I lay in the dark on the couch with my sad, feverish baby when my phone pinged a notification. Clicking absentmindedly, I began to read a blog post about Mother’s Day.
The article’s Facebook tagline: “This year, I’ve heard so many complaints from childless women who resent society’s acknowledgement of mothers. Don’t be that bitter woman.”
To sum up the piece, which can be found here, the author exhorts “well intentioned” and “good Christian women” who are “un-mothers” to keep their silence on Mother’s Day, in order not to spoil it for those of us who have been blessed with something to celebrate. Specifically, she says, she’s speaking of the infertile, the post-abortive, the single, or those who have lost a child.
Although the article does include some sympathetic lip-service and assurance that of course each woman is valuable, childless women are warned that their insistence on grieving and sobbing on Mother’s Day will tar them with the same brush of derision saved for those “who want to give a trophy to every kid in the Spelling Bee, to end every game in the t-ball league with a tie, to pay every employee the same wage despite their diverse contributions to their organization.”
“Please don’t,” she implores, “by your resentment and your insistence on sharing in the glory of the day, take away from the credit due to women who have endured both the joys and the hardships of motherhood. Don’t make this weekend about you … please don’t, by your attitude or your bitter self-focus, take away from the one-day celebration of mothers, whose job is often thankless, yet critically important to the future of society and the salvation of souls.”
To share honor and laud never, ever diminishes it. This is a lesson I reinforce to my family: Your love will never run out by dividing it with someone else. Instead, it grows exponentially with each person you let into your heart. We are blessed beyond measure when we weep with those who weep, sob with those who sob, grieve with those who grieve, even listen to those who are bitter or whiny or selfish.
To the infertile, mothers of hope and disappointment:
I weep with you as you weep in the house of the Lord, like Hannah. I will offer my Mother’s Day Mass for you.
To the unwilling single, mothers of patience and sorrow:
To the post-abortive, mothers of healing and regret:
I sob with you as Rachel sobbed for her children in Ramah. You are a mother. I will honor the life of your child, who lived within you and lives in heaven now.
To those who have lost a child, mothers of joy and anguish:
I grieve with you as the swords that pierced the Blessed Mother also pierce your heart. I will listen to the bittersweet stories of your baby without offering any of my own.
Another woman’s resentment does not and should not take away my enjoyment of a day of honor. But more importantly, I deserve no earthly glory for the joys and sufferings I endure as a mother. Of course, I like the flowers, the breakfasts, the standing in Mass, but “the glory of the day” will not come for me one Sunday in May, but (hopefully) the day I stand before the Lord and receive my judgment for the fruit I have borne through my vocation as a married woman with children. Until that happens, every day is Mother’s Day, and I am willing to share.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”-Matthew 6: 19-21