Why I stopped boycotting Mother’s Day

It’s not the obvious reason. The one where I’m actually a mother now. At 36 years old, I’m finally a mom, following many, many years of infertility. That would be a good enough reason to bring back Mother’s Day, I guess. But the real reason is more complicated.

Some people find it difficult to understand why the absence of children causes tangible grief for a woman who wants to be a mom, since there isn’t a physical person to miss. But it is a grief. And it will always be a part of me. Maybe I’ll write more about this some time.

I started boycotting Mother’s Day quietly a long time ago. I’m not sure exactly when it first happened. I couldn’t live up to all of the expectations I thought were there for the perfect daughter and adult woman. I had failed time and time again to begin my own legacy of motherhood. A few years ago, I stopped going to church on Mother’s Day because church on Mother’s Day is The Worst. But that is a blog post for another day.

The journey from infertility to motherhood has had no short cuts. Becoming a mother was seven years of hard labor for me. That’s not a bandaid you rip off. It’s a hiking trail you come back to every so often.

I started boycotting Mother’s Day because it was such a stabbing reminder of my pain and grief for so long. I felt completely alone. I didn’t fit at church because I wasn’t a mom and didn’t know if I ever would be. I didn’t fit in life because everyone my age had kids already. I didn’t fit in my family or home culture because there isn’t a place for married couples who’ve been married for more than three years without children. No one knows what to do with us. And I didn’t know how to communicate what I needed. I didn’t have a voice.

I stopped boycotting Mother’s Day because I want to be a friend to the woman who doesn’t think she fits. I want her to know I see her. I want to help her have a voice. And I want my daughter to know that it’s good to celebrate when it’s time to celebrate and grieve when it’s time to grieve.

To the single woman who
Longs to be a part of a family and has almost given up hope,
You are not alone. I see you. And even more, God sees you.

To the mom who
Feels judged by the moms who work full-time and the moms who don’t,
Your family needs you. Just you. Not the perfect house or the perfect job.

To the mom of an adopted child who
Worries that motherhood won’t be everything she dreamed it would be,
Every mom worries about that. Welcome to the club.

To the daughter who
Lost her mom recently — or many years ago, but it still feels fresh,
Your grief will not defeat you. Keep walking forward.

To the mom who
Is parenting someone else’s kids literally or figuratively,
You are doing hard work even if you can’t see the fruit in the moment.

To the woman who
Is beaten down by infertility,
You are always close to my heart. I won’t offer you false hope. I don’t know the future. But I know God sees you.

To the woman who
Is a mom in every way except through children of her own,
Your sacrifices are worth it. You are making a difference.

To the mom who
Looks like she has the perfect family, but is dying on the inside,
You have a friend in me.

And to my daughter who
Is really good at celebrating with her wiggly arms and raspberries and toothless grins,
Your worth isn’t dependent on you becoming a mom some day. You’ve got just as much to offer the world either way.

One Reply to “Why I stopped boycotting Mother’s Day”

  1. Oh Andrea! I stopped going to church on Mothers Day too. It’s just too hard. Mine is a mixture of desiring to be a mom and having a mother who neglected me. I needed to read this today.

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