I never expected Mother’s Day to be so hard. Before church, it didn’t cross my mind once that the service would be all about it. I sat in the pew and looked at the meeting agenda. “Primary Children, Mother’s Day Medley.” Oh. Great. But even then, I couldn’t have predicted the mess of tears I would become during the rest of the meeting.
The Relief Society Presidency sisters each spoke. As the first one spoke about motherhood traditions, my heart ached to think that I was quite possibly the only woman in the whole congregation who couldn’t bear children. Feeling like such an outsider, I squirmed in my seat. I didn’t belong here today.
Then the primary kids got up and sang “Mother, I Love You.” And then the tears came, so unexpectedly, I was so unprepared. These words I may never hear cut me to the bone.
Then another sister spoke. I was hardly able to listen because I was fighting with my tears, trying to make them stop so as not to make a spectacle of myself. Just as I was about to walk out to dry my face, fix my makeup, and regain my composure, I realized she was talking about her own struggle with infertility. She was my age, and had no kids, either. I decided to let my tears fall as they may, but I was going to stay and listen.
Then the final sister spoke. Also, no children. She shared a story about working in her yard after she had bought a home at the age of thirty-something. A neighborhood boy came up to her and pointed inside her house and asked,
“Are there any children in there?”
“No,” she said.
“Aren’t you a mother?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Well then, what are you?”
Yes, I wonder that all the time. Well what am I? If I am not to be a mother, then what am I to be? Can my life possibly be fulfilling and complete if I am not to be a mother in this life? Sometimes I come close to convincing myself so. But then why the river of tears at times as these? Why the heartache when I see an infant baby, like a sad reminder of what I may never have?
A Mother’s Day Poem to the Childless Mothers
happy Mother’s Day
to the wanna be mothers,
the infertile lovers
with the dream in their heart
for a family to start
who wonder if they’re not as good as another
for the most sacred calling of ‘mother’
to the childless mothers
who mother others
to the strong who wear out their bravery
while their hearts grow cold and weary
to the optimistic who try to see the silver lining
who lie to themselves to make peace, ever dying
to the tribe who feels misplaced, unplaced, overlooked, and blue
who may never hear the words, ‘Mother, I love you’
to the lone woman who feels the anguish of life ending with her, the woe
no posterity to pour into, no flowers to water and watch grow
I honor you for your sweet, broken heart
for your patient tears
for the hope of the dream that dies
with each of the years that go by
today I hear you
I have no comforting words,
I cannot fool you in your pain
I pray that you’ll find peace
and find your life again