Mother’s Day is around the corner, and it’s customary to acknowledge what our mothers mean to us.
However, at this time of year, I can’t help but think of women who’ve wanted to be mothers and who for whatever reason, have not been blessed with children. Mother Day must be a painful reminder of what they’re missing.
It’s common to want what we don’t have. I know people who refer to childless couples as DINKS – double income, no kids. All they see is the free time and financial freedom that comes from having no children. What they don’t see is the suffering some couples endure in silence.
I know, because of several women in my life who are in this position. They tell me the pain begins soon after marriage when everyone expects to hear ‘baby news’. They attend countless baby showers and celebrate the birth of friends’ children, while the months turn to years and they remain childless.
They haven’t quite learned how to respond to people who, years later, still ask when they’re going to start a family. They don’t know how to react when people boldly suggest they adopt.
Christmas and Easter must be especially difficult for them, as most holidays revolve around children. And while they always enjoy seeing nieces, nephews and friends’ children at family gatherings, they never get to play Santa or see their own children race down the stairs searching for Easter eggs.
My friend says it gets worse as she gets older. These days she’s invited to her friends’ children’s weddings and baby showers. She sees her friends enjoying family times with children and grandchildren…while facing the prospect of growing old alone.
As a mother, I believe the expression, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, especially in today’s world of working parents and latch key kids. It’s important to have caring role models in our children’s lives. Extended family plays a huge part in their development.
The childless women I know, whether they recognize it or not, are having a huge impact on children. One is a public school principal, and her compassion and caring attitude for her students has influenced and benefited them greatly.
Another friend, a godmother to her two nieces, is every bit a mother to them. She lights up when she tells me the latest about her girls. She showers them not only with gifts (she’s a shopping fanatic!) but with plenty of love and attention as well.
My sister has been a blessing to me, and a ‘second mom’ to my children. When they were born, she was one of the first to hold them and when my seven-year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, she came to be at our side. Other times she drove for hours to see my daughter compete in a thirty second swim race. She’s always encouraged and supported my son in whatever he’s chosen to do.
I can’t help but see what wonderful mothers these women would have been. But perhaps if they’d had children of their own, they wouldn’t have been available to play such an important part in the lives they’re influencing now.
Take a look around this Mother’s Day. If you know women like these, send a card or flowers or simply tell them what they mean to you and your children. Encourage their relationship and keep them informed of what’s happening in your child’s life. You’ll find if you do that when your children are young they’ll establish a great bond, and when they’re older, they’ll continue the relationship on their own..
So this Mother’s Day I salute all the childless women who suffer in silence, but still find it in their hearts to love and care for the children of others. It takes a village to raise a child, and we’re all blessed to have these women in our lives.