We had ahead of us the MOTHER of all Mother’s Days. The stars had aligned for all significant and major events in my life to fall on this glorious day. I was finally a mom. After 3 years of infertility, in my arms was this incredible son, who had just come into my life in December with adoption. In my womb, miraculously was growing life, as we had recently found out we were pregnant. After years of infertility and loss, I felt like this was a Mother’s Day church service, I could celebrate and share in, instead of dread. I know grieving and longing mamas reading this are nodding, they get it. Mother’s Day service can be rough tough real stuff for those in the trenches of infertility. It can feel like a quick punch to the uterus to be surrounded by everyone experiencing joy on this day that reminds you of your grief and longing.
The church we attended was holding a baby dedication service on Mother’s Day. New parents would stand up front of their church with their fresh little babes and introduce them to their friends and family. We had invited our family to join us, excited and proud to stand in front of our friends and family with our extraordinary son and then planned to surprise everyone with the announcement of my pregnancy.
It got better, after this epic church service and announcement, I had my master’s degree graduation ceremony. I will be honest, I was nerding-out excited about wearing a hood with my cap and gown. It all felt so legit.
There I was, standing up in front of the church with our son in my “go-to for occasions green dress” and this weird thought snuck into my thoughts:
“This is the same dress I wore to a wedding last year, when I had my first miscarriage.”
On the way home from church, I started bleeding. I could not shake the thought that I jinxed myself.
“Why did I wear this stupid dress today?”
By lunch, I the cramping started and the bleeding had not stopped. Instead of driving to the commencement ceremony, we drove to the hospital. I knew there was nothing the doctor could do, but I just had to know….
"Was there still hope?"
The loveliest gift I received for Mother’s Day was not a card, flowers, or chocolate covered strawberries. While laying in that blue oversize gown on the hospital bed, I saw on the ultrasound a little baby with a little heartbeat.
Beating inside of me was this gift of Hope.
The pretty version of the story should stop here. And I wish I could share that the sweet scrumptious baby feet in this picture were the same feet from the little bean of hope in that ultrasound that day. But the truth is, not every Mother’s Day is a miracle.
Some Mother’s Day hold grief, shame, dread, insecurity and pain. But that day I learned that amid all longing and despair that I can also find hope. The gift of hope I received that day was real and true. We did not know the grief that was hiding around the corner. Several weeks later we miscarried for the second, but sadly, not last time. Yet I still look back on that moment, my husband and I staring at a fluttering heart inside of me, as precious. This precious reminder that there is hope to be found on Mother’s Day. I look back on this day and smile as I consider how even though it came to fruition in ways I could not have imagined and looks differently than I originally planned....
8 years later my heart and minivan and both now full.
Perhaps this Mother’s Day, you need a gift of HOPE.
Its ok if this Mother’s Day you need to grieve and find respite and rest. It’s ok if you need to make boundaries and say no to certain activities and festivities that might feel too hard. You are strong enough to make it through this day and, honestly, the many more difficult ones that you may find yourself in while you navigate infertility.
But may you also find a few moments of hope. You may have to look and reach out for them. You may have to take deep breath and intentionally grab on to them. Hold on these little Hope-life preservers to help keep you afloat in the overwhelming waves of yearning and heartache. Hope in the love and support of those around you. Hope in celebrating and recognizing mama-figures in your life who you love and love you. Hope in special moments with your partner; even as small as a well-timed held hand, a long afternoon nap together or watching funny romcom while drinking mimosas. Hope in your future that it will be abundant and full of life no matter what this day and other Mother’s Days have in store for you. Infertility does not define you. Mother’s Day does not define you.
You have purpose and hope today.
Hope anchors us to peace. A peace believing it might just all turn out better than we can ask of imagine.
May you hold tightly onto hope today wherever you are in your journey today.
Waiting, grieving, crying, praying, and forever-hoping; sweet longing MAMA, today is your Mother’s Day too.