation. The first few years, I would feel so alone when all the mothers were asked to stand. I felt out of place and thought I stuck out, like everyone knew I wasn’t a mommy.
The following may not be novel ideas, but I just wanted to share some thoughts on how we can become more proactive instead of reactive on Mother’s Day.
1) Get away!
One year we decided, “Let’s get away!” We went out of town for the weekend and still went to church. It was easier being away from our home church where no one knew I wanted to be a mom. At this church, they asked the grandmothers to stand first, then the mothers, and then they even asked wives to stand who weren’t mothers. I received a gift even though I wasn’t expecting to be included!
2) Celebrate your mom!
One year instead of focusing on it not being my day to celebrate, we again went away for the weekend but to spend it with my mom and dad. Our mothers deserve all the recognition we can give them for their contributions and love and sacrifice. That was a special time.
3) Serve instead of sit.
One year we could not get away for the weekend as we had in the past, but after talking with another friend who was also experiencing infertility, I decided I would try something different. She said Mother’s Day wasn’t difficult for her because she always served in the nursery that day. I thought I could try this. Instead of enduring the recognition during the church service, I volunteered to help in 3-year olds and a friend of mine helped me, since both the teacher and helper were out of town. We made pretty flowers out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners and sprayed perfume on them so the children could give them to their mothers. It turned out to be fun, especially with a friend!
4) Think of others.
One year, I offered to take my friend’s place in the nursery so she could watch her daughter’s Mother’s Day music presentation. Then for lunch, we invited an elderly widow to our home. She had also never experienced the blessing of being a mother, but we wanted to show honor to her.
After the first few years of wondering how I would survive another Mother’s Day, I realized I could celebrate the day and cope with the difficulty by honoring our moms and by serving in different capacities. I still shed some tears, but it made a difference deciding ahead of time how I would spend the day instead of reacting to the emotions this type of holiday brings forth. And the Lord always gave grace when I needed it.
Another year, another Mother’s Day? Make it a different kind of Mother’s Day.