Dear Sweet Friend:
Mother’s Day is Sunday. A day where we celebrate all the wonderful Mommas in our lives. Our own Mommas, those special “bonus” Mommas, and if you’re one of the lucky ones you’ll be celebrated, too. But, then there are those Mommas who are Mommas only in their heart. This day will be a day of heartache, of longing, and broken dreams. It’s a yearly reminder that you still are only a Momma in your heart. I know you’re hurting. I know you feel the heaviness of your empty arms. I know how hard this day will be for you.
This will be my sixth Mother’s Day that I haven’t been able to hold a precious baby in my arms. The sixth Mother’s Day that a baby only lives in my heart. The sixth Mother’s Day where I am reminded of what my body will not do. Of these past Mother’s Days, this will be the hardest so far. Our failed IVF cycle was only a few weeks ago. But, I’m not the only one with longing arms and an aching heart. There are lots of others out there like me—whose hearts are full, but your arms are empty.
6.1 million women in the US will go through Mother’s Day with empty arms due to infertility. 50% of women have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth. Mother’s across the United States will outlive 228,000 of their children and young adults. Mother’s Day is not only hard for those of us with infertility—it’s hard for those whose babies and children are waiting for them in Heaven. But, it’s also difficult for the motherless child. The ones whose Mothers have gone on before they were ready to say goodbye.
For so many of us, Mother’s Day will be hard. So, I want you to know it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to feel the loss, it’s okay to feel the hurt, and it’s okay to feel the roller coaster of emotions that you’re feeling. It’s okay to put the brave smile you wear away for a moment.
The reminders of your empty arms and broken heart bombard you at every turn. You can’t escape the daily reminders when you turn on the television, when you walk through the grocery store, when you drive past the businesses with signs telling you to “not forget”, hearing the commercials on the radio, and even at Church where Mommas all across the country will be celebrated Sunday. But, dear one, you are not alone. You have not been forgotten. As this holiday comes, there is One who can give us the comfort and peace our hearts long for.
He has not forgotten those of us who are barren, whose hearts are full of love to give, but arms remain empty. The Bible tells us,
“He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!” –Psalm 113:9
For those whose babies, children, or their own Momma’s are waiting for us, we’re told
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”—Revelation 21:4
Our faith gives us hope for the future; it can lead us out of our heartache and longing. Our Father will provide the peace and comfort to make it through one of the hardest days of the year.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ”. –2 Corinthians 1:3-5
So, dear one, as Sunday approaches and the reminders begin to become more and more frequent remember you’re not alone. Even when your heart is breaking and your arms are aching from the emptiness. This burden is not yours alone to carry. The feelings you are feeling are okay. And, even though you feel that you are deep in the valley your faith will guide you to the top of the mountain.
And, for those of you reading this who are lucky enough to feel the joys of motherhood, Happy Mother’s Day! I hope your day is full of love and celebration. But, I ask you to have grace with those who find this day difficult.
P.S. If you’re a fellow infertility sister, I’d love to hear your story and add you to my prayer list. Infertility is lonely in a world full of babies so, it’s nice knowing you’re not alone.
P.P.S. If you’re in the midst of the valley or you’re waiting for your miracle, whatever it may be, I’d love to hear from you and you to my prayer list, too.