On the Other Side of Mother's Day

Holidays are hard.  

Mom of two (2).JPG

Hallmark has made holidays impossible to ignore, but for many people, weekends like the upcoming one are full of family drama, bad memories, and loneliness.

I feel so blessed to be celebrating Mother's Day as a mom again this year, but I vividly remember how I spent several Mother's Days in a row during our infertility journey.  I wished that I could curl up in a hole and disappear until they were over. Even after we had moved through much of the adoption process, I was gripped by fear that our adoption would be disrupted.  The desire to be a mom was more real than ever, yet the actuality of being one was still uncertain.

Social media only deepened my sadness. Every post about pregnancies or celebrating a first Mother's Day was like a knife being stabbed further into my heart. In some ways, I was killing my own joy.  I could have turned off the computer, but there's something weirdly addictive about pain, isn't there?  I guess that a part of me wanted to stay angry at the people who had what I didn't, because anger is easier than grace.  Looking back on all of it now, I wish that I would have been more satisfied and less resentful.  I didn't have control of my circumstances, but I was allowing my circumstances to have entirely too much control over me.

While it is true that bitterness eats away at the soul, it is also true that even people who have legitimately mastered the art of contentment feel lonely and discouraged at times. That's part of being human.  If you're reading this and dreading going to that Mother's Day gathering (or Christmas feast or whatever) because you know that it will reopen wounds, give yourself the grace not to go. That really is a choice that you have. People might not understand your decision, but I promise that they aren't nearly as worried about your presence as you are.

Although I'm immensely thankful to be "on the other side" of Mother's Day now, a part of this day will always be tough.  Having two precious daughters does not erase the dark years when we walked through infertility and our marriage was a mess.  I'm sad when I remember my friends who desperately want to be mommas, but God keeps saying, "Not yet."  My struggle is years removed, but all of the feelings of those years stay fresh.  

birth mom and adoptive mom

I can't stop thinking about Anna, Piper's birth mom.  She has another daughter now, Piper's half-sister, who she is raising alone.  Sometimes I wonder if she ever regrets her choice to make me a mom through adoption.  I hope that Anna feels celebrated and loved today, but the reality for her is that Mother's Days are probably all filled with thoughts of Piper.  Birth mothers are not "lesser mothers" than adoptive moms, but I'm the one who gets to spend my days with Piper.  I'm the one who hears her call me, "Mom", yet I see Anna in my baby's face every day.  Even in her absence, Anna is an ever-present part of my life, and my heart hurts for her.

Looking back on the last several years, I realize that what I've been through has truly been God's kindness to me. (I've only recently been able to say that.) The seemingly endless period of longing to be a mom has given me perspective that I wouldn't have gained any other way, and it has made me a much more contented person today. Though I wouldn't wish my struggles on anyone else, I wouldn't change them.  If Mother's Day is a hard day for you, trust me; I remember.  Hang on, even when it hurts and nothing makes sense; there really is a brighter day coming.