5 ways to survive Mother’s Day when you want to be a Mom but aren’t.

Mother’s Day is a sweet day of honoring our Moms and our children. Flowers, dressing up, pictures, cards that share our heart’s message and on and on the celebrating goes.

But there are women most likely in your midst who are having a hard time celebrating because of an ache inside. A deep ache that can’t always be explained. She might be the woman who is barren and longs to have a child. She is the woman who has lost her Mother. She could be the woman who never knew her Mother or was abandoned by her. I know women in all categories. I was that woman in one of the categories for years. And she’s the one I want to address today on this blog. The woman who longs to have a child but can’t or hasn’t.

So to the woman who understands this ache within her soul,  I want to give you five things to hold on to this Mother’s Day season.

  1. Remind yourself that God knows and sees your situation. He is sovereign and in complete control of your/your husband’s body and it’s ability to reproduce. He can change your situation with his voice. He is this powerful. And because our Creator God is a good and loving God you can trust that his ability to do all things or reverse anything is good news. Trust him with your infertility. Don’t refuse to be comforted by God.
  2. Don’t stop praying for your baby to come unless God leads you to stop. Pray specifically. Write your prayers down and date them because I promise you God is at work in ways you can’t see or fathom. As you look back on your prayers you will be able to trace the fingerprints of God during this incredibly slow, painful wait. I say don’t stop praying for your baby because, for us, we had prayed for God to change the desires of our heart if he didn’t want us to have children. We earnestly prayed and felt a confidence and a peace from God that he wanted us to have a family so we continued in praying for a baby. But God does shut this door for some in various ways. But until he clearly shuts that door I would say pray and don’t stop.
  3.  Ask people to pray for you.  It’s not always easy to share our personal stuff with people and especially when it relates to infertility. I totally get this! Like who wants to add their ovaries to the church prayer list. And who wants to raise their hand at church and say, “Ya’ll pray real good for us because my man’s gotta give a sperm sample tomorrow.” Sheesh that’s just creepy uncomfortable to type let alone say out loud. If you’re going through IF you understand this is base line IF lingo. Even though it might be slightly uncomfortable I’d encourage you to ask God to give you a small circle of trusted friends and family who will commit to praying for you specifically. A prayer “task force” if you will. I still have a prayer team that I call on periodically during the year. And guess what? Many of them were a part of this prayer team when we went through infertility. Prayer is your lifeline. It’s worth talking about the uncomfortable for the peace that comes with entrusting our womb to God. And may I say that if you are reading this and you want me to pray for you I would love to. I have a heart for praying for women struggling in this area and I’d be honored to pray on your behalf. Email me and tell me how I can pray for you.
  4. Ask God to help you know and rejoice in the fact that He alone is enough. This is one of the main lessons I learned through infertility. God alone is my salvation and if he never provided children I would still have the greatest gift I could ever have and that’s my relationship with Jesus. It didn’t make the pain or the desire for children go away but it gave me a comfort and a security in what I already was given.
  5. Ask God to help you see what nugget of truth he has for you through infertility. Because he has something. Sometimes it takes hindsight to see that nugget of truth but the power of God’s word along with his Spirit many times reveals powerful truths to us in the moment of reading scripture and praying. I encourage you to ask God to show you unique treasures in his word during your baby wait. They will be life lessons that will carry you all through life. Psalms is a great place to read. Psalm 77. Psalm 63 and the book of Job are great sets of scripture.

Friends, I am here to tell you that you can survive Mother’s Day this year even though you’re walking through infertility. If you are overcome with emotion on Sunday morning and can’t sit through another Mother’s Day sermon then sit it out and don’t be hard on yourself. But don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity either. Be honest with friends and let them pray for you. And can I tell you that there is another chapter to this story being written. You can’t see it. I know it feels like a blank page that won’t ever turn. I don’t know you but I know my God and He will not leave you hanging. It might feel like things will never change right now but the fact is God is working out a plan and already knows the ending. For us his plan included bringing two amazing children to us through adoption. We had no idea all that was unfolding during the days that felt silent and still. It was nothing short of a miracle. Be encouraged. Our God is working in the silence.

