Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why No One Should Have To Stand On Mother's Day

This day is meant to be celebrated, right?

We get to stand in long lines and go out to eat at a packed restaurant (kids in tow) and have an enjoyable time eating food that we didn't have to make while our kids are angels because they know that today is Mother's Day, right?

However, for some women Mother's Day is not a celebration.

I was one of those moms that had to make it through Mother's Day knowing that I had carried children in my womb yet had no children sitting next to me. Three Mother's Days were spent like that because of three miscarriages.

I have been in church services where all of the moms have been asked to stand. What do you do when you know you're a mom, but there are no kids there with you? I have been the one sitting there trying desperately to put a bewildered look on my face and pretend to smile while doing my very best to think of anything else...ANYTHING. Who wants to start crying in what is supposed to be a happy moment??? That would be awkward.

I remember crying out to God on a futon, in a room in our house, desperately telling God that, "I just want to have a child!" A room that was suppose to be the nursery but had been redecorated to be a "sitting room." Because when you are a couple in a house with many rooms you have to find something to call each one and no one wanted to call it, "the old nursery."

Then after some long hard years, God heard my prayers, man did he ever!

HOPE

I was able to celebrate Mother's Day like I always imagined it would be. However, the more Mother's Days that I celebrated the more I learned the whole part about not requesting presents and instead, in desperation, just requesting some peace and quiet for this special day.

Many hard days of being a mom have come and gone and I take myself back to that room where I sat on a futon and cried my eyes out asking God for THIS CHILD. When I'm at the end of my rope and hiding in the bathroom fighting for a few moments of peace...I think about that futon.

We have now moved a few times to accommodate our family growth. A few things remain the same. There is a special room that I go to, to be quiet, spend time with God and just pray.

This room holds that same futon that many tears have been cried on. 

The Futon I Prayed On

It also holds a memory box that I created for our first anniversary when we were joyfully anticipating our first child in 7 months, who we affectionately called, Jr. 

Jr., the first child that we lost

The glider that I rocked my babies in and that same reminder of HOPE are present in this room as well.

a glider and hope

When Mother's Day comes around I count my blessings and they completely overwhelm me with joy.

count my blessings

Our experiences change us though.

I would be lying if I didn't say that I will also be sitting in this room reflecting and mourning for friends this year who are crying in great desperation today.

A friend who a few weeks ago lost her baby boy when she was 6 months pregnant with him. She is the mom who I will be thinking about all day long. Please don't ask the moms to stand. 

Pain is real.

Going through pain showed me even clearer that Satan is real. I wish that we lived in a perfect world where there was no pain or death, but then again, that is how God originally intended it to be and there will be a day when it will be that way again.

When I think of standing on Mother's Day I think of the pain of those who have lost their children, are struggling to get pregnant, or have other painful memories. Those whose hearts are yearning to be mothers yet who cannot stand.

Those who can hardly bear the pain of the memories, longings, or regrets.

When I think of that I remember that I have been there and even in the midst of the joy of celebrating this day I'm reminded of the pain that it means for so many others at the same time. On a day like today, celebrate; celebrate the lives that make you so overwhelmingly tired and so immensely THANKFUL. And pray; pray for friends who might not be celebrating today, because I know that prayer makes a difference. 

Don't stop there, encourage your friend(s) by letting them know that you are thinking of them...it might mean the world to them. Send them a note simply saying, "I'm thinking about you today." But please, please don't single them out or remind them of what's missing by asking all of the moms to stand. 

15 comments:

  1. Amen! Three years ago we had our adoption court hearing inRussia the day AFTER Mother's Day...... And refused to enjoy that day, as a judge still held power over whether or not we'd be parents. This Mother's Day I have two friends in that boat anxiously awaiting adoptions and a Nancie that might as well be my nephews' mom and was an amazing "mom" to my kids while we adjusted to our fourth child. Being a mother isn't biology or a legal document......it's standing in the middle and being the love and support to a child who needs to feel safe and loved. I've been blessed with several moms in my life and celebrate them today.

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  2. We were asked to stand this morning and not standing didn't seem right since my children were there expecting me to. I feel awful to have caused someone else pain... especially when I know how it feels.

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    1. Melissa, I think it is wonderful that you stood with your children next to you. Motherhood should be celebrated and I know that you are so aware that it is bittersweet when you have gone through great pain to get to that point. Hugs to you!

      ~Sarah

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  3. Wheeewwww that was me until 2008 with my 1st Mother's Day after my son was born... I used to struggle with depression every year when Mother's Day rolled around. I had miscarriages and stillborn. My ex husband (he cheated) had one child when we first got married. Another conceived 3 weeks before we got married. And then 3 more from the time e separated until he got married again - 4 weeks after our divorce was finalized. So I dealt with also knowing I was the fertility problem. Then failed adoption Oct 2004. Then March 2007 one of the teenage girls who was best friends with my Pastors daughter came up pregnant. Dec 2007 my beautiful son was born and May 2008 his adoption was finalized (I was 37 at time). That's when I realized everything is always in God's timing.. He is 5 now and made me "Mommy's Day Breakfast" and sang "Happy Mother's Day" He is my gift from God!

