Infertility. Miscarriage. Stillbirth.
Full hearts, empty wombs. Breaking hearts, empty arms.
No one ever told us the road to motherhood could be so challenging. Growing up, you sang the rhyme, ‘first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.’ Easy peesy.
Except it’s not.
Once you get to child bearing age, you learn that hardships can happen. You find out that other people experience loss. Other people have a hard time getting pregnant. But you never expect it to happen to you.
And then it does, and your world is rocked. You’re on a rollercoaster ride. You feel like you have no control over your body. This body that you thought was created so perfectly in God’s image has somehow failed. You question your mothering instincts. You ask, why me?? over and over.
Let me pause to show you some statistics. Statistics that no one really wants to see (sorry).
- 1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. (2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, CDC)
- Sources vary, but most estimate that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss.
- Stillbirth occurs in about 1 in 160 pregnancies. (American Pregnancy Association)
Rub those sleepy eyes. Read them again. The statistics are staggering.
What it means is that if you are fortunate enough to not personally go through these experiences, you know someone, probably someone you are close to, who has. They may or may not share their journey. It is a personal one. But it doesn’t diminish the difficulty that they face.
This is Mother’s Day weekend. A time when we celebrate our mothers and all the sacrifices they have made for us. The love that they have poured out on us. Many of us are doted on and recognized as mothers in our own families.
But so many women are hurting on this day. So many are longing to be called Mother, Mom, Mommy, Mama. Many remember the heartache of loss on this day, remembering the child they never got to hold. The baby they said goodbye to all too soon.
Remember these women too. Recognize the woman who may have been filled with joy and hope, only to feel the crash of disappointment and despair. The woman who is already fighting so hard for her family. Those who are sacrificing everything for their children before they are formed.
Though they may not have the physical evidence, these women are already amazing moms. Someday their hopes and dreams will be realized. Their arms will be filled and they will join the millions of others who celebrate this weekend.
Happy Mother’s Day. To all the moms and the moms-to-be out there.