child-free, Childless, Childlessness, Infertility, miscarriage, Mother's Day, Mother's Day 2018, motherhood, Single, single in the sanctuary
How many of our churches are Mother’s Day free spaces?
I ask this because many women do not want to come to church on Mother’s Day. We don’t want people to talk about it, or reward moms or even just celebrate a roll that we are supposed to embrace. There are many people in our churches who can’t have children or don’t want to or had awful parents.
They do not want to come to church on Sunday.
And yet, we look at this like a holy day. While parents are holy people, Mother’s Day is not on the liturgical calendar. Granted, the Law tells us to honor our mothers and fathers. But scripture also gives us many instances when women were hurting because they couldn’t conceive.
Would Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, Rebekah, Tamar be welcome in our worship places this Sunday? What about Elizabeth, mother of John?
Ideally, it would be wonderful to stop with the Mother’s Day gushing in sacred spaces – because women who want to worship but who also are triggered by this day won’t show up. They aren’t welcome because they do not feel safe in the space. Their emotions are not strong enough to carry them from the beginning to end of the service.
We may even give all of the women flowers or candy.
We may even pray for all women – including the ones hurting and enduring loss.
But they do not feel safe.
So on this Mother’s Day – even when our churches will go ahead with handing flowers and candy to women – please remember the following:
Not all women are mothers
Not all women are able to bear children.
Some moms in the room may have lost a baby.
Some have had miscarriages.
Some are facing fertility issues.
Some women have not had the opportunity to have children because life happened.
Some do not want to have them.
Some people in the room have had traumatic relationship with their moms.
Some people lost their mom in the past year and didn’t realize how this day in church would be triggering to them.
Some people have two dads or never had a mom because of family structures. A day like this brings awkwardness – even if we honor the fathers a month later.
Some women came to church just to worship and not focus on this.
So acknowledge this day if you must – but do so in a way that is inclusive in nature. Honor all women because it takes a village to raise children. Honor families who have lost mothers in the past year. Ask families who hurt on this day how can we make worship more welcoming of them. If you have two services maybe keep one Mother’s Day-free.
It’s our job to make sure to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Our call is to ensure those who hurt are comforted, those who celebrate feel joyful and to challenge preconceived notions and stereotypes when the opportunity arises.
And sometimes all of that happens on Mother’s Day.
See my other stories regarding grief on Mother’s Day:
Between Childless and Childfree
Affirming All Women in Church on Mother’s Day
When Cheesecake is More Than Cheesecake
The Plans We Make