I am praying for you friends.

 

4 things to the Woman still waiting to be a Mom:

To the desiring woman still waiting to be Mom,

It’s hard, isn’t it? Still waiting. Hoping that this would be the Mother’s Day you celebrate as a Mother with a child in her arms. While you’re still hanging on to hope and know God has a plan there’s still a deep ache inside your heart. And you wonder if you can make it to Sunday morning service where all the Mother’s are recognized. The oldest, the youngest – if it’s like our church there will even be some sassy and fun categories that you can’t help but laugh at. The prizes of course are fun to win and you’re happy for your friends. But you still wish it could be you this year.

I have some words for you based on real life personal experience.

God has not forgotten you. He is working out a plan for you that is far better than you can possibly know. It doesn’t feel like it but it’s true. One day you’ll be encouraging others with the same words as you look back and see all that God was doing while you were waiting.

A few things to consider during your wait:

It’s okay if you cry. I didn’t do this well. I hid my tears many times and felt like if I cried that I was in essence saying God wasn’t enough for me. And that is so far from the truth. One year on Mother’s Day – soon after a failed IVF cycle –  we celebrated Mother’s Day at my Mom and Dad’s house with all our family. As soon as we got to their subdivision the tears starting welling up. I held them in all morning at church. But as soon as we pulled in they gushed. I asked Randy to back out of the driveway and do circles until I could pull myself together. And of course the guys don’t know what to do with us when we cry and it’s just all around awkward. But looking back I wish I had been more willing to cry openly.

 Don’t beat yourself up if you simply can’t make it to church on Mother’s Day. I know this goes against the grain of so many in my former circles of friends. You just don’t miss church – like ever. I never missed a Mother’s Day due to these reasons (probably more out of pride than anything) but going back I’d give myself more grace. One young woman struggling with infertility called me up one year and explained her struggle and how she didn’t think she could sit through a service that coming Mother’s Day Sunday but she was feeling very guilty about it. I told her to stay home and don’t feel bad. You’re not a wimp if you need to sit Mother’s Day Sunday out because the pain is so great. Not everyone needs to do this but if you do – don’t feel bad!

 Keep a journal. If you’re waiting on a baby through pregnancy or adoption start your journal right now. Include specific prayers and ask God to show you Bible verses for your child. Record these things because when you look back a few years down the road you will be amazed at all the things God was doing behind the scenes – on the Mother’s Day when you sat holding back the tears; on the days you looked at yet another negative pregnancy test. God was working through all of that to accomplish something greater. You may not see all of it but you I promise that you will clearly see traces of it if you start recording and then look back.

Don’t totally roll your eyes when someone says, “But you can still be a Spiritual Mother.” (Spiritual Mothering could be defined as bringing one under your arm through discipleship.) A little eye roll, yes. Because I get it – and you get it – Spiritual Mothering is great and all that but you still really want to be a physical Mother with baby hanging on hipster hip. But don’t let this baby wait distract you from why you’re here on this earth. It’s to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. So keep praying and asking for God to work his way in what Motherhood looks like for you but don’t dismiss Spiritual Mothering – bringing others under your arm of discipleship – it’s not second class Mothering.

Lord, for my friends still waiting – let them know you aren’t waiting. You are actually working a plan you have for them. Help them to trust you in this process. To cry when they need to cry. To cling to scripture and record their heart’s cry so they can one day look back. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Infertility: The heart of the issue

Infertility has the potential of changing someone forever. It is an extremely difficult road that is hard for anyone to fully fathom unless they themselves have walked it.

Pain… Confusion… Sorrow… Grief… Prayer… Hope… Expectation… Strength… Longing… Guilt… Weakness…. were all parts of the infertility journey for me.

The pain was both physical and emotional. The physical impacts the emotional and then you’ve got yourself a real crabby patty! Add certain meds on top of that and you have yourself a real ….well, you know what I’m trying to say.

