Waiting for Baby Bird, When Someone You Know Is Infertile

From the Heart of an Infertile: An Open Letter to Other Mom’s on Mother’s Day

Hey, there sweet Mama,

I know we have never met. You don’t know anything about me, and I probably know little to nothing about you. But if you are a mother, Mother’s Day is most likely a time of celebration for you. You wake up to burnt toast ready for you to eat in bed. There are flowers picked from the yard lying next to your pillow. You open the gifts handcrafted with love and read cards made by tiny hands and broken crayons. It’s a great day for you!  As it should be! You should be celebrated for all the sacrifices you make for your family. You should be recognized and applauded for your hard work because, being a mother? It’s not easy or always fun.

But in the midst of your celebration this Sunday, can you do me a favor? Can you also remember and acknowledge her? She is the one hiding in the back of the church. Last pew. Staring at her feet with tissues in her hand. She also has tears in her eyes as she passes by the flowers, the Hallmark greeting cards, and the eye-catching #1 Mom necklaces. As you see, Mother’s Day is not a time of joy but rather a day of heartache for her. It’s not a time in which she is remembered but often forgotten. And it’s also a time when she feels alone. Painstakingly different. And less of a woman. It’s not by choice that she has chosen not to be a mother; instead, it has happened by force. The disease of infertility that affects the reproductive organs and destroys 1 in 8 couples’ dreams has caused her to feel this way.

I know you may not understand her thoughts or feelings, and that’s okay. Because I know it’s hard when you haven’t walked in another person’s shoes. But to see her story and feel her pain, would you like to try? If so, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane. Is that okay? But make sure before you lace up your shoes and grab a box of tissues because it won’t be easy. So, if you are ready, let’s take a deep breath in and out…because here it goes…

First, I want you to remember your excitement when telling your husband, best friend, sister, or parents that you were expecting. You were so excited! And do you remember how pregnancy changed your body–it was just a little at first, but then as your baby grew, so did your belly. Maybe even your ankles. And despite the expanding and the stretching, you rejoiced with each picture taken to show the progression. And do you remember the emotions you felt when your miracle kicked for the first time? Or had the hiccups? You were crazily excited, am I right?

What about when your baby moved inside of you at the sound of your voice? And think back to the overwhelming joy you felt and how your heart almost burst out of your chest when you gazed into their eyes for the first time. Do you remember the tears in your eyes and how they made it difficult to frantically count their fingers and toes?

Now sweet Mama, here comes the hard part. Are you ready? I was hoping you could place your hand over your womb and try to strip yourself away from having those climactic moments that have given you life-changing memories. And instead, take a moment to imagine the pain of hearing a doctor tell you that the chances of you conceiving are less than 3 percent. Your eggs do not mature for ovulation. Your endometriosis is not fixable. Your husband has zero sperm. Or your Fallopian tubes are blocked and beyond repair. What about being told you have been born with no uterus? Or already in menopause, yet of childbearing age?

Imagine yourself in your first, second, or third trimester going in for a routine doctor’s appointment, expecting to hear the nurse tell you that a healthy baby is developing perfectly. But you only hear silence, followed by a muffled voice telling you there is no longer a heartbeat.

Imagine, instead of picking out your child’s first outfit, you choose a casket. Imagine the pain of never knowing what it will feel like to have their precious arms wrapped around your neck. Or you never get to hear their voice or look into their eyes. Better yet, your beloved child will never get to look into your eyes and see the unconditional love you have for them.

It’s hard imagining these horrific moments. And no one wants to. No one wants this type of pain for even a second. But for some women, it is their reality, and it often paralyzes them with worry as they fear never being able to experience motherhood. Their reality keeps them feeling alone and set apart, always on the outside looking in while attending baby showers and other social gatherings. Their reality makes getting out of bed and attending a church service on the second Sunday in May an unbearable, painful, and tearful struggle.

Because for this particular holiday, those who only see a negative pregnancy test, have suffered a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or experienced an unsuccessful adoption, their fears, worries, and painful emotions are magnified and intensified. Every Mother’s Day commercial they see, the greeting card they pass by, or the baby giggle they hear reminds them of what they are not but so desperately want to become. It is like pouring salt into their open wound. And on that Sunday, when they watch as each mother stands in the church to be recognized…to be applauded…shame can unexpectedly wash over them as they realize they are forced to be left sitting, unqualified for such honor.

