When you become a mom at 38 years old, it automatically implies that you have spent a good number of Mother’s Days not being a mom. Some of those Mother’s Days I was ok with not having joined the Mommy Club but other annual celebrations of moms were intensely painful.

For many years I was too busy to really think about the fact that I wasn’t a mom yet. I also lived along the coast of California and culturally, there are a lot of differences between that region and the South; where in some circles, motherhood is elevated to sainthood status. There were years that Mother’s Day was fine for me and then there were years when Mother’s Day was horrendous from the time I woke up to the time I finally fell asleep exhausted from sadness, jealousy and anger. Yes, therapists are human and experience all the same emotions that everyone else does!

During the rough years, I chose to avoid all social media on Mother’s Day because it was just a slap in the face that I had no children and therefore didn’t warrant being honored THAT day. Going to church was also really embarrassing because often the Pastor would ask all the moms in attendance to stand so they could be honored. So every woman, except me, stood to be applauded for her ability to truly function as the woman she was created to be; that’s how it felt but not what really was happening. Not every woman stood and becoming a mom isn’t the only function to which we were created.  But it felt that way in the moments where I was glued to my chair while watching those around me stand to be honored as moms. It was so awful that some Mother’s Days I didn’t go to church. It was the best choice for me at the time.

Fast forward to 38 years old and poof! I got my official card to join the Mommy Club. Upon arrival to this club I realized something. I was exceedingly grateful to have had the years before to develop as a woman. My child wasn’t my identity and my own person-hood had been firmly established prior to becoming a mom. I saw the value of it in my parenting as well.

So if today is a day of celebration for you, wonderful. If it is a painful reminder that you are not yet a member of the Mommy Club, be gentle with yourself and do what works for you today. Continue to hope for that child you long for and get busy doing life in a way that is pleasing to you; while you wait. I promise you will be a better mom for having had the time to develop your own hopes, goals and dreams that are separate from motherhood alone.

I also want to acknowledge that many women are moms but their children are not with them physically and are in heaven. The grief and intense pain these moms feel is incomprehensible.  Why life is so hard I do not have an answer to. All we can do is continue to walk out each day and hopefully the Lord will be able to give us insight into our sufferings. For the moms who have lost children, please know that grief does have a way of not being as intense and as painful as days, weeks and months pass. Give yourself all the time you need to come to terms with your loss and surround yourself with understanding people.

I say Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have children at home, in heaven or in their hearts. A mother’s heart is not limited by the physical presence of a little one…