Tomorrow, we celebrate the mother’s. Is there any other holiday as layered and complex as Mother’s Day? Motherhood, parenthood, at its essence is an incredibly profound and beautiful thing. And I am utterly on board with any day (every day) that celebrates a persons decision to love someone more than they love themselves and sacrifice for that love for the rest of their lives. I am a big fan of the flower bouquets, the corsages at church, the sappy cards, the gifts, I love it all. But I have never experienced a Mother’s Day like this in all of my 32 years and I’m feeling the need to talk about it.
I don’t know if I am a mother or not. What a strange thing to say!! I am 10 days out from an intrauterine insemination procedure, our first infertility treatment attempt to have a child. In 4 more days, I can have a blood test to either confirm life growing in my belly or start this process over again on cycle day 1. The process just leading up to getting pregnant has been so arduous, it’s sometimes overwhelming to think that we still have an entire pregnancy to go. We are not the people who have struggled for years to conceive. We are the people who tried for nine months, thought there might be a problem and went to the reproductive endocrinologists. We are the people who will get to have a baby because of love and science (I hope). I am the woman who has had countless blood tests, ultrasounds, shots, and tests in the struggle to become a mother. My husband is one of the men who gets his name called in the waiting room and sheepishly goes back to leave a sample. He is also the one who gets to deal with a wife who has been on oral medication, injections and vaginal suppositories of hormones for a month. The woman who cries at commercials, sinus infections, dinners, baby sightings, baby announcements, cancer stories, unfolded laundry, ruined recipes, hot flashes, low energy, sleep disturbances, loneliness, fear, and hope. All chemically surged by Letrazole, Ovidril, and Progesterone. Really, he’s the one I should be celebrating!
I feel pregnant. Whatever that feels like. I have the symptoms of pregnancy. I am hot and sweaty, ALL THE TIME. I have some cramping and nausea. I could weep at a seconds notice. I am teetering on the edge of big emotions like my two-year-old nephew who was just told he can’t eat all the lollipops he wants. My emotions range somewhere between that two-year-old nephew and my hormonally charged 11 year-old-niece. Emotional instability is rough! My appetite is weird. I am starving at times and then nothing sounds good. My hair texture is changing. My pores are different (read: clogged). I am tender, sore, and tired. All of which could be pregnancy, all of which could just be hormones I have to take in hopes for pregnancy. And we are 4 days out from knowing which is an incredible gift and an incredible burden at the same time.
I find myself here, on Mother’s Day Eve, surprised by the huge desire to celebrate the mothers in my life. Every mother out there. The thought has crossed my mind to skip this day altogether but I don’t want this difficult phase in my life to be characterized by avoidance. I want to share in friends and family’s joy at their blessings while still holding out the hope for my future ones. And current ones. Just because we don’t have children in no way means that we are not blessed!
So here’s to the mothers out there. The mothers of littles. Kids ten and under who are growing and changing and developing right before your eyes. The mothers with kids so close in age yet schedules that are so different. Kids with such differing personalities, taste buds, sleeping habits, moods, likes and dislikes, and temperament. May God strengthen you as you learn your kids and allow them to be all that God made them to be. May God give you sweet rest times of peace. May He lead you beside still waters in the midst of a three-nager meltdown. May He help them nap, for Pete’s sake! May He swell your heart with love for these kids in your image and His. May He give you endurance for the tasks ahead and hope for the future. May you raise kids that change the world with love, gentleness, and Jesus.
Here’s to the mothers who just had a baby and feel no joy. Who feel nothing. Who feel everything. Who are sleep-deprived, nipple-chapped, and thirsty! Who’s hormones are still adjusting and changing. Women who feel the awesome responsibility of nurturing a life and keeping another living, breathing thing alive. May you find support when you most need it. May God strengthen you and supply all of your needs. May you realize that you are doing the best you can and have grace for yourself. I pray that God blesses you with perspective, peace, and medication if necessary! There is no shame. No shame. May you find acceptance in yourself, in your Maker, and in your community. You are a good mom and you are doing better than you think!!