Even for those who hope their situation could change and have faith so strong to believe it will, this day is still not easy. Because the grief from what she is not, and the pain from what she has lost, will come pouring down on her like a hurricane. And while she should be able to get up and run to the church this Sunday to heal her broken heart, much like a sick person runs to a hospital, she can’t. Because for her? The pain is far greater in the church than at home.

But even so, she still needs shelter from the storm. A place where she can find peace. And hope. A place where she doesn’t feel alone. Or scared. But most of all, she needs someone to take her there. Because do you remember in school when the storm alarm would sound, and the teacher would lead you to a place of safety? You were scared, so the teacher helped you to your knees. She showed you how to cover your head with your hands while reminding you in her sweet and gentle voice that it would be okay. Do you remember that? Because that is what she needs.

She needs someone with compassion and understanding, perhaps someone like you, to help her.

After all, her alarm will sound in the coming days, her eyes will slowly begin to open, and she will immediately be stricken with sadness, even despair, as she remembers what day it is. Mother’s Day. She will then need someone to take her to a place of safety, reminding her to get on her knees and cry out to the Lord for His comfort and peace. All while also needing someone to help cover her head for protection. But not with hands…rather with words. But not just any words. His words. Because of her heartache and pain, she will also need to hear a calm and gentle voice reminding her that according to Leviticus 26:9, He will look in her favor and increase her numbers. And she will need someone to assure her that He will fulfill the desires He has placed inside her heart (Psalm 37:4). And He will restore what she has lost. (Zechariah 9:12). 

She needs someone to remind her that the most fertile part of her body is not her womb but her heart. Because that is where her dreams and visions are born, it is where her plans are made. And desires are planted. It’s where motherhood starts. It is where it lives. And where it grows.

Although these words might not completely erase her emptiness, they will help her know she is not alone. It will help her see that she is not overlooked. And the child she might have lost has not been forgotten.

So, sweet Mama, if you know someone struggling with infertility, will you be that someone for her? Will you step out of the crowd and be the one she needs?  The one who will help shield her from the wind and the rain caused by her grief? Because the shelter she needs could be found inside your hug. Or the thoughtful card you give could be the umbrella that not only helps her weather the storm but also help her dance within it. The individual time and attention you give her on this particular day meant to celebrate you could be exactly what she needs to help her remain steadfast in her faith and be confident in His timing.

Let me ask you again, sweet Mama, will you be someone she needs this Mother’s Day? For her, I sure hope so…

With Love

I would love to connect with you personally, so if you liked this post, pass it on. Then come find Waiting for Baby Bird on the public Facebook page or join me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!

If you are looking for a faith-based infertility community of other women who “get it,” then head over to the *PRIVATE* Waiting for Baby Bird Support group for hope + encouragement. There you will find opportunities to ask for prayer, watch *LIVE* encouragement videos from me, author of “Waiting for Baby Bird,” as well as be able to share your heart with others on the same path, enter into exclusive giveaways, and so much more! So what are you waiting for? Find us here!


67 thoughts on “From the Heart of an Infertile: An Open Letter to Other Mom’s on Mother’s Day”

  1. Thank you for writing this! Beautiful words! The worst part for me is I want to celebrate my mother and make sure she feels loved but my heart is so broken. It’s a double edged sword on Mothers Day!

  2. I always love your words. I find so much comfort in what you write. I wanted to send a big ol hug for this sad time for so many. I hope you find some happiness this weekend.

  3. Just perfect…absolutely perfect! I want to shout this post to the WORLD! Thank you for always knowing what to write to everyone going through this battle. Have a beautiful day on Sunday! Love ya girl! xoxo

    1. Thanks girl! I hope you have an amazing day as well. Go relax and do something just FOR YOU! And don’t hesitate to share this with your family and friends 🙂 xo

  4. Well thanks a lot, now I’m crying.. seriously though, thank you for always being the one to express your love and care for all the mommas in waiting, mommas grieving, and mommas dreaming. You have such a gift <3

  5. Hi just wondering what happend to the article Remembering the Childless Mother on Mother’s Day. I shared it to my facebook page and now it is showing that the page is not found. It was such a greart article that many need to read.

