Waiting for Baby Bird, When Someone You Know Is Infertile

Why I Choose To Sit on Mother’s Day

I took a quick glance down my row to painstakingly become aware that I would be the only woman of childbearing age, not standing. Another quick glance behind me, as well as in front of me, I determined the same. With my head held down and my fingers white-knuckled and intertwined, I braced myself for the moment when our pastor would ask all of the mothers and mothers-to-be to stand and be celebrated. Technically, I knew that I could. After all, I was a mother. Just 12 months before, after years of infertility and thousands of dollars spent on fertility treatments, I had finally seen those two pink lines I had prayed, pleaded, and begged for. Unfortunately, those two lines disappeared as the life within my womb stopped growing. Not many knew about this little person; therefore, if I were to stand, would they assume I was pregnant? I couldn’t handle the possibility of being congratulated as I left the church service that day, knowing congratulations were not in order; therefore, I remained seated. And alone. Like a leper; and an outcast, not part of the club that I so desperately wanted to join. But as the tears began to form and slowly fall, I realized my friend who sat next to me remained seated. She had two very important and significant reasons of her own to stand; they were of the ages two and not quite one. Yet despite her moment to shine, she chose to remain seated with me in the shadows. And together, there in the shadows, as she slowly grabbed my hand, I felt seen. I didn’t feel like that leper shoved to the side and forgotten.

The bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, but it also instructs us to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). This is why six years later, despite being able to stand through the way of adoption, I choose not to. It’s not because I don’t consider myself a mother due to my unconventional way of obtaining that title or because I don’t feel mothers should be honored in this way. I choose not to stand because I believe the greatest way to value, honor, and respect another person’s grief is to join in with them during their time of sadness. It is to sit with them, sometimes literally, and to say even without words, “I see you.” And not out of pity, but out of love. Grief is just a part of love. Love for life. Love for self. Love for others. And love for those dreams a person might feel is all but lost. Or, for some, stolen.

I realize you might feel as though what she is going through is not “grief worthy,” but it is. The bible treats childlessness as a devastating and true cut to the heart. Proverbs 30:15-16 lists barrenness right up there in the “top three” things that are never satisfied. Therefore, if God’s word validates her anguish, shouldn’t the church?

Shouldn’t society?

This Mother’s Day, don’t forget about the unseen. Sit with her. And if you don’t know who she is? Well, you might be able to recognize her by her head held down, her hands white-knuckled and intertwined together as she courageously unlocks them to wipe the tears from her eyes. Her grief is not terrifying or messy. Nor is it something we should encourage her to overcome, but rather something we need to help her tend. Therefore, let’s rejoice with those who rejoice this Sunday, but let’s also mourn with those who mourn.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~Matthew 5:4

More articles related to Mother’s Day:

From the Heart of an Infertile: A Letter to Mama’s on Mother’s Day

I Know You Hurt This Mother’s Day: A Message to the One Desiring to be Called Mommy

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5 thoughts on “Why I Choose To Sit on Mother’s Day”

  1. Good morning Beautiful,

    Trust that you are well.

    I write to you as this was me every mothers days for 12 pain staking years. I totally identify with each line as this is how I felt and yet no one was sensitive enough to see it. I hated being in church on mothers day and dreaded the prayer for the mothers because it was a reminder of what I yearned for.
    I too like you have a adopted a baby, a boy this January, he us turning 4 months old. I have been blessed with my little miracle and will be celebrating my first mother’s day!
    Even though it’s a day I have waited so long to celebrate my heart still aches for all those that are still waiting for their miracle of motherhood. In honor of them I too will choose to sit.

    Thank you for the encouragement, advice and may God continue to use you to reach out to those that need to be reminded that hope still lives on!

    Happy mothers day❤️

    God bless,

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  2. Thank you for being brave in sharing this! This will be my first Mother’s Day at my new church, so I’m not sure if they have the moms stand, but I was already considering remaining seated if they do. This solidifies my decision. Your reason for staying seated is the same reason I didn’t push the red button that played a lullaby overhead at the hospital after my second son was born. I knew the pain of hearing that lullaby, and I didn’t want to be the source of that pain for anyone else. I recently did an infertility awareness project for my church and made sure to mention how painful the Bible describes infertility to be. Thank you for this. I can relate to all of it.

  3. Thank you. For still sitting with us in grief, for knowing that some our barrenness, childless home.. is anguish worthy.
    For those unable to foster, unable to adopt (not for lack of trying)

    For those who grieve for what was a fleeting flutter.. for the never seen pink lines after every treatment ..

    For knowing we celebrate the one’s who made us aunts via blood fam and chosen… we celebrate our own mother’s or those second mother’s, grandmothers. The grief is still there.

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