When It’s Mother’s Day and You Aren’t a Mother

Originally posted on, May 7th, 2016

Simply Southern Cottage - Mother's Day When You Aren't a Mother

It’s the day of the year we celebrate the one who chose life and brought us bouncing into this great, big, wide world. But what do you do when it’s Mother’s Day and you’re not a mother?

I fall on the “not being a mother” end of the spectrum.  There was a season in my life when this day glared the obvious.  And. it. hurt.  And to make the pain worse, for the majority of my adult life, I’ve lived far away from my mother and wasn’t able to celebrate with her.  So off to church I’d go, where mothers are on display and honored on this special day (as they should be). The pastor would gleefully ask for all mothers to stand and be honored, and I’d sink down in my seat with embarrassment.  Then, I’d listen to him intently for a glimmer of motherly advice I could maybe apply somewhere down the road.  Next, I’d either go out to lunch with other “non-mother” friends or go home for a long, winter’s, Sunday afternoon nap.  The day would pass… I’d be so over it, and all would fade into oblivion until the following May.

I can’t quite put my finger on the exact time it happened, but one Mother’s Day, things were different and have remained different. I no longer mourned the fact I wasn’t a mother.  I honestly began to celebrate NOT being a mother just as much as a mother celebrates being a mother.  I mean, how many nearly 40 year olds do you know that are childless?  We are definitely in the minority.  I would never glamorize being single and childless, but when I decided to optimize this season, my perspective drastically changed.  Being an older, wiser, “non-mother” definitely has its advantages.  Just as mothers have opportunities I do not share, I have opportunities for increased flexibility in almost every aspect of my life.

“I would never glamorize being single and childless, but when I decided to optimize this season, my perspective drastically changed.”

Understanding the Lord can quickly change circumstances and seasons (remember He IS the God of suddenlies), it became evident I should embrace this season of being childless. It could or could not last.  Just this week, my 5 year old niece flawlessly quoted her current memory verse and it sums up my current season: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11b.  Trust me, this has NOT always been easy, and I definitely have failed at being content. But ultimately, I trust the Lord. I trust His plan. I trust His timing.

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11b.

There was definitely a season I longed to be a mother.  A season where nothing would do but to swaddle my own flesh and blood.  And granted, in this season of singleness, I wonder if I will ever birth a child? Maybe I will one day open my heart to a child birthed by another?  Maybe I will remain childless? Only the Lord knows.  So this Mother’s Day, another Mother’s Day of being a “non-mother,” I will choose to be content whatever the circumstances.  I will choose to live, to thrive and to wait expectantly for what the Lord has in store.

If you are reading this, are a fellow “non-mother” and you DESPERATELY want a sweet baby, please know I feel your pain in the depths of my spirit and have walked in your shoes.  I have cried BUCKETS of tears as I stood on the sidelines while other families grew and blossomed.  It is ONLY by the grace of God I am content in this season.  He has washed me with a peace that passes understanding.  I pray for you to experience this peace also!  If you are in a current season of agony and lost hope, I believe WHOLEHEARTEDLY the Lord WILL redeem your pain and you WILL see His glory.  He bottles every tear you cry (Psalm 56:8).

And, if you are reading this and you ARE a mother, I praise God for you!  You are blazing the trail before me.  You bless me with your testament of transcending love.  You are the glue holding your family together.  I observe you with awe and the utmost respect.  I love your unselfish heart, your unseen acts of kindness and the way you light up when you look at your child.  Maybe I’ll grow up and be just like you one day. <3

So whether you are a mother or not, what additional advice would you share for non-mothers who may be struggling this Mother’s Day?

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  1. Jaya says:

    Sara, friend, you are a beautiful spirit and gorgeous writer. There are so many emotions around “motherhood” for those women who have children and those who don’t; those who have lost children and those who are having trouble conceiving; those who are mothers to fur babies and those who find themselves in a life they never expected, good or bad. I truly believe that one of the reasons we are having this human experience is to learn gratitude and feel awe for the moment we are in. When we do that, heaven blooms on earth with every step that we take, and YOU are a shining example of that brave decision – to find joy no matter what! In conclusion, ENJOY YOUR BEAUTIFUL CHILD FREE LIFE by doing whatever the heck you want to do whenever you want to do it hahahah, and if you ever get a hankering, I’ll drop Ari off for you to watch for a day!!!! Love you and your transparency. You are a true gift to all who know you.

  2. Debbie R says:

    Bless you, sweet Sam beautiful❤️❤️❤️

  3. Debbie says:

    I, too, am a “non-mother” and have accepted it. My mother is in heaven so I no longer celebrate Mother’s Day. What bothers me about this day is how it has become so generic that everyone is wished a happy Mother’s Day greeting similar to saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter”. Strangers have offered Mother’s Day greetings without knowing my circumstances but when people who know me say “Happy Mother’s Day” to me it’s annoying. It should not be a general greeting to everyone with whom you come in contact.

  4. Cathy says:

    Sara, you would be a wonderful mother and are to Jax! I admire you so much, the Lord has truly blessed you. I am a mother and a grandmother, sometimes I question if I did everything I could in raising my children correctly. Just pray constantly for all of us to be Godly!

  5. Mary says:

    As a non mother, I’m skipping church tomorrow….and I’m the pianist! Haha!

  6. Janet says:

    After 5 years of letters and waiting, we were able to adopt a baby girl. I had asked the Lord to please help me be content if there was to be no baby, and suddenly there was a phone call. My cousins gave me a family baby shower. It’s funny but when I was pinned with that pink baby sock-rose corsage, it was real. Of course, the Lord’s timing and plan were perfect. She’s my pride and joy, and we are very close. God’s peace be with you!

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