    1. Tomorrow morning when I get to my computer I will see if something happened to the link when I was looking at it to write this post

  6. And I’m bawling! I love your words, Elisha. I love your writing, I love your beautiful Spirit and Heart and I absolutely Love that God placed you in my life! Happy Mother’s Day, Sweet Friend

  7. Thank you for your amazing words.. We are all on a very hard journey and it is nice to have people to share it with xxx Just remember all the lives you have touched with you words and celebrate that on Sunday 😘😘😘

  8. This is so beautiful. “The most fertile part of her body is not her womb, but her heart.” Thankfully when our wombs are so painfully empty, God provides life and growth in our hearts. I needed this reminder today. 💓

  9. This is real. I’ve been that woman down the back of the church for 19 years now. I’ve looked down at my feet not wanting to make eye contact or walked quickly past as the corsages are handed out to the women who bear the title “mother”. It is real. It hurts. Thank you for your words. Wish they had been written years ago to the women around me who never really knew what to say to me. Some were kind and careful and loving and I thank God for those who tried.

  10. Oh my. WOW. You express it all so perfectly. Thank you! I found your blog tonight and so glad I did. <3

    1. Hey girlie! I am so glad you found this little ol space of mine too! I really hope you take a peak around and find a fresh dose of hope. And that you always leave feeling encouraged. And understood. And loved by our Father. If you ever need anything, please feel free to email me at 10hopeingod@gmail.com. I love hearing from those who read and follow 🙂

  11. Such beautiful words! Words I needed to read. Words that just gave me life while I’m sitting here at my work desk still hurting from the day. Mother’s Day. Thank you!

    1. Oh sugars! I am so sorry for your pain. I am hoping and praying that you feel His peace and love and comfort for you today. Xo

  12. Tears…I am that one needing the shelter and a few of the beautiful ladies at church overwhelmed me with their love and caring yesterday. Felt so humbled and so loved. Your blog has been such a blessing to me since I found it a few weeks ago! Keep believing in your miracle! You are inspiring me too as well!

  13. I’m a mom now, but I still feel the heartache of 10 years of infertility, miscarriage and then delivering my baby at 25 weeks and having her spend the first 5 1/2 months of her life in the NICU. Becoming a mom didn’t magically take all that pain away. Yes, I am a mom now. And I feel truly blessed. But I will still always hurt. Those of us who are moms after infertility and loss deserve prayers and love as well.

    1. Oh bless your heart! You are absolutely correct. I just can’t imagine all the pain and heartache you have endured. I hope and pray there are people in your circle who can help you shelter the storm. And weather the wind and rain of grief that wash over you on holidays…and anniversaries…and other dates that cause a sting. If not? Feel free to message me. Especially on the hard days. Because I will be more than willing to hold out an umbrella for you. xo

      1. You are so sweet. Thank you! I hope my comment didn’t sound harsh. I just know there are other women like me out there who are still struggling even after being blessed with children. I do have some support, and I will take everything I can get! 🙂 I will also continue to pray for you and so many others who deserve to bring their own sweet babies home. Sending love.

      2. Oh your comment wasn’t harsh at all :). I just don’t have children so when I write, I wrote from my heart and the feelings and thoughts I have. Does that make sense? It’s not that I don’t think those women need sheltering as well, I just don’t know how to put that into words :/ xo

  14. Dangit. My comment was deleted. I’ll try again.

    I am a mom now, but I still have heartache from 10 years of infertility, miscarriage, and then delivering my baby at 25 weeks and having her spend the first 5 1/2 months of her life in the NICU. Becoming a mom didn’t magically erase all that pain. I am very grateful for my daughter, and so grateful that I finally get to experience motherhood. But those of us who are moms now after infertility and loss still feel that hurt, and we need love and prayers too.

