Fertility Grief complicates Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. As we approach Mother’s Day, Project Pomegranate invites you to walk beside those who grieve, and to tend to the ways in which your congregation can provide support. Consider sharing Though the Darkness Gather Round: Devotions about Infertility, Miscarriage, and Infant Loss! This book is an excellent resource.
A few months ago a six year old in my children’s ministry asked why we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day at church. It was a great question and one that other children in the room echoed, wondering aloud themselves. While I thought about the historical figure of St. Valentine and the dis-connection between him and the “holiday” I knew that his question was really much simpler than all that. So my response was, “Because Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark created holiday, not a holy day in the Church.” Mother’s Day, however, in some churches has all the pageantry and ritual of Easter.
All of this bodes well for my calling. But it leaves a big hole when it comes to fulfilling my life-long dream of being a mom.
When you are the childless children’s minister, Mother’s Day can bring an added level of pain. We all have days where being fully present with those around us is hard. For me Mother’s Day can cause anxiousness and exhaustion even before the first cup of coffee has been had. I want to be engaged with the families in my ministry and celebrate with them, but I also want to be sensitive to my own grief of not celebrating being a mom. Birth announcements and baby dedications can be tougher on Mother’s Day when the greatest desire of your heart is to be a mom. When worship includes an emphasis on mothers, it can be affirming to those who are mothers, giving them the space to celebrate with other mothers in the congregation. Yet those who are not mothers can feel that they have no place at the table, which is not what church should be about. Mother’s Day can offer the Church a beautiful opportunity to create a space for honest conversation, deepening relationship and a compassion that no Hallmark card can give. Churches and ministers just need to be brave enough to go against the cultural grain and embrace this opportunity.
I am grateful for my calling and love that I am being trusted by mothers, fathers, grandparents and the church to guide children through their faith journeys. I am grateful for churches, like the one I serve, that recognize that Mother’s Day can be hard day for so many people. For women who desire to be a mom, it can feel like there is a special club that you are not part of and would do all that you could to join. For men who see what this pain does to their female partners, it can bring about feelings of failure and disappointment. And I am grateful for friends, those who have children, and those who don’t, who are so sensitive to my journey that they create space for me to be who I need to be in any given moment.
While on this Mother’s Day I will once again be the childless Children’s Minister, I will also be a hopeful woman in the midst of those blessed, beloved children who surround me with all the faith, imagination, and curiosity I could ever need to carry on.