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When Mother’s Day Just Hurts

When Mother's Day is Just Hard

This post was originally posted last year… I wanted to share it again this year for those who may have missed it or who need to hear this message again.

For years, I’d dreamed of being a mom. And I didn’t just want to have a few kids; I hoped to have 12 (yes, for real!)

I came from a large family (there were 7 kids in my family) and I loved big families. Plus, I loved the idea of being a mom. So I couldn’t wait to get married and have kids.

Only, life often doesn’t pan out how you would dream. Soon into our marriage, we found out the devastating news that we’d probably never be able to have kids.

So many long-held dreams and hopes died on that day. So many visions of nurseries and strollers and rocking chairs and little feet.

And I cried many, many tears.

We didn’t tell this to many people because it hurt so badly and voicing it just made it more painful. So when someone would say something about us having children — and people made many unknowing comments of that sort in our first year of marriage — it stung deeply.

I well remember that first Mother’s Day as a newly married woman. I was sitting in church and hearing all of the moms being honored and praised. And my heart wanted to burst from how badly it hurt to know that there was a very good chance I would never be able to have kids.

I won’t ever forget what it felt like. And my heart will always hold a special place for women who struggle with the pain of infertility.

Mother’s Day isn’t always flowers and chocolate and handmade cards. For many women, it’s a hard reminder of something that isn’t, something that once was, or something that might never be.

Maybe you’ve lost a child.

Maybe you’re estranged from your mom.

Maybe your child has a life-threatening disease.

Maybe you’ve lost your mother.

Maybe you’re single and longing for marriage and motherhood.

Maybe that adoption you thought was going to go through didn’t.

Maybe you never really had a mother figure in your life.

Maybe you’re desperately longing for a child and struggling with infertility.

Maybe you are estranged from your grown child...

I don’t know your exact circumstances or the burdens you are carrying today. But if Mother’s Day is hard for you, I want you to know this: You are not alone.

I can’t be there physically to hug you and pray with you like I wish I could, but I want you to know that I care about you and others in this community here do, too.

And I would be honored to pray for you — especially this Mother’s Day weekend. If you are struggling and would like extra prayer and encouragement, would you leave a comment on this post or send me an email?

I will individually pray for each of as a small way of letting you know that, while it might feel like the rest of the world is off celebrating, there are people who care about you.

You are loved. You are not alone. You are not forgotten.

photo credit

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79 Comments

  • Denise says:

    Thanks Crystal for this post. I loved it last year too. We aren’t going to church in the morning because quite frankly it is just to hard. 51 weeks out of the year I’ve made peace with probably not ever giving birth and with not being in a place financially (yet!) to do foster care/adoption. But Mother’s Day weekend is hard! Thank you for remembering how hard it is for some of us!

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this! We experienced years of infertility. We are private people so nobody else knew at the time. There were years of “So, when are you guys going to have kids”/”You really need to have a baby” comments, and you’re right that Mother’s Day is so hard in those times! Baby showers, too. We now have four lively kids – three by adoption and one biological – and hope for more. I still feel uncomfortable making any kind of public big deal out of Mother’s Day as I remember how painful it is for many of the groups you’ve listed.

  • Dawn says:

    Thank you for this, I so needed it today! I can’t have children and we are not in a position financially to adopt. This day can hurt so much and regretfully I have let that take over in the past. This year I am determined to make today a great day by spending it with my Mother because she deserves it. She is so special and the last few years I have neglected her on this day because of what I am going through. Not anymore!

    • Thank you for sharing, Dawn, so I could pray for you. I’m so sorry. {Hugs!}

    • Deana says:

      Dawn, if it is allowed I can either give you my email address or Crystal has my permission to give it to you. Adoption can be free if you adopt from foster care. We got our two that way and they are wonderful kids. ((((((hug)))))

  • Robin Y says:

    Very considerate of you, Crystal. Thank you for encouraging us to be sensitive to those around us.

  • Kelly Cox says:

    Crystal, thanks for your post! We are waitlisted to adopt our first child. We are so hopeful. My most recent post on my blog is about how “I’m Expecting.”

