May 10, 2012

Warning: unfunniest blog post ever ahead.

Seven years ago on Mother's Day, I visited a new church with Rob and our friends Keith and Andrea. People were welcoming, handshakes were offered, and the pastor started the service by asking all mothers to stand so the congregation could honor them with a round of appreciative applause.

I sat and sobbed in my seat - unable to staunch the flow of tears and the violent shaking of shoulders - for, unbeknownst to all the strangers around me and certainly the pastor who only had honorable intentions, I had miscarried my second baby just one day before. A horrible day filled with physical pain and anguish and indescribable emotional torment.

And then, because I had miscarried at home on a Saturday, I was told to gather and save the remains of this small, precious peanut of a baby to bring into the doctor's office the following Monday.

So that Sunday, as mothers around me stood for their (undeniably deserved) appreciation, I sat and wept for my never-to-be baby in a sandwich bag in my fridge at home.


There is no telling this without tears.


So I offer up a special plea for sensitivity this Mother's Day. For many (and I am selfishly grateful to now be in this position), it is a day of feeling loved and appreciated. For others, however, it is a day that brings nothing but feelings of severe loss and a deep, empty ache.

Love on those moms! But please, please be considerate of those around you. You never know whom you could be sitting next to or what she endured the years, months, or day before.


Psbris5 said...

Thank you for writing this.  I'm very sorry for your loss.  I too have been thru a miscarriage, two actually. Though we have each gone on to bear living children..those little ones are not forgotten. I look forward to Heaven where I will meet three babies (one was a set of twins) in some shape or form.
 You are right we never know what those around have been thru or what they are going thru right now.  Thank you for helping to raise awareness and sensitivity to a topic that many people avoid.

Psbris5 said...

 Sorry --it didn't post my name.
Sue Bristol

Becky said...

Thanks Jacoba. Although I did not suffer a miscarriage, I went through four years of infertility before being blessed with our first little one. It is horribly painful to sit and listen to mothers being lauded when your arms are achingly empty. I echo your plea to be sensitive to the often hidden pain of those around you.

cobandrob said...

Thanks, Becky. Miscarriage comes with the pain of having the best present ever jerked away from you; infertility comes with the pain of never knowing if you'll ever even receive that present. I cannot imagine what those four years must have been like for you.

cobandrob said...

Sue, what a reunion we'll have in heaven!! :)

Amy @ themessymiddle said...

You're right, this is a message that needs to be shared! A friend sent me your link after she read my post yesterday: An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day} ( I think you might resonate with it too. Amy

cobandrob said...

 Amy, your Amy referred me to it via FB!! And then I shared it on my wall because - hello! - it was my story but not my story. My friend Lisa (who's in seminary) commented on it - I'll share it here so you can read it. What I wrote on your Amy's FB post last night: "Wow - right on!!!!! My friend
there with me (who was pregnant) stood and desperately tried to drag me
to my feet. But a) I was crying too hard, b) I felt like a total basket
case and I could see people turning around at the unmistakable sniffling
I was trying hard to stifle, and c) I felt like a complete poser, even
through the misery of the day before. In my mind, I WASN'T a mom - a had
failed at it again. This is a terrific post."

cobandrob said...

From my friend Lisa: love
the prayer! I've never been at a church where they've asked moms to
stand, but there were a few hard years while we waited for Joshua and I
felt deficient being "just" a wife, student, employee, daughter, sister,
etc... it's really a strange day to
celebrate in church. somehow we need to have a day where we can
celebrate all of the wonderful relationships in which other people are
personifications of God, the ultimate parent/friend/sibling.

Rachel J. said...

I couldn't help but tear up while reading this, as it brought back some of my own difficult memories. It's so hard when you've been through many months of trying for a baby, and then a miscarriage, and all the while people continue to ask you when you're going to have kids. I feel so incredibly blessed to have my beautiful children now, but I hurt for those who are still aching. Wonderful message.

cobandrob said...

And what a ache it is. Thank you for sharing your story - I feel that same hurt for others. (And I also feel so helpless - what can I offer other than a tight hug and a plea for sensitivity in others?)

Tina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but thank you for the reminder that Mother's Day is not necessarily a pleasant day for every woman. I am childless by choice and very content with that decision – unless I go to church on Mother’s Day.  I don't feel 'less than' when someone else is honored, nor am I anti-mother. I have one and I appreciate her every day not just because it's the second Sunday in May. But Mother's Day at church can be awkward.  What about the woman who had a baby and put it up for adoption?  Foster mothers who are temporarily raising someone else’s children?  Step mothers?  I am a step mother and the first Mother’s Day after we were married they had the mothers stand at church, except for step moms because “they aren’t real mothers”.  I can still get indignant about it even after 19 years.  Honestly, I would rather just not go to church on Mother’s Day, but I echo your plea for sensitivity for those around you.

cobandrob said...

 Um, wow. I'm indignant on your behalf. What?? Very good points about all the other variations of mothers out there - I've never even considered the moms who've put their children up for adoption.