I can remember it like yesterday. Sitting in church on Mother's Day as all the other mommies stood while the church clapped for them in acknowledgment of their motherhood. Sitting. For three years I sat. I know women who sat for much longer than that; but for me, three years was an eternity. It had been three years since we had an early miscarriage. When we were told I would need help conceiving again, I took the drugs for a couple of months and quit. The mood swings, weight gain, and raging hormones just weren't something I wanted to deal with. We decided to foster to adopt. After a few months of classes and training, we were certified, and our home was open! Two days later, we got the call that twin girls had been born and needed placement. "Holy cow, that was fast"...my exact words to the girl on the other end of the line. "Yep. So are y'all available?" Of course we were! That was the longest 20 minute ride to the hospital, but soon we met the girls that would live with us for the most magical eight months of my life to that point.
Remember those fertility drugs I had taken for a couple of months? A week after the twins came to live with us, I found out I was pregnant: so much shock, disbelief, excitement. I would take three babies to church with me that year for Mother's Day: two on the outside, one on the inside. My husband took me to Dallas for lunch and a little trip to Louis Vuitton for my first Mother's Day gift. This Mother's Day would be different. This was the one I would stand proudly in church as a mom. Sure enough, Mother's Day came.
With tears in my eyes, I stood along with all the other moms feeling super proud and "hashtag" blessed. But I also looked around at friends who were still waiting. Women who also longed to be moms sat. And I felt guilty. They had waited longer than I had. They were taking the drugs and having the procedures. They were in the thick of infertility hell. But I stood.
Just a few short weeks later, the title of "biological" mom was stripped from me as an infection ripped through my body. I hoped and prayed as I laid there on bed rest that this baby would survive. He did not. As I stared at the sonogram screen, begging his little heart to beat, I knew I was back to square one. Starting over didn't seem appealing at all. We had the twins and had to wait to see what would happen there. At the time, it looked good for adoption, but you just never know. By September of that year, we knew: they would be going back to live with their mom. Again, my mom title became more of a distant hope than an actual reality. That mid-November day when the twins were driven out of our driveway was the darkest moment in our journey to parenthood, because it meant that that opportunity was gone. Now we were REALLY starting over.
We went from the hope of three kids to zero. And then Christmas came...literally and figuratively. I suspected I was pregnant but couldn't bring myself to take a test. But on Christmas Day at my parents' house, I took one. That little plus sign popped up as clear as day in an instant. Shock, disbelief, guarded excitement. Pregnancy after a miscarriage does that to you. It's not full-on excitement; it's hopeful and hesitant. I had been pregnant twice before with no baby to show for it, so I was fully prepared to accept failure it a third time, but I begged God not to ask me to do that again. I went into that next year at church on Mother's Day confident that God was going to answer my prayer. And He did. My precious rainbow baby, Samuel, was born that September. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for him. But I also remember those days of sadness and waiting.
With those moments in mind, I'm glad a lot of churches have stopped asking the moms to stand. I've been in services where they acknowledged moms who have babies in heaven, whose children have passed, or who are still waiting. I love that. It's so important to recognize that there are women around us who are hurting. So whether you're waiting to be a mom, mourning the loss of your sweet baby, or living the life you dreamed of with your kids, I stand with you. You are not alone. You are seen. You are loved.