May 12, 2018

When Mother's Day Isn't Happy

"Happy Mother's Day. Happy, happy, happiest of days, happy Mother's Day."

That's what they're all saying this weekend, the TV, radio, Hallmark commercials: Happy Mother's Day. Mother's Day is presented as the climactic holiday for all things maternal, the icing on the cake of motherhood.

And for many people, perhaps this is true.

It's Mom's day to have breakfast in bed,
a handmade card,
perhaps a macaroni necklace,
and one day's free pass from changing diapers.

But Mother's Day isn't joyful for everyone.
In fact, I dare say Mother's Day carries heartache for many more people than we often acknowledge.
Mother's Day is joyful for some, but it's painful for many, many others.

Perhaps you are one of the many, many others.

Maybe you are a mother,
you have children to celebrate you and whom you celebrate on this day.
But maybe you're not enjoying this particular season of motherhood; maybe you're just crazy exhausted because this is so much harder than you thought it would be.
Maybe you went to church this morning only because they offer free childcare.

Perhaps Mother's Day is difficult for you because you are not a mother, and you desperately wish to be. I imagine perhaps you are sick and tired of listening to mothers talk about how weary and tired they are from the tasks of parenting, because you would give everything to have that reason for fatigue.

Maybe you have a history of infertility,
wanting children,
unable to have them.
Perhaps you know too well the aches of miscarriage, stillbirth,
the loss of a child.

Perhaps you have a wayward son or daughter,
and your heart aches for reconciliation.

Perhaps Mother's Day is difficult for you because of your relationship with your mother.
Maybe you recently lost your mom,
or perhaps you lost her many years ago but it's especially difficult this year.

Maybe the relationship is broken.
Perhaps you lost her before you could right some wrongs,
apologize for some harsh words.
Or perhaps the opposite is true -
perhaps she died before she made things right with you.

Maybe Mother's Day brings heartache to you because of the issues related to adoption.
Maybe you gave birth to a child who is growing up in someone else's arms and home.
Or maybe you were adopted as a child, and you have many questions on Mother's Day, including who your biological mother is.

My heart aches with you today. Mother's Day hasn't always been exactly what I thought it would be, either.

God, you are near to the brokenhearted, you hold those who are crushed in spirit.
Man of Sorrows, you know this day inside and out.

Breath of heaven, hold us together.
Mend our hearts.
Meet us in our sadness.

2 comments on “When Mother's Day Isn't Happy”

  1. Thanks for writing about a much neglected topic. I have grandchildren now, but I remember when my husband and I chose not to attend church on Mother's Day because it was too hard. Thanks for addressing this need for many future moms or mom's with difficult circumstances.

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