How can the church minister to women who have no children?

Mother’s Day is painful for women without children (this can go for single or married women). It has been badly done, but it has also been really well done.

Dot – “I am going to read, since it is helpful for me to write down what I have to say.”

Mother’s Day might be the single most painful day for a woman who has not had children. It is also a day when a mother who lost a child to a miscarriage, or an untimely death can feel extreme pain. It’s good to be sensitive to those people on that day. During the very early years of our marriage our church planned baby dedications on Mother’s Day. While this is very meaningful to parents, it was quite painful to Larry and me. We simply stopped going to church on that day. To me, deciding what is appropriate for Mother’s Day and what may not be is a fine line. I personally don’t want Mother’s Day completely ‘watered down’ so that mothers feel as though the day lost a special touch. It should be CELEBRATED! Lynette has been very creative at Siloam, and from my perspective, has found many ways to include all women in the celebration. Time won’t allow me to mention all of them but here are two.

One year she spoke about different spheres women represent in the church and had women from the audience bring ‘tokens’ to symbolize something specific from that sphere. For example, she mentioned my mother and her recent death and I placed a lovely friendship quilt that had belonged to her over a rocking chair on the podium. Another time she had someone ‘stand in’ for a specific segment of women while she read a tribute to that group: Mothers of small children, a widow, women without children, women who had experienced a miscarriage, and many others. When she finished her tribute, the woman standing in took a long stemmed rose to another woman in the audience who also represented that sphere. I say this to emphasize how well it has been done and also for those of you who need ideas.

Naomi – A Mother’s Day practice that everyone can participate in is wearing corsages for your mother, with the color signifying if your mother is still living. Everyone has a mother.

It is not hard to make everyone feel included in special days like Mother’s Day. However, it is easy to unintentionally hurt someone.

Dot’s grandmother gave quilts to her grandchildren who had babies. “She was not intentionally neglecting me, but I told her, ‘Grandma, I don’t think I ever will have a baby, but I don’t want you to die without having one of your quilts.’ She kindly made me one, which I have been able to use at baby showers.”

Naomi – “Through the years, did you mind when people would talk to you about it? Or would you rather have close friends be the only ones to bring it up.”

Dot – “It is a subject if you are a close friend to bring up very carefully. It is difficult. Since we were private about it, we knew that people would not really be able to minister to us about it.”

Sabrina – “It is a really touchy subject.”

Dot – “It is very personal. Infertility treatment is very invasive, and infertility is not a topic that you can talk about very easily.”

Louella – Longing for a child is not just for married women. “A single woman I know has grieved because her entire life she wanted to get married and be a mother. She said, ‘My time is running out. Can I never hold a child in my arms and call her my own?’

Naomy – “Who are the right people to minister to you? Who ministered the best?”

Dot – “The people who did not exude discomfort around me because of my not having children. The ones who saw that I did have those skills.”

Lynette – “Those who recognized your nurturing.”


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