Waiting, Watching, and Wallowing: When You Aren’t Yet a Mom on Mother’s Day

I grew up in old school church.   You know the type:  wooden pews, four-hundred page hymnals, red carpet, carved communion table, Jesus picture (with light) behind the pulpit, King James Bible.   

Every Mother’s Day, the pastor would stand up front and beckon all the mothers in the congregation to rise.  The rest of us would applaud them.  After the service, the pastor would stand at the back of the church and hand out single-stemmed roses to each mother.

It was a sweet gesture, and of course, we want to honor mothers, but looking back as an adult, one who didn’t give birth to her children, the whole situation had to have been incredibly awkward for some.  I wonder if there were a handful of ladies who didn’t attend services every Mother’s Day.  I wonder how those who did attend, but didn’t have the title of “mom,” felt remaining seated while we showered adoration upon the other women.   

Mother’s Day is loaded.   It means watercolor greeting cards and cheesy “mom” jewelry.   It means an awkward but well-intentioned breakfast-in-bed.   It means flowers and homemade art.   And it is everywhere, for weeks on end, beating those who haven’t entered into mommy membership.

I spent a handful of these holidays waiting.  Waiting for the call that would change my life.  Waiting for someone to decide I deserved to be a mommy.  Waiting for another mother to surrender her baby to me.

I spent holidays watching.  Watching others be handed cards and roses.  Watching others rub rounded bellies and bask in the new mom glow.  Watching honor be bestowed upon every other woman, it seemed, but me.    

Waiting and watching.  Waiting and watching.  And then, of course, wallowing.  Wallowing in the waiting and watching.  Wallowing in a pity party so epic there should have been invitations and cocktails and confetti.   Wallowing in hopelessness, jealousy, despair, frustration, and apathy.

This is completely normal, but it is not easy.   There is no way around the difficulties that present themselves during any adoption journey.  You must walk through the pain.   It’s frightening to think that after whatever loss brought you to adoption, you are forced to travel further through hardship.  Seemingly, the journey will never end.   You ping-pong between hurdle after hurdle.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  

It’s exhausting.  Infuriating.  Disheartening.  

To the woman waiting to adopt, to celebrate Mother’s Day, I want to know you are not alone.  Many of us have been where you are.   We get you.   We see you.   We cherish you.    We will celebrate with you when your day comes.   We will encourage you.   We are here, the midst of the crowds.   

This is exactly what Kindred + Co. exists.  So we can be there for one another, uplifting the ones who are weak and discouraged.  Celebrating the victories big and small.   Loving on moms and moms-to-be.   We are here.  You are here.  We are in this together.   

For more encouragement on your journey, check out Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey:  52 Devotions and a Journal, co-authored by me and Madeleine Melcher (an adoptee).  

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