    I’m choosing joy this day as an expectant mom for the first time! We hope to be placed this year. To all Moms, those expecting and the ones hopeful to be…blessings to you!

  • Kathy says:

    Crystal:
    First, happy Mother’s Day! I want to know that your compassion is deeply appreciated. I know you are a religious woman, and I suspect our Father is quite pleased with the way you use your writing and entrepreneurial skills to help others.

  • Amanda says:

    Thank you for this post. We are having surgeries #4 and #5 next month to hopefully alleviate some of our infertility issues. We’ve been trying for almost 5 years now and know that deep pain of infertility. We have an 18 month old daughter through adoption and she’s our everything. So although this day doesn’t sting as bad as it once did, I will also never ever forget what it felt like on this day when all I wanted to be was a Momma. Praying for all you ladies.

  • Steve L says:

    How incredibly kind of you to write this. I sadly lost my mom over last Christmas and was missing her today. Came to your site looking for a deal or coupon for almonds, of all things, saw this instead and you warmed my heart. A million thanks for thinking of others today. Steve in Boston

  • Barbara says:

    Thank you for articulating this. I don’t go to church on Mothers Day anymore…too difficult!

  • Amanda says:

    I loved this last year and I love it again. I was estranged from my mom at the time and am now starting to talk with her again. We actually traded happy Mother’s Day wishes for the first time (her to me, anyway). My son is almost 17 months now and I am ready for another, but yet another negative test showed me that it’s not time yet. I was never prepared for the onslaught of emotions that would come with being an adult woman. Thank you for the encouragement.

  • Melissa says:

    I gave birth to four beloved children and lost one to miscarriage. I have seven (going on eight!) wonderful grandchildren. My life is full.

    But darn it, if I see one more sentimental meme about motherhood, I am going to lose it. Everybody thinks my mother is all that and a bag of chips, including my siblings. She made it clear early in my life that I was not wanted and that I was too sensitive and too this and that and why couldn’t I be like my brother? So I made a life without her. I do a perfunctory birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s Day thing just because it isn’t worth the grief my family of origin would give me if I didn’t, but I really wish she were out of my life.

    Thanks for listening, Crystal.

    • I’m SO sorry you’ve dealt with that with your mom. I can’t even imagine the pain you’ve experienced as a result. My heart hurts for you. And I just prayed for comfort and encouragement for you… and for you to know your worth and value. Because you have so much worth and value — I just wish I could look into your eyes and tell you that in person. {Hugs!}

  • Lisa says:

    Maybe your birth mom abused and neglected you, but you still worry about her and feel guilty loving your adoptive Mom. Why my son and I simply ignore Mother’s Day. We go to grandma’s instead. My kids are both adopted, but my daughter barely remembers so she & I celebrate. Love my kids,

  • Melody says:

    Thank you! You always know just what to say. My step dad sexually abused me when I was younger and my mom let it happen. They lied to the police and social workers. I had to live a lie and suffer and they went on like everything was fine. Til this day they deny it and it has been a year since I stopped associating myself with those people. I don’t look forward to Mother’s Day. But this year I am celebrating ME! I am grateful to have my 7 year old son. I am also protecting him from bad people. Thank you for being one of the good moms!

  • Heidi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. I desire to be a mother some day, and this post just warmed my heart. After all the celebration, there is too sorrow and pain. I hold tight to my Creator, Jesus Christ, who knows my pain, who sees every tear, and who showers me with peace when I rest in His faithfulness. I covet your prayers during this journey of infertility.

  • Tracy says:

    Thank you for this post. I also struggle with having my own kids. I am a step mother to a 17 year old girl that lives in Ohio. I have never really considered myself a mom because I don’t have any biological children. Some years it’s not so hard and other years are just a reminder of my failure to have kids. I am aware that God’s ways are above mine and know He is ultimately in charge. Still not easy. Thank you for praying for me and for others!