To the mom’s of teenagers. Ones who might have said just this week that they hate you. Who make dumb decisions with under-developed brains and never think about the consequences. Teens who look at you with disgust and anger. The kids who won’t buy you a Mother’s Day card because they are egocentric and don’t think about it. You still matter, Mom. Loving them through these insanely hard times is not easy. Maybe your kid is doing great, hitting their bench-marks, making good grades, drug-free but you feel disconnected. You miss the baby who looked at you like you had all the answers. The baby who cried and knew you would come to them with comfort. Your role is different now and that is to be both celebrated and mourned. You long to hold that hormonal, acne-ridden kid in your arms again and protect them but you realize that you have to let them grow too. You wish you could comfort them for all of the bullies, the violence, the bad choices. You wish that swaddling them at 13 was appropriate and comforted them as it did at 6 months. I pray that you keep fighting the good fight, moms. Your kids are still in there! They are confused, angsty, pressured, insecure, beautiful little miracles who need your love, your limits, and your consistency. I pray that you do not grow weary in your well doing. I pray that you find refuge under the wings of God. I pray that you put your spiritual armor on and kick puberty’s butt! And I pray for sweet moments where you can look at your children and realize that they have changed everything and though they may not act like it, they are still the gifts from God that you asked for.
Moms who don’t have kids in the house anymore, we see you and we celebrate you! Mom’s who have spent the last 18-20 years raising and investing all your energies into homework, meal prep, spiritual development, prayer, chores, carpool, advocacy and discipline, we salute you! You did it. And now you are faced with finding this new space for yourself, to invest in who you want to be and who God has called you to be at this time in your life. I pray that the sadness over an empty nest doesn’t diminish the joy at having done a job well. All your efforts might not be recognized or appreciated by people in your home but they are by the God who loves you. They are by the younger moms who look at you and beg for advice. May you find adventure. May you find peace. May you find calling. May you find the ability to still mother those who are no longer under your roof. And may you tell all of us how you did it!!
To the moms of moms. You see your daughters struggling as you did long ago. You see these perfect little angels that your kids have produced and you cannot believe how much your heart swells again. These little ones who invade your home and hearts and then miraculously, go home and your job for the day is done. Who don’t wake you up in the middle of the night. Kids that you don’t have to potty-train. This is the life! I pray that you are able to act as a balm for your weary children. The ever present reminder that “this too shall pass” and that everything can be a bit easier with more sleep. May we share in your wisdom. May you approach us lovingly and patiently and guide us gently in our own parenting journey’s. We need you. We need your time, your help, your baby-sitting, and the daily phone calls just to hear that we can do it. We will thank you more profusely after our kids sleep through the night, promise.
To the other woman trying to conceive, I don’t know exactly what you need. Outside of a child, of course. But I pray for you this day, all the more. I see the bruises, the tears, the struggle. I am there with you. I see you want this more than anything. I see the broken hearts. I sit in the waiting rooms with you. I cry with you when I see that Janet Jackson is somehow pregnant at 50 and we are not! I pray that you would believe with me as Mary did. That “blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her (Luke 1:45). Whatever those promises are, may we believe them. May we believe that He is in this process with us, that He still created us and we are fearfully and wonderfully made though we might feel broken.
This is for all the mothers. This is for all the daughters. Whether the struggle to buy a card is hard because you aren’t close to your mom or because there is nothing that could possibly encapsulate everything she means to you. To the women who ache for their mothers that they lost too soon. For the mother-in-laws who love a daughter as their own. For the women who never knew their mothers. Who feel lost without them. I celebrate you all today, and everyday, for being the image bearers of our God. The femininity and vulnerability of the divine. It isn’t easy and it isn’t painless. Just like motherhood. Just like Mother’s Day. But it is absolutely, regardless of circumstance, to be celebrated.