Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. As I ran quickly through the grocery story yesterday, there were displays of Mother’s Day cards on almost every aisle. I tried to pick three, but the options overwhelmed me. I’m stressing about purchasing the gifts for the three mothers in my life, and making sure the gifts arrive on time; three wildly different but equally sacrificial women who are very important to me.
But every year, I think about her. Her, with the empty arms.
The woman who longs to hold and grow life within her. But every month is heartache as another pregnancy test comes back negative. She cries when no one watches. She hears the comments: “Are you ever going to have children?” She sees the mothers with children. The mothers who seem to have no trouble getting pregnant. How easy life comes to some! And, oh, how she wishes it were so easy for her. She wonders what’s wrong with her body. That beautiful body that our Lord fashioned for her. Why, her heart cries, can’t my body do what should come so naturally. Months turn to years, and still her arms ache with emptiness. Mother’s Day is so hard for her.
I see you.
To the woman who’s body held that life, those lives, for such a short time. As the nerves were finally relaxing and peace was returning, the unthinkable happened. “I’m sorry. There’s no heartbeat.” Again. Once more, she grieves a loss. She’s carried souls, but has no faces to show for it. She’s been waiting for years for that positive, and so quickly the end begins. She made it all the way to the end, but then the baby went to live with God. Sweet saints that rejoice with the angels while their sweet mama’s heart breaks at each reminder. Sometimes, she has a stone to visit; sometimes she has no tangible reminder at all. And every year, she walks past the card aisle. I am a mother, but no one can see.
I see you.
To the brave, selfless mothers who found themselves in the scariest moment of their lives. Young, unprepared. Not ready! But the test is positive. And life goes on. And so, after nourishing and growing that sweet child for nine months and then groaning through labor, you hand over your tiny baby to a mother who can provide for that child. You give the greatest joy to another woman; you place your child in her arms. Forever. And you go home and heal from labor and a rush of hormones with empty arms. And each Mother’s Day, your heart aches to know how happy that child is. You long for people to see you, too, are a mother.
I see you.
As this Mother’s Day approaches, my heart aches for the women who long to grow life within their bodies, but yet cannot. You are not a failure. You are beautiful. To the women who have so briefly carried life, only to lose it too soon, you are a mother! Your saints shower you with prayers daily. To the mother who made the bravest and most sacrificial decision–you are my hero. You gave the gift of life and parenthood to another mother. That child, whether you see them occasionally or not, has two incredible mothers. And how lucky he or she is.
To these women,
I know this day is so incredibly hard for you. I know your hearts ache for different but equally valid reasons. Despite different circumstances, your arms are empty and your hearts ache. You feel excluded. Left out of something you so desperately desire.
I see you.
And as Mother’s Day approaches, I pray for you daily. As I passed the cards yesterday, my heart yawned with an ache for each of you. I know it seems as though not a soul notices your pain. But I do. I see you. And I’m praying so hard for you. For the friends I know and the people I’ve never met that struggle with infertility–I pray daily that the Lord blesses you with life someday and comforts you during this time when He inexplicably says Not yet. To the mother who has lost her babies, oh how well I know that pain. I pray that our Lord blesses you with life meant to stay here and comforts the raw holes left by your saintly babies. To the mother who made a selfless decision with her own babe–thank you. Thank you for blessing another mother with life. Thank you for inspiring me to always be as selfless in my motherhood as you are. I pray that the pain of loss eases for you.
I pray that Mother’s Day passes as painlessly and quickly as possible. And if you feel the ache and pain on that day, know that someone out there is praying so very hard for you.
Because I see you.