Mother’s day is special. All the world stops to honor mothers. The women who give us life. Whether biologically or not. The women who raise us. Who love us. Who encourage and sacrifice for us. We love these women because they are our first loves. No matter if mom was your mom. Your grand mom. Your aunt. A foster parent. An adopted parent. A neighbor who took you in. A distant relative. Moms are special.
The 2nd Sunday in May is always a big day for flowers, brunch, gifts, cards, and family gatherings. We love dads too, but moms get our love on a much deeper level. We love to love our moms. They shape us. Guide us. Lift us. And sustain us. Even after they are gone.
But for a new generation of mostly professional women now in their 50’s, and 40s. Motherhood has eluded us. Whether we wanted it to or not. These women (of which I am one) struggles on Mother’s Day. We are left out. Overlooked. And we secretly hurt. Because like those who became moms, we wanted that too. Some did not. But many of us did.
But we also wanted professions, careers, and success. No-one gave us the memo that we had to choose one or the other. The good news is that many professional women (30%+ of black women, and over 65% of white women who are professionals have children and careers. Our Hispanic and Asian sisters are less likely to be affected by this phenomenon and the numbers are not there to share just yet.). But the opposite is that 70% of black women, and a growing number of our white sisters upward of 30%+ do not have the children they wanted. Some due to infertility. Some due to physical disabilities. Others simply ran out of time. And yes, although women are having babies well into our forties. It is not as common as it is for men over 50+ who can still father kids well into their 70s if they so desire.
Here is an excerpt from my best-selling, award-winning May 2011 book, Black Woman Redefined, Chapter #9:
“Of all my achievements in life, none has brought me greater joy
than being the only aunt to two little girls who stole my heart from the
moment they came into this world. Alexandra and Mikaela, now fourteen
and nine, are the light for me. Plain and simple, I love them like I
never knew I could experience love before. They make me laugh, they
bring me joy, they keep me young, and they fill that void in my heart
that I had reserved specifically for my own children. Many of my fellow
sisters out there know the joy of which I speak because, like me, you love
your nieces and nephews, and they are a big part of your life. They feel
like your children too, and you thank God for their presence.
Facing the fact that I am now entering my mid-forties and may not
bear my own children has been the most difficult experience of my life.
The hardest part of this journey as a single woman is that as you come to
grips with this challenge, you must deal with the loss alone. When I read
the part of former First Lady Laura Bush’s memoir on her trials with
infertility in her thirties, I was deeply touched because she nailed it; the
desire to have children (for most women) is a profound and instinctual
one that is like an ache when it is left unfulfilled.”
Here is my ask of all of you today: If you have a sister. A friend. An aunt. A neighbor. Who you know wanted kids but never had them. Honor her today. Thank her today. She has mothered children. She has given wisdom. She has sacrificed for her family. She has loved. Give her a hug. Tell her God did not forget her. Tell her that she has blessed your family. Your circle. And your life. We are all mothers. Biological or not. But for those who wanted babies of our own the ache runs deep, and it runs forever. Be kind to us today. Happy Mother’s Day!