(Stephanie is our newest Columnist, and agreed to do this very special article for this edition. In subsequent issues she will be identified with the name of her column! The Editor)
Mother’s Day, like many holidays, is difficult for many people for various reasons. Some of those include losing a mother, losing a child, those who long to have children but can’t, and many other reasons. I know this sounds like a downer of a topic, but it is real for so many. I would like to share some of my story and hope that it is helpful to someone out there.
This story starts twenty-five years ago, when I placed my child up for adoption at birth. And, since then, I have felt like I have not deserved to ever be considered a mother. In the past, I have not claimed being a mom when asked, because I did not want a long conversation. I feared the judgement and negativity from others, though I probably judged myself more harshly than others did. I still believe that placing my daughter for adoption was the right decision to make, yet there is still shame and guilt surrounding the time of the adoption.
It is difficult to acknowledge the part of myself that is a mom. I feel like it has been something I have been hiding, so that I don’t have to deal with the feelings. It is hard to picture myself as a mom and caring for children. I have never felt like I would make a good mom. So I tend to keep the thoughts far from me. On Mother’s Day, when the focus is put on being a mom, there are so many feelings that come. Sometimes it is difficult to think about the past. Other times it is awkward, when people ask the question, “Are you a mom?” I am not offended, I am simply unsure what to say. Still other times, I dissociate myself from those feelings and put on a happy face for everyone.
Recently, I met up with a wonderful woman from church. As I shared my story with her over lunch, she gave me some great practical advice. First, she told me that I was a mom, simply because I gave my daughter life. Then, she said that I did not have to get into a long conversation with everyone. Simply stating that my daughter is grown is usually a sufficient explanation, if people ask for further details. That advice was so helpful. I see things a little different now. I feel less anxious about answering people’s questions on the matter and I feel like I can handle Mother’s Day a bit better this year. In past years, I have tried to spend the day appreciating the amazing mothers I have in my life. I will continue to do this, but I think I will be a little more open to seeing myself as a mom.
What has helped me the most to get through the day is to lean into God’s presence. When I do that, He brings peace, comfort, and healing into my life. When I try to do it on my own and just trudge through the day, I do not feel any of those things. Instead, I feel sad, anxious, and worthless. Some years it is easier than others, but if I focus on God it is a tremendous blessing and the day ends up so much better than expected.
Focusing on God doesn’t mean that I do not think about my daughter. However, it does mean that I know that God is taking care of me and her. He is not mad at me for my past mistakes. He sees me exactly as I am and still loves me. He still sees me as His masterpiece. He loves me like no one else can. So other people’s judgement pales in comparison to what He thinks about me.
Regardless of whether this is an easy day or a hard day for you, I hope you know that God sees you right where you are. He knows you better than you know yourself. He is not mad at you. He loves you unconditionally. He is right there with you in any and every circumstance, whether you created the situation or if it is completely out of your control. He will never leave you. I want to encourage you to lean into His presence and be comforted. You are not alone and you are loved beyond measure.
“All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TPT