In Genesis 30, verse 1, I encountered one of the most emotionally charged verses in all of scripture:
“And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.”
Though none of my patients have said this to me, I see it in their eyes every day. There is so much pain and urgency in Rachel’s words. It echoes through the centuries the cumulative heartache of all those who look on Mother’s Day with nothing short of desperation.
Well-meaning clergy pass out flowers to all the women in church in honor of the day, but nothing can take away the longing to wear the flower “in earnest” like the sisters in the congregation who have little ones to hold and love. Many choose to just avoid that day rather than endure those emotions one more time.
How to support future moms on Mother’s Day
So, what’s to be done? To start with, those of us like friends, family, coworkers and congregation, can strive to avoid reacting like Rachel’s husband. Instead of responding with empathy, he responded with anger when Rachel demanded what seemed the impossible:
“And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?”
For those of us who cannot imagine the pain, we would do well to follow the counsel of one who could completely, “… do good to them that hate you …” Returning kindness for anger can help heal those whose hope has waned.
For those who know the pain all too well, how do you hold on to hope? Rachel gives a good example:
“And she said, behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her”
This does not mean that to hold on to hope you must give up your core hopes. This story just highlights two principles of hope:
- When you face a failure sometimes all you can do is just hang on. So do that. Just hang on until you have the emotional space to take the next step and …
- Think of something else to try.
Our Mother’s Day principles of hope
There are lots of ways modern medicine can help you. That is what I do. I give hope by helping you hang on and when you are ready, think of something else to try.
Rarely that means focusing on what you are really trying to achieve – a family. That’s what Rachel did – and one way or another, her mother’s days were transformed from a source of pain to a day of rejoicing and gratitude. And so can yours.