Holidays like Mother’s Day often come with cultural expectations of joy and celebration, as if everyone’s experience of mothering has been a positive one.
Often the day is so painful and the church so insensitive, that many women choose to stay home on Mother’s Day Sunday rather than have salt rubbed in their wounds.
But rather than hiding on this day or pretending the pain isn’t there, what if we learned to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15)?
Just like the wildflowers in the picture above, our mothering experiences are all different and beautiful when brought together. Your experience of this day may not be someone else’s experience of it, and that’s ok.
We need to give each other space to experience this day the way that is genuine to each of us (men included!).
Motherhood and mother relationships can be complex and messy and we can’t expect a day focused on mothers to be simple.
What ever your experience of mothering and Mother’s Day, my Mother’s Day prayers are that you find joy in rejoicing, comfort in mourning, and support from those around you to be genuine in how you feel.
Mother’s Day Prayers for:
Those with good mother relationships May you treasure the time and the relationship you have with your mother, the hard work and tears it’s taken to keep that relationship good and the joy that Mother’s Day brings.
Those who have lost mothers May you feel the freedom to mourn your loss while remembering the good, the bad, and the missed opportunities. May you be surrounded by people that “mourn with those who mourn” and don’t insist you put on a smile.
Those who never had a mother May you be supported by spiritual mothers that can help fill that void. May you feel seen, and not expected to take on other’s experiences of mothering as your own.
Those with strained mother relationships May you feel the freedom not to put on a happy face; to be honest yet honoring about your relationship with your mother.
May the memories of good outweigh the pain of the present and past. May you be allowed the right to celebrate or not celebrate as you see fit.
Mother’s with strained child relationships May you feel honored as a mother even if the honor doesn’t come from your kids. May you give your children the freedom not to celebrate or to celebrate from a distance. May you forgive yourself for the strain.
Mother’s who have lost children May your motherhood be honored even when it is not seen. May your mourning be comforted. May celebration of mothering children that are still alive not disregard the loss of those who are not.
Those who long to be mothers May your wait be short and your longing be satisfied. May you be surrounded by those who can offer genuine support and not just cliche encouragements.
Those who have chosen not to be mothers May you feel respected in your choice to abstain and not treated as less than. May you be honored as a woman and for the nurture you bring to those in your life.
Those who missed their chance to be mothers May you find comfort in your mourning. May you make peace with timing and biology. May your legacy live on in children whose lives you have touched. May second chances visit you like Sarah and Elizabeth.
Those who are mothers May you feel loved, honored, and supported in what ever form of mother you are — biological, foster, adoptive, spiritual. May your children call you blessed.
A Note on Those Who Have Chosen Not to be Mothers
When this article initially was posted there were some who felt the need to pass judgment, assuming that the only way a woman could choose not to be a mother is through abortion.
These were not people in search of genuine dialogue, just those who wished to cast stones and shout their views.
These judgements cut deeply as abortion was never even in my mind when I wrote of those who have chosen not to be mothers.
And it stung all the more to think that yet again the dear women I know who have made such a choice are horribly misunderstood.
For the record: I am of the opinion that a woman who has had an abortion is a mother who has lost a child. The only way to choose not to be a mother is to choose never to get pregnant to begin with.
And yes, there are women who choose not to have children. I have at least three dear friends that have decided that being mothers is not for them.
They have been abstinent, used birth control effectively, or gotten hysterectomies. Their reasons for this choice are not our business to dissect. But their pain every time their choice is questioned and teased is ours to stop.
The (not so) well meaning relatives that dismiss their choice laughing, “Oh you’ll change your mind.” The busybody stranger that attempts to delve into their deeply personal reproductive choices. The women who treat them like outsiders. It all needs to stop.
You do not have to understand these women’s choices. But please respect them. They are not any less women because they don’t want to have children.
While they may not be mothers it does not mean they can’t be the best aunts ever, the best teachers, the best influences your children need when you’ve reached the end of what you can give your own child.
Just as you wouldn’t pester a woman you know who has struggled with infertility about why she doesn’t have children yet, don’t pester a woman who has declared her choice to not have children about if she’s changing her mind.
(In fact, maybe stop pestering women in general about when they’re going to have kids, why they don’t have kids yet, or why they have so many kids.)
And most of all, be a safe person for women who didn’t want children to share with if they do change their mind or their biology does for them.
You want to prevent abortions? Then be that supportive person that a woman who is about to become a mother when she didn’t plan to can come for encouragement, not “I told you so.”