Not My First Mother’s Day

The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.
Genesis 21:1-2

This week I am so thankful to be celebrating Mother’s day as a new mom. Although I’m now back to the office and returning to a pile of work from my time away, I look towards this Sunday and I am so excited to celebrate our little family.

But even though I’m excited and incredibly thankful, Mother’s Day is still a difficult day for me. It’s difficult because even though this is my first Mother’s Day as a biological mother, it is also a day that has signified heartbreak and frustration for me.

Even though I wasn’t a “mom” in any traditional sense before this year, I can tell you that I experienced Mother’s Day every year, and for the last few years it has not been a day of joy or celebration.

My husband and I struggled to get pregnant, and because of some health issues we actually didn’t think that we would ever conceive naturally, and so a day that I normally spent celebrating and thanking my own mother became a reminder of my failure.

And I was surprised to find that the church was not a safe place to retreat for comfort on this day.

Particularly I found myself hurting deeply last year. My husband and I had been trying for more than a year, and had finally given up hope, deciding to begin looking at adoption once we were finally settled into my first call, and that Sunday morning I found an article on Facebook that spoke such truth to my pain and hurt. The article speaks about the things women who aren’t mothers hear on Mother’s Day, it shared the hurt and pain that those who lost a child or were never able to have a child of their own feel on this day, I sat on my couch that Sunday morning before Worship and cried as I read through the words I myself had struggled to articulate.

So I decided to share the article on Facebook, because I have so many beautiful wonderful friends who struggle with infertility as well. There was only one comment on my post, a member of my internship church, who commented: “That day will come. God has a plan.”

This person either never read the article, or read it and just didn’t understand. 

And so the Holy Spirit decided to kick me in the butt that morning, and I found myself adding some major edits to my sermon just an hour before worship began, and all morning I received the winking “Happy Mother’s Day, OH you’re not a mom yet huh?…oh well some day” or “you’ll be a mom soon, don’t you worry” and all the things people say to women without children on Mother’s Day. I thought about the comment on the article I shared, I thought about every woman who avoided church on this day, and every one who shared the pain that I experienced that day, and so in front of 500 members of the congregation I shared a part of my story in my sermon on God’s love.

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Full Maturity In Christ: Inclusive Love from CLC Tech on Vimeo.

And afterwards I still had people come up to me and tell me that it will happen, that I just need to pray more, that I just need to be patient. But I also listened to both men and women who struggled with infertility, who didn’t know if they would ever have children, who ended up never having children, who were so thankful to have someone sharing the same struggle, the same prayers, the same heartache.

I wish I could say now that we have Hadley that everything is better and I’m so excited for Mother’s Day, and it is true that I’m looking forward to celebrating with my family, but this day still holds some of that hurt for me – because even though we have been given this incredible gift from God in our daughter, we also know the heartache of desperately wanting parenthood and being unable to achieve it.

I also know that there will be some absences on Sunday from some beautiful women in our congregation who just can’t deal with the reminders of their own heartaches, whether that be the loss of a child, the choice or inability to have natural children, or the sadness that their maternal roles in the lives of others goes unnoticed on this day of the year.

And so this is my reminder as we move into this Sunday – that even though I’m a new mom, this isn’t my first Mother’s Day, that I have been celebrating and experiencing this day for years. Mothers aren’t just those with children, but on this Sunday we celebrate those who share in the mothering traits God shares with us – those who nurture, who teach, who provide guidance and love, who provide comfort and care, this Sunday let’s give thanks for the teachers, the nurses, the doctors, the children’s ministers, the pastors, the aunts, the sisters, the therapists, the neighbors – the list goes on and on.

This Sunday let’s give thanks for all those who mothered us.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Pastor Megan Filer
Pastor Megan Filer