I have known women over the years whose deepest heart’s desire is to be a mother. They are kind, loving, generous, tender, compassionate, and dedicated to giving their absolute best to the fruit of their womb. But their womb is empty. They know all too well the words, ‘barren’, ‘infertile’, and ‘incapable’. Motherhood defies them, even mocks them. They pray, they fast, they cry hopeful tears of joy followed by devastated tears of sorrow. They visit doctors, search the internet, and subject themselves to all sorts of tests and procedures. All to no avail.
These women grieve what will never be.
I have also known women over the years who had the opportunity to bask in the glory of being called ‘Mother’. They are women of integrity, character, strength, and passion. They know the thrill of announcing, “We’re having a baby!” Delivering their very own bundle of joy is excruciating and exhilarating, counting fingers and toes is fascinating, and kissing those rose bud lips is glorious. They have swaddled an infant to their breast, nourished them with the very best nature has to offer, and settled their anxious child with a softly whispered, “shhhhh…Mama’s here.” But they know the excruciating pain of losing a child – a child of any age – and being forced to say good-bye much too soon.
These women grieve what was.
And over the years I have known women who had the opportunity to be a Mother, women who saw the stripe turn pink or blue and decided – for good reason or for no reason – to end the life of their unborn child. Whatever your thoughts and feelings about abortion, make no mistake about it: these women grieve, too. Maybe not publicly, probably without condolences from loved ones, but they grieve. In the quiet of the night when thoughts will not surrender to sleep, they remember. As they pass a maternity store window, or gaze across the park at a mother pushing her child in a stroller or on a swing, they remember. They wonder.
These women grieve what might have been.
None of these women would deny in their heart they want to be, have been, or could have been a mother. They all had dreams of some sort: to be a Mom, to be a Mom forever, to be a Mom later. My guess is that for these women Mother’s Day is the most difficult to endure. Hopes crushed. Dreams lost. Choices made. Innocence lost for both mother and child. I believe, as Scripture promises, that God keeps their tears in a bottle (Psalms 56:8). If He in fact knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30) and sees the sparrow fall (Matthew 10:29), imagine how His heart must break when tears flow from agonizing emptiness, grief, and regret.
As we approach this Mother’s Day may we look beyond the greeting cards, department stores, perfume counters, and jewelry stores to see those who truly need our love and encouragement ~ these women who would be Mom.