  15. Mother’s Day is very hard. As a mother, who’s daughter is suffering from unexplained infertility, it can be heart wrenching. My heart aches for her, even though she doesn’t show it, I know she is hurting. Wondering when it will be her turn. Mother’s Day has come and gone for the last nine years, but still her arms are empty. Oh Lord, bless these women. Pour your blessings out for them and let their hearts and minds heal. Lift them up and hold them close. Comfort them on this day, and everyday. Amen.

    1. Sherry, like you I am feel the pain of watching my daughter go through years of fertility disappointments. Mother’s Day takes on a totally different role for us too. I want only to support my daughter in every way possible and on a day like Mother’s Day is hard to know we can’t celebrate this day together as mothers! I keep constant HOPE though that someday this day will come. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

  16. Elisha…just beautiful. I remember every Mother’s Day, how painful it is for those without children, those with prodigals, those with children who are now with the Lord. I also remember those with prodigal Mothers like I had. The pain of losing a baby and then not having a Mom who could help you get through that. I remember the first Mother’s Day without my Dad. He was like Mom and Dad to me. Let’s face it…sometimes holidays just suck. Not that we can’t be happy and grateful for what we have and for what others have, but just the “over-play, re-play, Hallmark-way” holidays are portrayed. Sometimes it is just too, too much. Again, such a beautiful way you have with words and feelings. Thank you, Elisha.

  17. Stunningly beautiful post as always, Elisha. Hands down the best Mother’s Day post I’ve read! Thank you for sharing your heart and uplifting us through God’s Word. It’s a privilege to know you, dear sister in Christ! <3, Meredith

  18. Absolutely beautiful! Every word is exactly what my heart and mind feel every Mother’s Day. May you (and all of us) be blessed with His Peace and Love on Sunday and always!

  19. Thank you so very much for writing this. It’s the most compassionate piece I’ve read on the loneliness of Mother’s Day. God bless you for the time you put into it. I shared in on my FB wall in the hopes it will help people see how hard this day can be and how they can help those who need it most. <3

  20. Thank you for sharing this. My frustration is when I go to church and hear Happy Mothers Day. I am a New foster mommy and love it! In my heart, I would still love to conceive…..I know God has plans for my life but it is a struggle when people don’t think before they speak on Mothers Day or any day.

  21. Reblogged this on The Not So Perfect Life of a Pastor's Wife and commented:
    As I get ready for Mother’s Day, I was reminded of Elisha’s post from a kind friend. I read her post last year, and it made me cry then-as it still does today. I wanted to share it with y’all because she says what I can’t. Feel free to share her post with everyone and follow her at Waiting for Baby Bird.

  22. I learned three years ago that I am unlikely to conceive, even with IVF, and my husband and I are now trying to adopt a baby. I was advised to go use a surrogacy to have a child. My friend sends me an article about Biotex clinic in Kiev city. Its offers all kind of services in reproductive medicine field for not big sum of money. It has tons of positive reviews from their clients from all over the world. However it has equally lots of pros and cons. I mean Ukraine is a poor country which situated in East Europe. Ok, I would travel to Alaska in order to become a parent but I heard their military conflict is still ongoing thus to me it is seems to be rather dangerous. The fact is that social media can make every day feel like Mother’s Day for woman who struggle infertility. Read posts from those far-off planets pregnancy and parenthood makes me feel twinges of envy, sadness, frustration, or even anger, grief, and loss. Over the years I learned to don’t feel bad about taking care of myself. Thus I regularly take a break of social media.

  23. Wowser. I wasnt prepared for reading this. In an odd way it felt triggering to being up the emotions I didnt know I may experience this coming mothers day. But it also felt a relief to have the tears flow here and now and maybe I can prepare my heart and bury it in His Word. I’ve always participated in mothers day events without issue, but this year I’m already planning not too. My heart aches and feels a bit more tender this year. I need that umbrella. Some person to acknowledge and not shy away from my pain.

    1. oh, hun! I am so sorry for your pain and heartbreak!! I once was told that tears help wash the soul. I am praying for you today.

  24. Thank you for this! I hate to say that I hate Mother’s Day but it’s often how I feel. I love my mom and the other mom’s in my life but it’s so hard and church is often one the hardest parts. It’s comforting to know my thoughts are “normal” for someone struggling through infertility.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Shannon. This day is hard for so many people and for so many reasons. Praying next year is different for you. xo

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