This is a moment to honestly lament, or maybe to ramble - a moment to wallow in the proverbial sea of self-pity. Sunday was a day of celebrating Mothers and being a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother for millions of wonderful women.
Nana Diana beautifully expressed in her blog the sadness for many who “have deep, dark pains that hide beneath some of the smiling faces … aches that are too deep to share with anyone.”
But there are thousands others with deep, dark pain that lurks in their soul and hearts of the longings that were never fulfilled - the desire to simply be a Mom. On Mother’s Day, I don’t begrudge the joy of those who celebrate and revel in the love of their children. In fact, I rejoice with them. I rejoice and enjoy the “bonus kids and grandkids” of my own, whom I love with all my heart. I’m not forgetting that though I never had a child, I was a child, and did have a wonderful and loving mother. I have a friend whose own mother told her she wished she had had an abortion. Many of my friends have husbands who do not love them. Several have children who have brought great pain and disappointment to them or they never even see them.
But Mother’s Day brings to mind all the feelings, the “bitterness of soul” and disappointments of somehow being incomplete … being different … somehow a second-class woman. Like Hannah in First Samuel, I wept many tears. How well I can remember the pain of yearning, hoping, grieving. Month after month, year after year, and losing hope that it would ever happen for me, as I listened over and over again to others relating to me their great news and watched them raise families. And the emotions on Sunday, and then Monday morning continued to rise and fall within my heart and I know they will once again be pushed down inside. Those emotions don’t really rise up as often as they used to. Years ago, I accepted that it would never be, and so I am able to rejoice with others in the excitement of their pregnancies and their experiences of birthing babies and raising children.
How could I ever describe it to you? Only one who has been there and desired it so deeply could ever understand. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, didn’t understand. He said to her, “"Why are you crying, Hannah?" . . . "Why aren't you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn't that better than having ten sons?" (I'm thankful to say my own DH is sympathetic to my feelings.)
The feeling isn’t even one of loss - because how can you lose something you never had? But there is grief. Somewhere I remember reading this is “unrecognized loss.”
I won’t go on and on. My life is too blessed as it is. For whatever reason, there is a reason. There is a purpose for everything under heaven, and I understand all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose. So the purpose of these few paragraphs are to try … I said try … to get this off my chest and go on with my day - my life, which I will most certainly do. Life is too wonderful to wallow in self-pity for more than a few hours or a day. I remember a line from Anne of Green Gables that has stuck with me. “To be in despair is to turn your back on God.” I refuse to despair. Life is too good.
God has been far too good to me for me to wallow - and I know He understands this brief lament. But God also knows every unexpressed thought and every unexpressed desire. He knows. He is Good. He has richly blessed me with His love, and with a husband who loves me, whose children loved and accepted me from the beginning, and their children know me as their Nonnie.
This post wasn’t written for sympathy, and it wasn’t written to counsel anyone. Everybody is different. Everybody has different feelings, depths of grief. But if I could offer any word of encouragement, it would be to say, don’t give up trusting God that He knows and understands what you feel. Explore prayerfully the avenues you can to bring your dream to pass, but don’t let it become your god, define who you are, or become your obsession. Help somebody else. Be a loving daughter, sister, aunt, friend. Volunteer to help somebody else. Some people thought it was crazy that a woman with no children wanted to lead a Brownie troop, work in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, or babysit for others. Believe me, you will be appreciated, and you will find joy in giving!
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.
(Psalm 56:8 NLT)'
It is comforting to know that our tears don't go unnoticed, but life is better when we find that His grace is sufficient.