  • Amanda says:

    Beautifully put!
    My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant and have been resorted to doing IUI (Intrauteral Insemination). I was very upset one time when I intuitively felt like I was only to discover I wasn’t.
    My faith has been my saving grace in that I truly believe in Divine timing and have been able to stay in a positive space. I know there are 2 souls waiting to come and my Angels keep stressing “patience” every time I ask.
    Today….Mother’s Day….was our 5th attempt with IUI….how ironic!
    I would like to ask for prayers of Divine timing….and hope that timing is coming soon!
    AND…we mustn’t forget we are all mothers, all sisters…be it fur babies, to our husbands from time to time, and even to friends/family we care for!
    Thank you 🙂

  • Misty N. says:

    Thank you for this post! It spoke deeply to my heart that is yearning for a little one to love!

  • Kadie says:

    Thank you for this post. My mother passed away and ever since Mother’s Day has never been the same. Like others I choose to skip church on Mother’s Day. Thanks for your prayers.

  • Laure says:

    Thank you for this post. Today at church the priest asked everyone to pray for “mothers and grandmothers, aunts and godmothers, sisters, and missionary sisters who make tremendous sacrifices.” I appreciate that the focus was on our thinking of *others* and honoring/thanking them rather than letting the day degenerate into a grown-up version of a small child’s birthday (i.e. the “it’s all about me” mentality) that sadly Mother’s Day sometimes turns into.

  • LeAnn says:

    Thank you for your post…every time someone said Happy Mother’s Day to me today was like a knife in my heart. I didn’t want to make them feel bad by saying I don’t have a child or I’m not a mother, but didn’t want make them feel bad. It hurts, but helps to know you are not alone.

  • I have a person in my life right now that needs this message. How hard it is for people through the holidays.

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for this message. It meant so much last year and does again this year. We are into year ten of infertility and it never gets any easier. But Jesus is sufficient. Keeping my eye on the one who calls be beloved. Praying for each and every person/family represented in the comments. May you experience Jesus’ overwhelming love for you today and in the days to come.

  • Deana says:

    Thank you Crystal. We had one child then experienced secondary infertility. If that wasn’t enough our one child went Home when he was 18. We adopted two children but now my did of our family has decided to shun us. Today was both happy and stinky.

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you.

    Mother’s Day this year hurts for me. Not because I’m missing my mother. Not because I’m missing my children. But because it’s my first Mother’s Day as a single mother. First of God only knows how many. And it frightens me. In part because being alone scares me. But in part because it makes me think of Father’s Day and how am I going to explain to my kids that they can’t even wish daddy a Happy Father’s Day because we had to get a restraining order against him.

  • Tracy says:

    I also skip church and social media on Mother’s Day. Too painful to hear everyone talking and posting pictures of their wonderful moms. My mom left our family when I was young and it still hurts even more so since I have my own children. They are finally old old enough that I explained this year why we don’t go to church on this day. Thanks for your kind post and acknowledging the truth of the day for many!

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi Crystal,

    thank you so much for this post. Everywhere around me there’s Mother’s Day this Mother’s Day that, mostly just for commercial reasons, too, and how all this might hurt people is just ignored. On this day I always hurt for several reasons.

    I haven’t seen the sense in this holiday since I was a child myself, when I was always pushed to celebrate a mother who could not be more undeserving of thanks and gratitude if she tried any harder. I haven’t had contact with her for a few years and will not resume it if I can help it. I feel better for it as well, just days like Mother’s Day make it hard, they make me remember. Since I’ve become a mother myself, I’ve tried to teach my daughter that rather than her being pushed to celebrate me one day a year, that we’d rather try to value each other every day and ignore Mother’s Day.

    I’m a very single mother, meaning that the father is very much out of the picture, simply because he is not able to be in it, being unable to fulfill a father’s role. So Mother’s Day makes me remember Father’s Day and that makes it doubly hard.

    I think sometimes as my daughter gets older that no matter the struggles that I’d like to have another child, but being a single mom finding a partner has so far been very difficult.

    A few years ago I was in a short relationship and the contraceptives failed and that hope seemed to become a reality only for me to lose it in a miscarriage a few days after I found out.

