The Struggle of Mother's Day

With this new direction I’m taking for my project over Infertility, I thought I’d talk a little bit about the struggle of Mother’s Day. While it’s not what you probably imagined being on a photography blog, it does process through some of the feelings associated with infertility and the struggles women can feel on this day, which does relate to my project quite a bit.

Not the best picture, but the place where Rose is buried.

Not the best picture, but the place where Rose is buried.

For a while I dreaded going to church or really anywhere on Mother’s Day. As terrible as it sounds, it was something I avoided, if I could, especially after my first pregnancy. Mother’s day, while needing to be celebrated because moms are great and do so much, can be a painful day for many women who long for or have lost children. While our daughter was lost when she was still growing at 14 weeks, it still hurt. For many years, this day represented to me the day of “what could have been”. It felt awkward saying I was a mom, even though I did hold her in my hand and we buried her. So, I remained silent those years that were hard and told myself that I would hopefully celebrate in the future.

I think many women struggle on this day. It is hard to go to certain places, where you watch women who have what you want be rightfully honored, while you sit there with what feels like nothing. As silly as it sounds, it feels isolating and furthers the idea that something is wrong with you.

I remember one time in particular that I’ll cherish forever in 2014. I went to church on Mother’s Day that week and I steeled myself for what was going to happen. They would ask all the mother’s to stand and would hand out roses. I sat quietly, tried to rejoice with all of these women, and tried to enjoy the rest of the service. This was at a time when I was really struggling and questioning God about this topic, so this was a big feat for me to simply be there. At the end of the service, one of my friend’s daughters walked up to me, handing me a few roses. She smiled and walked away—I stood dumbfounded. Why did she come and hand me roses? I wasn’t a mom (or at least, I didn’t consider myself one). It meant so much to me and I felt that God could see my pain and heart in this situation. I wasn’t forgotten like I felt I was. This began some of the healing that started during this time. I don’t think this girl will ever realize the impact she had on me that day.

So women who are struggling—I see you and I feel your pain. I know the day has already passed for this year, but the struggle is real, especially if you so deeply desire children or have lost one (or more). God sees you and knows your heart. I pray that you’d be encouraged and filled with contentment and hope, rather than despair and sadness.

And women who haven’t struggled in this area, reach out to a friend who is struggling. Do something special for them or simply say that you’re thinking about them. These small gestures mean the world to those who are hurting.

-Ashley