When Mother’s Day Hurts

“Oh, no — May is here,” the woman muttered as she stared at her calendar. “That means Mother’s Day is coming.” She sighed. “It’s the worst day of the year for me.”

She shared that her daughter had been tragically killed in an auto accident many years prior. Although she has a son, Mother’s Day still triggers the sad reality that her daughter is gone.

Numerous women have revealed that they dread Mother’s Day. Here are a few reasons why:

Infertility

Mother’s Day is usually painful for the women who deeply desire to have a child but cannot. My friend Cathie explains, “During our journey through infertility, I wanted to escape on Mother’s Day. But then I quickly realized it was another mountain of grief for my husband and I to hike.”

“However, nothing prepared me for the wave of sorrow that struck as I entered the Hallmark store to buy cards for my family,” she continued. “The first tears welled up as I approached the Mother’s Day section. I quickly turned and walked away, asking myself, “Can I put on a mask and muddle through the minimum requirements? Is this holiday destined to be a reminder of my defective body and our loss?”

Custody Battles

Recently I met a woman who has lost fulltime custody of her kids due to a divorce. She is devastated and feels like a terrible mom. Her husband has remarried and lives in a beautiful, lavish home. This mom lives in an apartment. She knows her kids prefer to be at Dad’s house, which is filled with toys. To her Mother’s Day, isn’t something to celebrate; it’s a megaphone that screams, “Failure!”

Stepmoms

Stepmoms often avoid church altogether on Mother’s Day. Carla shared with me, “The most torturous moment comes when the pastor asks all moms to stand so they can receive a round of applause, beaming smiles from their kids, and a flower from the usher. I sit there awkwardly, wondering what I’m supposed to do.” She continued, “I’ve never given birth, but I fill the same role that a mom does. I do their laundry, make dinner, drive the carpool, and help with homework. A stepmom has all the stress, work, and financial burden of being a mom, but none of the perks or recognition.”

Childless By Choice

A handful of women in our society are “childless by choice.” The lack of children isn’t normally what triggers their pain on Mother’s Day; it’s the comments from those who don’t understand. “I grew up in a very abusive, neglectful home. By the time I was 13, I knew I never wanted to have children,” Janelle explained. “I didn’t want to bring another person into this hurting world. I couldn’t take that risk. Most women assume I don’t have kids because I’m self-centered or that I wanted a lofty career, but that’s totally untrue.” She proceeded, “It’s not that I didn’t want children; I actually think I would have been a great mom. People typically don’t understand my perspective, so I rarely share. My choice was putting aside what I wanted for what I felt was best.”

Abortion

Lest we forget, there are literally thousands of women who have had abortions. For those who now regret that decision, Mother’s Day can be excruciating. It’s a prime time for Satan to stir up guilt, shame, loneliness, humiliation, and self loathing. Our job is to point these women to the forgiveness and freedom that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. His perfect sacrifice offers compassion, redemption, and grace.

After adopting a precious daughter, Cathie shares, “I do not know if I will ever be completely joyous on Mother’s Day.  For I know there are mothers who are grieving, including my child’s birth mom.  Before assuming it is a good day, I look into the eyes of the women around me, especially at church.”

When you factor in foster moms, single parents, women who have a prodigal child, and a whole host of other issues, it’s easy to understand why Mother’s Day can be painful. This year, why not take a moment and ask God to bring someone to mind who needs a special touch, card, gift, flower, or word of encouragement. You will never know how one act of kindness can change the day or the life of a wounded woman.

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8 thoughts on “When Mother’s Day Hurts

  1. I fit into the "infertility" category. Mother's Day is always a difficult day. But in many ways it isn't any more difficult than a day when I meet someone new. At a recent event, I sat next to a woman that had several children. Her whole world was her children which is as it should be but it made it hard for us to relate.

    I realize this is a Mom site so technically I don't belong on it but I was surprised that when listing the things that make Mother's Day hard being single wasn't included. That may seem strange but I know many single women that have a hard time on Mother's Day also.

    What I really love about the post is that it helps us to look beyond our circumstances to be sensitive to women not like us. 2 Cor. 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those, who are in ANY affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." God has used my "affliction" to help me be more sensitive to others.

    Thanks so much for this timely reminder to reach out in comfort to women around us

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  2. Thanks for the reminders, Laura! I remember the first Mother's Day after my mom passed away. I really thought the rest of the world was absolutely cruel to celebrate Mother's Day without me…and, of course, as my grief as grown less acute, I should remain acutely aware of others' grief.

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  3. When I walked into my favorite Hallmark store 21 years ago, I wondered why so many people were crowding a particular aisle. Curious, I proceeded closer, and unsuspecting, realized they were looking at and carefully choosing Mother's Day cards. My heart sunk, knowing that for the first time, I didn't any longer have my mother to buy a lovely, appreciative card for. I slowly began to move away from that busy aisle, but as I did, the Lord, with His compassion, must have prompted me. I thought to myself, 'Who do I know whom I could choose a Mother's Day card for?' Martha, a precious woman from our church came to mind, who I had and still do admire. I had often turned to her for advice and encouragement as I raised my own family. It brought a little smile to my face and warmed my heart to honor her with a card in place of the one I would have loved to send to my own dear mother.

    The Lord has been gracious to bless my husband and I with six wonderful children, who I look forward to hearing from or being with this weekend. However, I hope my story might encourage those of you who miss your own mom, as I still do. May the Lord provide a way to bring a little smile to your face, too.

    Romans 15:13

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    • This is the 4th Mother’s Day without my mom and 1st year not to cry while buying cards for others, Charlotte. In fact, I decided to skip the 1st Mother’s Day without her. Took off alone for the weekend. But God used that weekend to open my eyes to all of the women who bless my life. Enjoy your Mother’s Day and the blessings from your family!

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  4. This is my second Mother's Day without my mother, who died In January, 2009. In many ways, it doesn't get easier as I face not buying a card and flowers, not having her at lunch with our family, and not holding her precious face in my hands for a kiss. At the same time, I know I am very blessed She lived to be almost 83 and she left me a godly legacy of love for family and faith in our Savior. Regardless of the obstacles of life, including the cancer that killed her, her faith remained strong and steadfast. She lived to see grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was a wonderful me-ma.

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  5. Pingback: recommended reads – motherhood | Becoming you
  6. Mother’s Day has always been difficult for me, but not for any reasons stated here.
    My mother passed away when she was just 36 years old, and I was a young 4 years old. While that was 40 years ago, my dad never remarried, and after living in multiple foster homes as a child, my heart has always had a hole for what I never really had, a mom. Suffice it to say, my heart hurts to this day even though I now have 3 beautiful young adult daughters whom have truly been a gift from God. While my heart is tendered towards the women listed on here, Mother’s Day is still most difficult for me personally.

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  7. I have a hard time because of the loss of my mom at a young age and the loss of 2 babies that never took a breath. It’s just so hard and I am always feeling jealous of other women.

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