    All that sounded very negative, but I’m very hopeful, as recently things have been looking up for me and my daughter. So this day also makes me hopeful for the future.

    What I take from this, is that this day is not or should not just be for celebrating, but also for remembering the roles and responsibilities of a mother. To celebrate parenthood with all its difficulties and challenges, the highs and lows, the good times and the bad times, to value all that has come and shaped us and our families, to think about all that has come before and all that may still comel, the bad but also the good times to come.

    I’ve thought about all that just now because of your post, while normally I’d just like to ignore the day and go on, and for that I thank you again.

  • Cate R. says:

    Thanks again for this post Crystal.

    For me it’s hard to “honor thy parent” (mom) with whom I have one of the hardest relationships of my life. Someone who has been the source of so much of my pain and yet gave me life. If anyone else is struggling in a similar situation, you’re not alone.

    This year hasn’t been as hard as some though. Boundaries is a good thing. It will always be sad but good.

  • Lydia Senn says:

    I have two healthy children. But we found out on April 14th I miscarried our third child. Nothing has ever hurt this much. So this Mother’s Day I skipped all the ceremony. I just can’t.

  • Ruthie says:

    Hi, this is hard to even put down. My son doesn’t want anything to do with us. I don’t know what to do since we have very little communication. I hear from my son once in a while and I contact him once in awhile. But he doesn’t want to see us.

  • Pamela Moreno says:

    Thank you for this post. After two miscarriages and years of infertility, my beloved husband asked me for a separation. I’m devastated but praying for reconciliation as is all of my extended family who also love him dearly. Mother’s Day was very difficult and I thank you for your post. Trying to get out of “crisis mode” and transition into a new routine but it’s very difficult.

  • My heart holds a special place for those who know loss and longing. Hugs and prayers.

  • mandy says:

    Just lost my mom in September to cancer. First mothers day without her. Needless to say I cried alot but still managed to be strong and enjoy the day with my 4 children. 🙁 I’m sad my kids will never get a chance to really know her. I know I’m not alone. Cancer seems to be rampant and hurting many families. Big hugs to all

  • Thank you so much for writing this and re-sharing it. It’s so important for people to understand that while mothers deserve to be celebrated and recognized, there are also so many women who struggle to get through this day. I also appreciate you speaking out and sharing because the more we talk about it publicly, the less alone others will feel. God bless you.

  • Chris says:

    Crystal and all the wonderful woman here, this post was great and so thoughtful. Although I do have a relationship with my mother (kind of) and sent her a card as I always do on this occasion, just the other day I became very resentful of her. She is an alcoholic so I know she did the best she could with us, but it is still hard for me to understand that you can love your children fiercely on the one hand and on the other be able to neglect them and hurt them so deeply.

  • Rhonda says:

    As someone who never had the honor of having children I completely understand how the writer feels. My worse times are baby showers,school events, and all family holidays. I so want children. However, at my age even adoption is not an option. When it was…..I couldn’t afford it. I get angry when I hear news reports of children being abused or killed by adults, especially by a parent. I question God on why these people had children and not me when I would have loved them. Its an ongoing mental struggle for me.

  • Nikki says:

    Thank you for sharing this today. All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mom. My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years but only married for a few. We’ve been having some marriage trouble but getting through it slowly. We don’t want to bring a kid into the marriage until we are doing better as a couple because I know what it’s like to be a child of divorce and it sucks.
    But I desperately long for children.
    Any time my period is a bit later I get excited even though I know it’s probably just stress or my health problems making it late.
    Just started going to a new church before Christmas and there are so many little kids in it and a few prego friends at the church too. I love getting to hold the little babies and play with the kids. But it’s also super hard as well, because I have no idea how long I will have to wait to have one of my own. Plus my sister just had a little girl and my SIL just had one too. And another SIL is due in a couple months.
    Struggling a lot lately with this.

