When Mother’s Day is Hard

May 07, 2015
Baby Feet
I never used to think about how Mother’s Day affected some women, that it could be the hardest day of the year for them. Until I became one of them. 

It never occurred to me that on that special Sunday in church, the red roses handed out, that I would be one of the ones not standing, looking down at my hands, fighting back tears.

I never thought there would be no one to cook for me, or bring me eggs with the shells scrambled in, or color crayoned cards with triangle shaped heads.

Infertility is a disease that steals hope.

It claws at your promise. There is death where there should be life.

I know what it is to take the hundredth negative pregnancy test and worse,

I know what it is to get the positive one and the fear in the pit of your stomach that follows because of all the loss. 

I know the desperate Google searches late into the night, the countless blood tests, the new results from doctors, each layer more complex and more devastating.

I know how lonely that path is to walk alone with no one to guide you.

I want to say, I feel you, sister. And I’m sorry. It shouldn’t be this way.

I know you want to pull the curtains closed and crumple tissues up on your floor. I know you want to skip church, go for a hike, and eat a lot of ice cream. I give you permission to have days like that.

I usually skip church on Mother’s Day and head out to the wilderness, because it’s too painful. It’s too painful to not be honored, to have that secret pain ignored, or to be told platitudes like, “You just have to keep believing.” We need our churches to learn empathy, how to be with people in their pain, versus sympathy and “quick fixes.”

But what I’m learning is there’s beauty in the bittersweet here and now.


There are days when I take my journal out into the sun and sit on the splintered wooden bench and know this life is worth living. Those days I can feel God come near like an old friend and wrap His arms around me and I know we are getting closer too.

The deep ache in my soul can’t be satisfied with anything other than Him.

Faith is expanding in my chest with every breath I breathe in the truth of my promise.

There are days when another woman emails me about her struggle and I have a deep well of love and empathy for her that I know would otherwise not be there if I hadn’t gone through all of this.

There are nights where out under the stars I can talk with a friend who has lost a child and openly cry tears with her and hold her pain in the palm of my hands without flinching because I know what it is to lose.

There are mornings when I’m writing, the house settled and silent, and I’m grateful I’m not juggling a crying baby.

It’s not that I wouldn’t trade it all, but I’m keenly aware of the gifts of this time I may not get back.

I’m learning this journey is so intimate, so personal, and no one can tell you what’s right for them is right for you. Prayer, adoption, IVF, immunology, waiting. There are no black and white lines. (I’ll be writing more on this soon)

There are many different ways to be a mother and I honor you for yours.

There is only the courage of following your intuition.

These are treasures. They are pearls of great price.

Our life is happening now. It isn’t that it hasn’t started yet because we’re not the mothers of our own living children.

We’re in this together, lighting candles for one another, bravely hoping against the dark.

My prayer is that someone’s eyes are opened to see you, acknowledge your grief, and offer a hug, and that you are able to be that for someone else.

There is still so much love inside you to give away.

So please share, what do you do when Mother’s Day is hard for you?

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  • Abigail Mortenson

    thank you for this. i’m writing about it too…hoping it brings healing and hope to another person who’s hurting on this day, too.

    • Sarita Hartz Hendricksen

      Thanks Abigail! It’s so important that we share in each other’s grief and acknowledge it. Please share this as well with someone who might be hurting. And I would love to see what you end up writing.

  • Amanda t

    I found your blog through a google search of road trips and spiritual journeys. Little did I know I’d find someone I have unfortunately so much in common with. I’m also an ectopic pregnancy survivor,multiple pregnancy losses(4 total),infertility,Homozygous MTHFR c677t,and getting ready to embark on a long road trip as a spiritual journey to mark the 2 year anniversary of my last loss. I want to tell you reading a lot about what you are going through brings back a lot of memories of what I’ve gone through…. On a side note YOU ARE A MOTHER! You have two angel babies but you ARE a mom. Don’t let anyone take that away from you EVER! With that said, thank you for your blog. I’ll definitely be signing on to keep reading.

    • Sarita Hartz Hendricksen

      Hi Amanda, thank you so much for sharing your story. Yes, I am a mom, thank you for saying that. I just cannot wait until I hold my own babies. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, as I know it well. I would love to hear about your road trip. I take them frequently and it helps give me gratitude during an otherwise difficult season. We have so much in common, I’m not sure if this can be helpful, but have you ever gone through any reproductive immunology testing? We just started through Dr. Braverman at http://www.preventmiscarriage.com. Perhaps it might be helpful for you as well? Keep the faith! And yes please sign up for updates so we can stay in touch! xo

      • Amanda t

        I’ve done some testing but not too much. We aren’t sure why it happened. Each loss was different. I have consulted by phone with Braverman but the expense was something we’ve tabled for now. I have to consider IVF for the future because all of our other efforts have failed. I will keep you updated on the road trip! Thank you for responding.