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.
Time, they say, heals all wounds. There is some truth to that old saying. After living for twenty-eight years with the knowledge that biological children would not be part of our lives and parenting our two now adult children that came to us through adoption, the hard edges and overwhelming pain of infertility has subsided. I still have tender spots that ache occasionally, but the daily immediacy of the hurt is mostly gone.
Once in a while, however, I am surprised by that old pain. Last year on my way for my annual mammogram, I accidentally walked through the wrong lobby of the women’s center at my hospital. There in that lobby sat three wheelchairs, filled with new mothers holding their tiny babies. I was not expecting that encounter, and I walked quickly past the happy scene into the closest bathroom. Tears filled my eyes, and the old hurts rushed back to fill my heart. I called my friend and said, “I never had that moment. I never sat in a wheelchair with a newborn.” I didn’t even have to explain more than that… she knew what I was saying.
A few weeks later, during a conversation with my son, Michael, who was then twenty-two, I mentioned what had happened to me. I told him how much I loved him and his sister and how grateful and proud I am to be their mom, but I also confessed to him my sadness in not having had the opportunity to give birth to them, and he hugged me.
Mother’s Day came a few short weeks later, and for the first time, I preached at my church on a Mother’s Day. I am sure it was a really great sermon, full of wisdom and beauty, but honestly, I don’t remember what I said. What I do remember from that day is that our pastor welcomed members to “say a word” at the end of the service, and Michael stood up. Michael who hates to talk in front of people stood up, and he said, “My mother told me that Mother’s Day sometimes makes her sad because she wasn’t able to give birth to a child.” And the he looked right at me and said, “But I am glad she didn’t, because otherwise she wouldn’t have been my mom, and I am really glad she is my mom. I don’t know what I would do without her.” While everyone in my church cried, especially me, Michael sat back down.
I had no words that day. My heart was too full of swirling emotions. But I had a beautiful glimpse of the mysterious ways of grace through which life’s greatest hurts often become life’s greatest joys.