On Mother’s Day: When Your Mom is Gone and Your Womb is Barren

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Mother’s Day is my grandmother Hall. Every year of my life, we dressed in red (her favorite color), and went to visit for the day. It was so very all about my grandmother that I don’t even REMEMBER honoring the other women in my life who were so very important to me. I don’t even remember honoring my own mother, but I suppose my dad made sure that I did that in some way.

My mom died when I was 15. That’s when it all got weird. Visits with her family felt awkward, forced even. I’m truly not sure that anything had changed other the fact that my mom just wasn’t there. There’s something about having a parent with you (no matter how old you are) that is just comforting and familiar. Once my mom was gone, NOTHING felt familiar. We tried to hold it together for a few years…we made it a little over a decade, actually. But Mother’s Day had turned into an obligation for me. It was just a day that came and went every year, a painful reminder of who and what all I had lost.

Then came my personal struggle to become a mother. And THAT changed the way I will feel about Mother’s Day for the rest of my life.

My husband and I went through about a year of fertility treatments. We had great insurance that covered everything except IVF. So, we did everything except IVF. It was the most insane roller coaster I’ve ever been on. My hormones were so completely jacked up that I didn’t know who I really was anymore. I was so very hopeful EVERY SINGLE MONTH that I would find out I was going to be a mom. And that positive test never came. It was devastating, and it nearly destroyed our marriage.

Does your church do that thing on Mother’s day where everybody who is a mother gets a flower? It’s sweet, really. But it was so so very painful for me. I sat through one service the year we were going through fertility treatments and I vowed to never go back to church in the month of May ever again. It nearly destroyed me, seeing everyone around me getting flowers when I SO desperately wanted what they had. And really, I think the flower thing would have been okay, except for the fact that NOT ONE SINGLE TIME did the pastor or anyone else mention those of us in the congregation who were struggling with infertility or might have experienced the loss of a child. I KNOW it was not an intentional slight on their part, but I felt so small, so insignificant, so painfully aware of that ache in my soul. And I wanted to run away and never come back.

True, our story was private. We told NO ONE about the treatments we were going through. BUT, I still wanted the struggle to be acknowledged…even if they didn’t acknowledge me personally. I felt like the road of infertility was such a treacherous one, that it should be acknowledged. (YES, I STILL feel that way!) I was just hurting so badly, and I think when you are hurting SO badly, you just really need someone to say “I see you” even if it’s not you specifically that they are seeing. One of the greatest human desires is for connection with others. I wanted to connect, but in that time in my life, I felt so very isolated and alone. I was terrified to speak up about our struggle. Because let’s be honest, some people are just mean. And I wasn’t in a place mentally or spiritually to handle that. I needed people to be kind to me. I was so so very fragile. (If that’s you as you’re reading this blog, let me just say that I SEE YOU! I acknowledge your struggle, I validate what you’re feeling, Even if what you’re feeling seems too big and sad and ugly to deal with, please just FEEL IT. You have to feel it to truly deal with it and be able to let it go. You don’t have to do that by yourself. Call up a friend you trust, find a random stranger in a support group, go to your pastor, or message ME. You are NOT alone, so STOP acting like it! I was in a very unhealthy place for way too long because I just couldn’t – *ahem* wouldn’t – talk about it!)

Leslie Tummel
Leslie Tummel
I am a believer in natural health solutions, and I'm also a believer in excellent medical advice from someone who actually went to medical school. Yes, it's possible to believe in both of those things. I believe if the church were to step up and handle the business of adoption and foster care, we could change the world. I'm on a mission to make that happen. I started this blog a decade ago; I've come a LONG way since then. A quick look through the posts will reveal my evolution. I am a PT by degree, and a mama, wife, daughter and sister by God's design. I fell backwards into a business with Young Living Essential Oils, and now I'm on a mission to educate and empower every person I meet to take charge of their health, naturally! Follow my journey on my blog, I Remember When There Were No Questions.

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