Monday, May 8, 2017

When Mother's Day Hurts

By: Jenifer Metzger

Mother's Day is less than a week away. For many, the upcoming holiday brings joy and excitement. We get to spend the day with our moms and honor them, we also get to spend the day with our children and be honored by them. Yet for many, the day brings pain. Some have lost their mother and deal with the pain of not having her here. Some have empty arms through the loss of a child or infertility and the day brings a deep grief.

Today I am honored to have Mary Wiley with us here at Woman to Woman. Mary is sharing the side of Mother's Day that many don't want to talk about or don't recognize.

This year, Mother’s Day has been a medley of unexpected emotions. 

I’m away from my mom, wishing I could be with her on this special day to celebrate her for raising my brother and I on her own from the time we were 12 and 9 on a teacher’s salary. I still don’t think I fully grasp all the sacrifices she made for us along the way, but I’m definitely beginning to appreciate them more as my husband and I do adult things like budgeting and mortgages and meal planning (food is expensive… and I can only imagine how much she had to budget to feed a teenage boy). 

I’m also newly grasping the feelings of so many today – those who desperately want to be mothers and are not, or who are mothers, but only had the blessing of carrying their child a short time – who are normally celebrated as mothers today, but instead grieved alongside.  

Right now, we should be five months pregnant. I became a mom, but at 8 weeks, I became a mom grieving the loss of a child.  

Just a couple of weeks into the pregnancy, I was so sure I was already beginning to share my space with another, even though I had not taken a test yet. Something was different. I just knew, and I was scared to death (I had heard the pregnancy, labor, and deliver horror stories all your mom friends tell.) and feeling wholly overwhelmed by the idea of this little life depending completely upon me. I remember waiting anxiously to take a test, calling the doctor, and realizing it would be a long (really long) wait for 5 more weeks before the doctor would see me for the first ultrasound. 

We didn’t make it that far. It was a grief that was altogether unfamiliar trying to honor the life God had created and grieve it quietly, while the rest of the world lived unknowingly. 

The Lord was so gracious and near to us during this time, but the searing pain of losing a child I never got to hold in my arms ached in depths I didn’t even know existed. We believe that life begins at conception, and that moms are made long before they make it to a labor and delivery room. This is my first Mother’s Day, but it won’t be enjoyed with flowers and a fancy lunch. I should be glowing and preparing for a baby, but the Lord in His wisdom saw fit for me to mother that child for only a short while. 

I thought I was over it, but I’m convinced now that you don’t ever really get over loss. Time passes and it gets easier. God begins to smooth out the deep valleys it digs in your heart, and places peace where there was once such restlessness, but more than anything you are constantly reminded of the day that will come when all sin and death are banished by the power of Jesus and every tear will be wiped from every eye; when creation is no longer broken by sin. And until that day, I rest in the Psalms – that God is near to the brokenhearted and he binds up our wounds (34:18, 147:3).

Women struggling with infertility or loss, I’m with you and today I’m praying for you.  As words fail you and emotions overwhelm you today, I pray you rest in the fact that God is near. He is not distant, silent, or oblivious to you and the desires of your heart. He sees your wounds and tends to them. And He welcomes you to come to Him as your Father, kicking and screaming about the unfairness of it all. He cares. He knows. 

I vividly remember Mother’s Day two years ago when I wrote this post. I was serving as the children’s minister at a church about 45 minutes from my home, and after my husband and I got up and dressed, we made the trek, mostly in silence. My chin quivers when I’m about to cry – I hate that about myself. I have the worst poker face in the history of the world. My husband knew I’d lose it at any moment because of that chin. It had been a very difficult few months as we walked the road of grieving a miscarriage, and I knew Mother’s Day would be the hardest day of all.

Life looks very different today, as I chase two toddlers around my home. God delivered two-hundred-fold in our lives, and for that we are so thankful. In a way, I’m thankful I walked a road that so many women do: that God desired my baby to be with Him more than with me. It’s not a road I’d wish for anyone, but God reminded me so well of His nearness and His goodness during that time.

I don’t know if God is turning around your story right now as He did mine. Oh how I wish that was the promise in every situation. I long for a day when all is made right. I don’t know the road you will walk, but I do know that God is good and His way is good, even when it doesn’t seem so good. And today, two years later, I know God is still for us, still cares, and still knows.

Mary Wiley lives outside of Nashville, TN with her husband and two one-year-olds. She works as a strategist for women’s and kids books at B&H Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @marycwiley. Sign up today to receive a free 7 day devotional from her at


  1. Mary, your words are so beautiful. I have not been in this position personally. But I am beginning to understand the pain and grief that others face on this day. I pray I can be sensitive to that.

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