On My Mind: The Dreaded Words…
Happy Mother’s Day!!
How exactly do you handle Mother’s Day when you are not a mother?
I am one of those women who has sat through years of Mother’s Days and cringed, cried, fumed, and almost burst with anger, sorrow, failure, betrayal…you name it…every emotion. I know and understand the pain that is hard for some to understand. I also know that we can live beyond this yearly public reminder of who we are not. I know that it does not need to destroy us.
I know that we can find confidence and greater strength by making a specific plan…we could call it a “Mother’s Day Plan of Action”…a plan of how you will respond this year (and this year can always be better than last year, right?).
After sharing a couple of my own ideas to add to your “Plan of Action”, may I share some great resources where you can find additional ideas which you adapt to fit your needs? They are quite intriguing…
Ideas from me:
- It is all about distraction and redirection for me! I have often found it helpful to talk my mind into considering Mother’s Day as a celebration of my own mother, rather than a celebration of my “motherly” status. As I have sat in church during talks paying tribute to mothers, it takes all my strength, but I think about how they apply to my mother. I must admit that it is easy for thoughts to “sneak” their way in and the result is usually intense anger (and tears when I am not in public), but I have found the emotions to be not as intense when I am thinking of my mom. (On the right…that is a picture of my Mom)
- Spend part of the day considering how you are a mother. We often consider that in order to be a mother, you must have a child. We know that is not true. My favorite dictionary friend (a.k.a. dictionary.com) taught me that a mother can also be…
1. A woman exercising control, influence, or authority like that of a mother.
2. Someone that exercises protecting care over something else.
3. Someone who is the origin or source of something else.
I also love considering the verb form of “mother”…to acknowledge oneself the author of, to give origin or rise to, to care for or protect like a mother. We could sit and ponder that for hours! But, back to my suggestion…”spend part of the day considering how you are a mother”. What are you the author of? What and WHO do you care for or protect? What have you created? Who have you influenced? How? I reverence each of your answers because each answer makes you a mother.
- Undoubtedly you have all read Sister Sheri Dew’s talk “Are We Not All Mothers?”. Mother’s Day is a fine time to re-read it and to be reminded about how “Motherhood is more than bearing children. … It is the essence of who we are as women.” I invite you to make it a part of your “Mother’s Day Plan of Action”.
- Plant flowers. I know when to start planting new things in my garden…Mother’s Day; it is my measure of when the cold of spring frosts are behind us and when the life within a plant will flourish. Mother’s Day is when my yard begins to look beautiful. Plan to plant some flowers in a pot outside your home or a new bush or tree in your yard as a symbol of life and your ability to nurture and nourish. I always recommend having a “Perky Pink” plant in your garden (see that picture? that is it).
- Reach out to someone else you know who is dealing with infertility. You know how difficult it is, so why not reach out and make the experience better for someone else? Send flowers, send a note or an email, call…do something that will help your friend know that someone is aware of her.
- Start a Mother’s Day journal. I know that I am encouraged by snippets from General Conference talks. Consider having a journal where you collect thoughts from prophets and other church leaders that help you focus your attention on who you are instead of who you are not. You could even add scriptures or quotes from other well-spoken people (there are so many out there). On Mother’s Day (and on hard days in between), read the quotes and give yourself a much needed pick-me-up. Here are some ideas:
Our lives can be “biographies of faith”; we can be women “whom God has honored because they relied on Him in times of their extremity” (Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, 101).
“A quality life is one that positively influences others and makes the world around it a better place in which to live. A quality life is one that is constantly growing, expanding its horizons and enlarging its borders. A quality life is one that is filled with love and loyalty, patience and perseverance, kindness and compassion. A quality life is one that is based on eternal potential and not confined to this life only. A quality life is a life well-lived” (M. Russell Ballard, Our Search for Happiness, 74).
“I honor women who are not mothers. They know that motherhood is but one of the realms of womankind. The virtue and intelligence of women are uniquely applicable to other realms as well, such as compassionate service and teaching. . . .Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within. And her patience is much more apparent than any imperfection. (See D&C 67:13) . . . Feelings of worth come when a woman follows the example of the Master. Her sense of infinite worth comes from her own Christlike yearning to reach out with love, as He does” (Russell M. Nelson, “Woman—Of Infinite Worth,” Ensign, November 1989, 20).
Here are some other places to find ideas:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2213962_support-infertile-friend-mothers-day.html (I love this one because it gives ideas for how friends and family can help their infertile friends on Mother’s Day)
I wish each of you luck this week as you create your “Mother’s Day Plan of Action”. I know that it will be hard to endure this next week, but I have confidence in your ability to find strength within and to be guided by the Spirit. Heavenly Father is keenly aware of you and loves you beyond measure.
3 May 2010