Confusion popped up a lot on my IF journey because while I knew I wasn’t a perfect person (see above if you have forgotten what I put my husband through) I loved God a lot and I was even serving Him full time. And I knew He had the power to make every ounce of endometriosis leave my body, yet He was choosing not to. That was puzzling to me. And I asked God about it regularly.

With each failed IVF attempt there was much grief and sorrow. Grieving the child we were longing for. Grieving the fact that my husband is the last of his blood line in his immediate family. That will make a woman feel guilty right there. Grieving the fact that we might not have children that had our genes and that looked like us. Yes, there was much grief and sorrow down that road.

There were times that I felt extremely weak. Those were the times I was planning, hosting and attending baby showers. Weakness came when people made well meaning but insensitive comments. Thankfully we didn’t deal with that very much.

One day I would be “strong girl” and I would feel excited…almost giddy about our dr’s appt. at the infertility clinic. We would be cracking jokes and so excited to be there because we were hopeful of the results.

Then there would be the next visit, the follow up after the failed IVF, I would be all “weepy girl”. It’s just hard to sit there looking at the big mamma with quads in her belly, signing in. I was wishing I was half that girl.

Prayer was an incredibly huge part of our journey. We had a short half sheet of paper printed up that was titled “Baby Situation”. It had bullet points with about seven prayer requests. We put that in the hands of our friends and family that we knew would be praying for us. And we prayed regularly asking God to allow His perfect plan to take place in our lives and through our baby situation. Because we certainly had a “little situation” going on.

One specific request I kept asking God for personally was to allow me to have joy for those women around me that were pregnant. I didn’t want to just endure and barely make it through the road of infertility. I wanted to have joy and peace while walking through it. And I really was happy for my family and friends that were getting pregnant but it was still a hard thing for me. I longed for it not to turn into bitterness.

I can say that the constant foundation for me and my husband, during infertility, was our relationship with Jesus Christ. It was what allowed us to endure such heartache without being eaten up with despair.

Oh we have scars from it. At the time we wished it was different and asked for it to be different. But knowing that God is good and knowing that He had a plan for us and our family allowed a great expectation that gave us hope in the midst of our pain. And at the end of the day we really wouldn’t trade the plan God chose for us for anything different.

I remember pouring my heart out to God in such great confusion one particular night. My head felt like it was about to bust. I couldn’t figure out why God wasn’t giving us children. I wanted what He wanted for us….but I also wanted children. I remember telling my husband, “I just don’t know how to pray anymore. I don’t know how to stop wanting children.”

He said, “Melody,lets start praying that God will change the desires of our heart if He doesn’t want us to have children.” So that was my new prayer.

I really got into this and started trying to figure out how God might do this if He were to do it. Would He cause a baby in the church nursery to puke all over me or poop on me and then “poof” the desire for children would just disappear? Or would he do a number on me in my sleep and I would just wake up one morning and be like “I hate kids. Don’t ever want ‘em.”

But our desire for children never went away and because we had prayed for God to change our hearts and we were open to being changed by Him, it helped make adoption a no brainer for us.

So yeah, infertility sucked. But even in the pain of infertility there was a strength that didn’t come from us but that was infused in us at just the right times. We are actually better because of it. And we both can say we wouldn’t do anything different.

An Oath to fellow infertile sisters

 

I, Melody, an IF survivor, hereby solemnly swear the following:

I will not ask you, “Don’t you guys want kids?”

I promise not to offer TTC advice as if you’ve never thought about these things before…..I will refrain hard from telling you to “do it” on an elevated board.

I will not tell you to flippin’ relax!

I will not talk about my kids the entire Girl’s Night Out.

I will understand if you’re ever-so-crabby while on IF drugs

I won’t lecture you about being on birth control the first few years of marriage.

I will offer you the bulk pack of tissues on Mother’s Day.

I will pray for you.

I will tell you that I understand what you’re going through because I’ve walked the IF road.

I will tell you that only God can get you through the path of IF with joy and peace and your true self still in tack.

I will remind you that you WILL get through this.

And finally, I swear I’ll be one of the happiest people on this earth for you when your baby is in your arms!