Every Mother’s Day I think about writing about not being a Mother, but then I think, ah it’s been said. Yet deep down, the words start forming, and here you have it. There’s a knock on my soul and I have to write the words and you, my fine friends, are the recipient. I write because I know there’s other women out there that as Mother’s Day approaches feel that longing that was never fulfilled.
I spend a lot of time with women in their 20s and I hear their dreams. I don’t even know if I would call it expectations because for them it’s just fact. They worry about whether they will get married. Find the right guy. But having children that that will be a major part of their life, their identity and eventually their legacy – it’s just fact.
I dated my first boyfriend when I was 16. I spent five years with him, high school and college, and knew that we would get married, have careers, have children – it was fact. Why wouldn’t we? Funny to look back now. He dumped me for someone else and went on to get married, have a career and have children. I stayed single, married to my career, as you’d say.
At 34, I “finally” married, which was a good thing because my relatives in Missouri were beginning to wonder what was wrong with me. At 34, I decided to get married, the next guy in the door asked and I jump. I jumped against my mothers quiet but well-delivered warnings. Yes, he was an alcoholic, but I figured I could “fix” that. Uh…hmm, not so much. But I figured it was the beginning – marriage, children, happiness. It didn’t happen.
The marriage fizzled in a world of alcohol and infidelity. Children didn’t happen – lost somewhere between his sperm swimming uphill in a sea of scotch and my eggs locked tight in the scarring of endometriosis.
You would think that by now the emptiness would be long gone. But it never totally fades. It’s a part of life never to be experienced. For me, it was infertility, or circumstance, or somehow preordained. I know many women who have had miscarriages, sometimes multiple. I know it’s a very different loss. Is miscarriage a bigger loss than infertility? Does one make you feel less than the other? Or is it all just extreme gut-wrenching emptiness? Emptiness.
I have now reached a new season in life. The feeling of being childless – less are far behind me. But in this new season, my friends and family are now becoming grandmothers and the volume is once again cranked up on missed motherhood. As the comments of, ‘oh, you wouldn’t know’ are casually dropped, the sting runs as deep as it ever did.
My peace and rest come in the knowledge that God has placed me exactly where he wants me. Although I believe infertility, just like so many other conditions, is part of the fallen world – not “God-ordained,” but God can and does use all things for good. Not having children to invest in has allowed me the opportunity in life to single-focus invest in people God has placed in my life. This has been a good thing and a huge blessing in my life. So, no regrets.
FYI, no regrets does not equal no emptiness.
So, once again on this Mother’s Day, I wish all the amazing mothers I know a very special day. To those amazing moms and their sleepless nights, hospital stays, and ER runs. To soccer games, piano recitals and dance classes. To snuggles, art projects, and homework. To a sacrificial love known only by mother – an agape love.
To Shelley – the most amazing mom I know with her all-in motherhood. For the relationship with her daughters that shines so bright. Oh, the places they will go.
To Annie – the fierce mama, lioness, forever fighting for her son’s life and her daughter’s well-being as she grows into an amazing young woman.
To Chelsea – as she begins her journey with 2-month-old Sawyer. I am so proud to be his great-aunt and to invest wherever I can.
To Amy – my shiny penny, from a bright young girl to mother of Zoey, your passion, your growth, your fierceness. I love watching you being unstoppable in this world. Let no one get in your way.
To Michele – who’s life has become hospital stays, bedside vigils, scans and prayers as she wrestles with God for a miracle. My heart breaks for you.
To Kate – my mother used to say, “You know you are doing it right when they are shooting at you.”
To Monica – You’ve done it well, my friend. Keith and Kylee are remarkable young humans.
… and to so many more – you rock, that simple, you rock! That’s me you hear screaming and cheering you on from the sidelines.
And, to all the mothers in my life who know the anguish of lost motherhood. That have carried a child for a week, a month or into life, only to… lose that child. I firmly believe there is no greater heartbreak in this life than the loss of a child; whether the loss came before your child took their first breath, or as you stood helplessly by as your child took their last breath.
To all the mothers who never carried, raised or brought a child into this world, who knows what it is to try, and try again, yet experience the “not meant to be” heartbreak.
To the women who hear the words Happy Mother’s Day and feel the stab of pain deep in their soul, that lessens over the years, but never completely goes away. But at the same time have been there to love and support other mothers as they raise their children. To stand in the gap in prayer and in place when called upon. To be the designated mother to many, if and when, God sees fit.
To all women who have the eternal flame of nurturing, this is a day about who you are. To your very core, as God uniquely designed you. He designed you to care for, encourage and guide others to adultness, to wholeness, and to Godliness. To all mothers, in actuality or in deed, shine bright and celebrate who you are.
And, to my mother … your light stills shines bright, never extinguished and never forgotten.
So, there you have it, another Mother’s Day blog! The view from the bleachers is not so bad.