Sunday marks Mother’s Day, a wonderfully odd holiday. It’s nice to set aside one day to lift up the women in our lives who lift us up all year long. However, it can be a day in which many slide into a pew, gather at a family dinner, toast other moms, and hold back tears.

Mother’s Day comes around once a year, but it can leave a sting which lasts much longer. The weeks and months leading up to it can be excruciating. For many, it’s far from a day of celebration. Instead, it’s a day that commemorates great sorrow:

  • The childless woman who desperately wants a baby.
  • The woman who will spend her first Mother’s Day without Mom.
  • The mom who battles a disease she’s not sure she will win.
  • The single gal who wants a husband, kids, and white picket fence, yet finds her calendar empty.
  • The woman whose children are out of the house and out of state.
  • The couple who stutters when asked, “When will you two have a baby?” because the real answer is “We’re not sure our marriage will make it.”

Mother’s Day brings with it great joy, but it can also bring a fair amount of heartache and stress. Here’s how to acknowledge that, and love others through their hurt:

  • Be aware. People fight private battles we know little or nothing about. Mother’s Day, along with holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas, sometimes serve as painful reminders of what they lack. We shouldn’t walk on eggshells around them, but it’s crucial to keep this understanding front and center. 
  • Be honest. Truth telling is tough, especially when emotions are supercharged. When my husband and I faced infertility, I was so reluctant to tell even my closest friends. I harbored a lot of anger, pride, confusion, resentment and shame. Then I blamed them for not being a mind-reader. When I finally told them “I want a baby and it’s not happening for us. I’m so mad!” it freed me. Choose two trusted people as your safe space, then share with them the good, the bad, and the ugly. 
  • Be gracious. Before we adopted our son, it was easy to view others who had kids or were pregnant as the enemy. However, it’s not as if these ladies birthed babies just to spite me. Through God’s help, I was able to frame the situation differently. I started seeing them as friends who just happened to have kids. The grace they showed me helped me give it in return. Now when I see young mamas struggling, or hear a friend talk about her difficulty getting pregnant, I whip out a generous portion of grace for them.

Galatians 6:2 reminds us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Lean on each other. Celebrate each other’s milestones and good news. Offer a shoulder. Don’t be afraid to let others know you’re having a hard time.

You’ve got people in your life who love you. Let them love you.

 

 

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