  • Christi says:

    We lost a baby at only 10 weeks and told no one; my Mom died on Mother’s Day 2002; our 37 y.o.son quit his meds and died on Thanksgiving Day 2014. My hubby can’t understand why I get upset, ” it has been so long” so I hide it from him. Today he ran lights at church so I was all alone physically- God is there, and now I call my 93 y.o. Dad (dementia) and get to hear him grieve over my mom being gone. I can’t wait for Heaven, though I am so dang healthy, that’s gonna be a loooong wait.

  • Kimberly says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! My husband and I have been trying for two years. Being a mom is something I’ve dreamed about for as long as I can remember. I have a 7 year old stepdaughter so my husband still tries to make the day special for me, but my heart still longs for my own sweet blessing to hold in my arms one day. We’ve both been checked out and told everything’s “normal”. We don’t share our struggle with anyone except close family so we often get asked when we plan on having kids. I know people don’t realize how painful those questions are and I have to remind myself they mean well. Reading this post has been encouraging, sometimes when we struggle with infertility, we forget we are not alone and there are others going through or have gone through our hurts and pains. Happy Mother’s Day and thank you again for sharing this!!!

  • Alana says:

    Please say a prayer for my sister, Erin. She has lost at least 4 babies and she absolutely dreads this day. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, but she refuses to attend church on mother’s day. It’s just too painful and not everyone who is aware of her situation is sensitive to it. Others are unaware and ask those questions she dreads hearing and rips the scab off the wounds of her heart. It’s hard to see her hurting, and while we don’t understand, we all try to trust God’s timing and plan. I just know she could use some extra prayers today, especially from someone who’s been there.

  • Alysia says:

    Will you join me in praying for J who is estranged from mom and A’s infertility?

  • Jan Bostwick says:

    Please say a prayer for my great grandson and his mother. She left him a year ago (he had just turned two). We don’t know why she did it but she has always since middle school had a wild streak. She is hanging out with bad people. We pray that she will come to her senses and come back and ask for help and we pray for him because he is so little he fully doesn’t understand where she is and why she isn’t with him. She talks to him on the phone but doesn’t visit him because her boyfriend is not allowed around him. Thank you for this beautiful post and your prayer. May God Bless You!

  • Kimberly Walker says:

    Crystal, you are such an amazing person, such a great role model, not just for your kids, but for those of us as well. I am so thankful for your blog and I am so thankful you are praying for all these people, including myself!!! Mother’s Day is always very hard for me. My Mother was mentally unstable and physically and emotionally abusive. She died in April of 1993 and my first thought upon receiving the news was “I’m safe now”. I was molested by a family member and when I told her what happened, I was beaten and screamed at for being a slut. I have very few happy memories of my Mom. When I became pregnant with my first child, I was determined that my kids would not grow up the way I had. That they would always know they loved, that they were amazing and wonderful. And that any of their friends that needed love would get it from me. I have became “Da Mamma” to over a dozen of my kids friends, known also as my heart children. Thank you again for praying for me, for all of us. You are indeed one of God’s Angels on Earth!

  • Naomi says:

    Thank you for sharing. thank you for the love and prayers. I am 43 never married, guess go just had a different plan for me. Now I live with my parents and work part time and care for my disabled mom. Mothers day is harder this year, 1 we just went thru major health issues with mom, and 2 I am now doing all the things mom used to do – cooking, cleaning etc!

  • Kimberly Walker says:

    Crystal, last year when you posted this, it helped to ease my heart and I know it will do so again this year. I never got to make peace with my Mom who abused my brother and I all throughout our childhood. And because of the way she physically abused us, without leaving visible marks (IE never on the face or arms), very few people knew what was going on. In addition, we grew up in a hoarding house that was physically disgusting. Both my brother and I are in mental health counseling to help us heal. Mother’s Day is always super hard for me and this week before Mother’s Day has been one of the hardest I have ever dealt with. I appreciate your prayers not just for myself, but for all the other people who have posted comments. It really warms my heart that you have taken on the burden of these prayers. Thank you for doing this! And in case no one has ever told you, YOU ARE A WONDERFUL MOTHER and your kids are so lucky to have you in their lives!

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