This Sunday will be yet another Mother’s Day without my mom. And I miss my sweet mama a lot. Even more over the years in a lot of ways. But I don’t typically feel the heaviest weight of those emotions on Mother’s Day. Having a specific day that I know everyone is going to be busy celebrating with their mom gives me time to prepare my heart against the loneliness, jealousy, anger, and sadness that so easily creeps in on the days when I’m not prepared for those things.
In recent years Mother’s Day has shifted though to where it’s no longer everyone around me just celebrating their own mothers but they’re now celebrating their own motherhood. And with that shift, an unexpected new struggle has arose from Mother’s Day – the realization that I might never actually be a mom. *Cue all the eye-rolls. Okay, hear me out…
As a kid I always pictured Mother’s Day at this age looking a bit like packing a few kids up into a van and driving over to my mom’s house to celebrate with the family. That I would be able to celebrate my own mom and celebrate being a mom. After I lost my mom, I held onto the expectation that I would be able to be a mom one day. It was comforting and exciting and somehow seemed like it would redeem Mother’s Day a little bit.
I don’t know if it’s because I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of my 30’s without any single dudes around that I could see spending the rest of my life with (let alone make a tiny human with) or if it’s because I’m deep into the season of life where all of my lifelong friends are having their own little babies. But the fact is my life is just completely different than what I had imagined it would be at this point.
Honestly, over the past few years I’ve wondered if I should even have kids if ever given the opportunity to. I felt like occasionally I had gotten to a point where it would be totally okay if that wasn’t the plan for my life. But a couple months ago all of those old feelings got wrapped up into one emotional bundle when I saw a picture of my dad holding my best friends newborn baby. He was so happy. My dad is sweet and gentle and quiet and babies love the guy. I stared at the photo and teared up imagining how amazing it would be when he’s holding his own grandchild, my child. But this was quickly replaced by realizing that maybe I’m not meant to ever make him a grandpa. I know that it’s definitely possible that maybe I’ll meet someone and get married and be able to have my own kids one day. But it’s also very possible that it just won’t happen for me. And it’s a truth that I’ve had to wrestle to be okay with so that I can find true joy celebrating in the lives of those around me whose situations look far more similar to the dream I used to hold for myself.
I know a lot of other single women that are unable to express this struggle because it doesn’t seem like a relatable or legitimate struggle for a person that’s in this season of life. It’s a very strange, and often secret, sorrow to mourn the loss of your expectation, idea, and desire for children when you’re a single woman. It’s not tangible or completely heartbreaking in the same way as the struggle that many of my friends have gone through who have dealt with infertility and miscarriages. But it can be a powerful sadness nonetheless.
God has definitely given me healing and grace in this area so I don’t feel like it’s a constant weight on my life. But I think it’s powerful and freeing to share about the struggles we go through in life. So here I am! I just want to encourage others in a similar situation to be joyful here in this season without letting old dreams and expectations feel like a burden or a reason to question God’s goodness. Be confident in God’s plans whatever they are and on the days that you can’t… well, there’s love and peace and grace to cover that.
So go enjoy your mother if you’re lucky enough to have one, kiss your kiddos if you’ve been given them, pray for the heavy hearts of friends struggling with infertility & dealing with the loss of miscarriages, or just give space for the feelings of a single friend trying to reconcile expectation to reality. Happy Mother’s Day!