When Mother’s Day brings pain

Dear Gigi,
As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to go hide under a rock. My mother was no mother to me and was concerned for her own self far more than for me. It took me years to even want to consider having children myself because of my lack of a role model.  I figured I’d just be bad at it, too.  Finally, after meeting and marrying a good Christian man, I decided I was ready.  But then I couldn’t get pregnant.  Now, several years later, I’m still angry about it all.  How do I get through Mother’s Day?

First of all, big hug!  I’m sorry that Mother’s Day evokes so many painful emotions.  You’re not alone, and many have complex relationships with their mothers.  Others have lost their moms, sometimes prematurely.  Your story is particularly poignant because of your complicated relationship with your mother alongside the inability to get pregnant.

My daughter and her husband struggled with infertility for nine long years before finally adopting.  Every Mother’s Day she just wanted to stay in bed all day, avoiding church and people, especially anyone with children.  It was easy to be angry with God because after all, she’d done everything right.  She’d waited until she was married, finished college, bought a house, and then, the time was right to start a family. But month after agonizing month, nothing. She begged God, she cried out to God, she shook her fist at God. 

I know your question only secondarily refers to infertility, but I tell my daughter’s story because of what helped her turn a corner in her grief: the words to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, God is God.  These powerful lyrics remind us God is in charge of our lives, not us, and we can only see “part of the picture he’s painting.” We may not know why things happen the way they do, but you can rest assured, God is in control.

Once we ascribe to God his rightful control over our life, we can really begin to rest in his love and experience his comfort.  Don’t gloss over this. God is in control. Our job is to trust him in it. When we trust God with our unmet expectations, he comes alongside and holds us up with the deepest of consolation that reveals a depth of contentment we didn’t know was possible. Sometimes God allows hardship for this very reason.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (see below) gives us a look at what good can come from our personal pain. When we share the comfort we receive from God, and another can experience it by trusting in Christ, we have borne beautiful fruit.

I pray that you will be able to surrender control of your life to God. This is the first step to finding peace.  I pray that you will be able to experience God’s comfort in your heart of hearts and firsthand know the depth of his love.  I pray that sharing the comfort you have received will make a difference in the life of another, as well as in yours.

And on Mother’s Day, consider a long walk at the nearest state park, with your husband and a picnic lunch.  Enjoy nature, make a gratitude list together and be thankful.  Pray together that whatever God has for you, you would be ready to receive it with open hands and open hearts.


What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.—2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (TLB)