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  4. Hi,

    Coming from much loss and infertility myself, I do share the pain of the day. But I do disagree about not standing. If you think motherhood is indeed the greatest job in the world, then mothers need to stand, be thanked for the service (as military, for example), be prayed for, uplifted, strengthened, by members of the body and by their children. And then members of the body can come around those who mourn and envelope them as well. Joy and sorrow intertwined... I hurt on that day for years but I also truly wanted to let them celebrate, not just privately in their homes, but for a moment, publicly. But this isn't a debate. I'm just sharing a difference of opinion. Thanks for sharing your heart on the matter and for thinking of others that are truly hurting.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly that mothers should be celebrated, thanked and prayed for. This is such a tender topic and my hope is to shed light on what some women feel when Mothers are asked to stand. As one who experienced miscarriages, I always felt terrible for sitting and yet didn't want to draw attention to myself by standing. I so appreciated those who gave me a hug on that day even if I didn't have any children by my side. I think remembering to celebrate with moms and also surrounding moms who mourn is so important. Thank you again for sharing!

      ~Sarah

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  5. As a woman who has tried for close to eight years, been through endless and all kinds of fertility treatments, and at the same time lived through round after round of friends, and even family having baby after baby, the absolute hardest part had nothing to do with what was going on around me (not that the other wasn't hard!!). But as God walked me through the process of "joying" with others in their joy, and even celebrating with them, what He was most focused on was the state of my heart. For many of those rounds I made baby blankets for every mother around me that was having a baby. Initially, each blanket was like a slap in the face, yet somehow I knew it was essential. Slowly, through this and other processes, God taught me to truely rejoice through my pain, not despite. Now He is working on my faith; to trust that He is greater and more powerful than my understanding. I would love this process to be over; for my dreams to come true. But somehow, this pain is working such a work in my heart that I hurt over and thank God for at the same time. No matter what holiday we encounter, there will be those who see it as a reminder of grief and loss. But to never celebrate because of what others may be feeling would be a great loss, not only to those who would love it, but also to those of us who greive through it. I have several of these holidays. But, God's work in us is the point of this life. If we can not rejoice with those who (rightly or wrongly in our minds :) rejoice, and also grieve with those who grieve then our process is not complete. But on the point of standing, I think all should stand. Though you may not have your little (or older) ones at your side, you are still a mom. And some day you will hold the hands of those who have gone before and weep with joy and dance and then we will all understand this painfull process better on the other side.

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    1. Mina,

      I think what you wrote was beautiful and what a special gift of love to be able to make baby blankets for others and rejoice with them. I remember not being able to attend baby showers for the longest time but then God too began working on my heart. He showed me that EVERY baby was a gift from God and that made me want to wholeheartedly rejoice with others who were celebrating this great gift!

      ~Sarah

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  6. Thank you, Sarah, for this thoughtful post. I admit that I have always been uncomfortable with standing up on Mother’s Day—perhaps because of my particular journey.
    We had been trying to conceive for three years only to lose that baby. Then we lost three more children after that. One day, I shared my heartache with an older woman, and she said something to me that changed my life. She said, “Having children isn’t everything.” Now, her words may seem harsh—and I admit that they stung and I had trouble understanding what she was talking about—but they were the beginning of a journey to freedom for me. Through those words, the Lord began to reorient me to what he thought about me—his definition of my identity and calling. I slowly came to the realization that just because I had a womb and ovaries, I was not defined by child bearing (even when others tried to define me that way). Little by little, God brought me to a place of contentment. If I never had children, life was no less meaningful, and I could find joy and fulfillment—I had not failed. I eventually came to a place where I could find peace in the Lord, whether I ever had children or not. There were still times that I felt shamed by those who asked things like, “Where’s yours?” when I was with my friends who had children; or angered when I was told “You just need to pray more fervently,” or “is there some sin in your life?” (It’s kind of shocking what some people—even complete strangers—will say).
    I think that I am uncomfortable standing on Mother’s Day because I think we may be doing women a disservice when we glorify motherhood too much. The child bearing years are just a portion of a woman’s lifetime (albeit a very intense, all-consuming portion), and women are so much more than their wombs.
    By saying this I don’t mean to minimize the pain that any woman experiences—I know firsthand how painful childlessness can be. But sometimes it seems that the church places so much emphasis on motherhood being a woman’s greatest calling (I personally disagree with that) that we create an environment that only celebrates that one aspect of being a woman, and many women pass through life without validation for the large variety of other things that God has called them to do. And this often makes the grief of childlessness worse. If I have learned anything, it is that in God’s eyes, being a biological mother is just one POSSIBLE facet of who a woman can be (Luke 11:27-28).
    --liz

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    1. Liz,

      I read every word hanging on to what you said and was in tears. This is beautiful! Thank you.

      ~Sarah

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    2. Liz, wow.... what a wonderful, thoughtful response! Thank you for sharing.

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  7. Perhaps including moms who never met their little ones or who no longer have them here, having them stand as well, to acknowledge and celebrate them along with the rest?

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