For all its commercial slickness, Mother’s Day is really a sweet holiday. It’s a time for us to reflect on all that our mothers do for us, and a time for moms to receive heartfelt trinkets that let them know their families love them. For those who’ve lost their mothers or moms whose children have passed away, there’s often a special tenderness shown, by those around them who are sensitive to their grief. Another group, though, is often overlooked. Women who wanted children but have suffered the pain of infertility and loss go unnoticed on Mother’s Day, sometimes because people don’t know, and sometimes because people don’t understand.
Many women long for children from the time they are young, but are never granted the opportunity to have a child. Maybe they tried and were unable, and maybe they traveled the arduous path of fertility treatment to no avail. Other women have lost children in the womb or at birth, ruining their visions of first steps, first days of school, and first dances. There are women with broken hearts that will never fully heal, even though they hide the scars from the world. Where do they put the grief? Many of them invest their mothers’ hearts in other children, giving support and love to nieces, nephews, neighbors, or even students.
These women matter, and they deserve our care. While celebrating your mom, or basking in the love of your children, ask yourself who you know who may be feeling left out. What can you give back this Mothers’ Day, to the women who aren’t mothers?
See them. While you’d know it if someone in your circle lost an older child, you don’t always know who has had a pregnancy loss or struggled with infertility. If you do know someone who is struggling with something like this, acknowledge her struggle on Mothers’ Day. Give her flowers, a card, or even a hug, just to say, “I see you, I care about your pain, and I grieve with you.”
Listen to them. A mother who has suffered a miscarriage or still birth may need to tell her story and talk about her grief. If you know someone who has been through this experience, be a listening ear without giving advice or passing judgment. Just listen, and really hear what she needs to tell you.