How to Mother When You Long for More

Sun filtered through the blinds as I blinked my eyes open. A new day loomed before me. Another day I knew I was not pregnant and I likely would never be again. My empty womb seemed to mock me and though it was empty it felt heavy with despair and longing. My soul felt heavy too. Burdened with a longing that would not be met, saddled with questions of why, and the pain of apparent injustice.

As I shook my head to clear it, voices began to call to me from down the hall. Although I desperately wanted to stay in bed and brood over the pain and longing, I had children to tend. I often wondered and still do if having to tend children while dealing with infertility was easier or harder.

Yes I have children and I know I am incredibly blessed by their smiling faces and sweet hugs. I get to celebrate on Mother’s Day and I am already called, “mommy.” But the longing, grief, and wrestling is hard to deal with while wiping bottoms and keeping the peace. How do you mother while you grieve children who are not and may never be?

1. Know the truth about your heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Your heart, my heart – all our hearts – will tell us lies. They will convince us we will never be happy until we get pregnant or we have another child. Since joy is a fruit of the Spirit that is simply not true. Let us be aware that our hearts will lie and they can’t be trusted.

2. Tell your heart the truth. When your emotions threaten to take you down the road marked despair, remind your emotions who God is. He is your comforter, He is faithful, He is able, and He has good plans for you.

What is truth? Jesus says in John 17:17, “…Your [God’s] word is truth.” Use the sword of the Spirit to confront the lies your heart is telling you. Cling to the truth despite what your emotions are telling you. It may not “feel” true at first, but your mind can lead your emotions if you allow it.

3. Stay connected to God. The truth is difficult to remember if we are not in God’s word, involved in a community of believers, in prayer, and if we do not remember what God has done for us in our past and present.

During infertility struggles it is difficult to want to be connected to a God who is able, but may not fill the longings of our hearts. I encourage you to:

  • Start by reading the Psalms. David wrestles over difficult things in the Psalms and he comes out knowing God is good.
  • Find a church or Bible Study that will help keep you in God’s word.
  • Pray. Ask close friends and family to pray or seek out infertility support online.
  • Ask God to give you eyes to see His work in your life. This will help you see God keeps His promises and you can trust Him with your infertility.

4. Give thanks to choose joy. Thank God for the children you have, find joy in the little things. Ann Voskamp wrote, “The practice of giving thanks … is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to his presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see” (1,000 Gifts page 135). Oh that we would practice using our eyes to really see the joy that is before us even in the hard dark difficult times. May God give us eyes to see the joy and blessings surrounding us even as we long for new life to grow inside us.

5. Be present. Don’t let your longing and dreams keep you from engaging in what is now. Play with your children, laugh with them, tickle them, listen to their stories. Be available for your kids. Do something different to keep yourself aware. Go on a walk, play a game, sing a song, read a book, schedule a play-date or two. If your child realizes you are sad agree with them. If you feel led tell them on their terms what is causing your sadness. I told my children that I loved them so much I wanted more babies, but that God wasn’t allowing that to happen yet. I was surprised at both their empathy and their ability to not carry my grief once I explained it.

Mothering is a process not a destination. Infertility is a long journey that changes and challenges you. As you mother on the road marked infertility God is near. He is refining you, comforting you, and encouraging you. Some days will be bright and sunny, other days will be more difficult. Seek God despite the hurt and pain. It is through Him that you while you long for more children you can mother well.

by Angela Mackey

Angela Mackey

Angela Mackey

Angela Mackey lives in the Arkansas River Valley with her wonderfully supportive husband and three amazing children. She is passionate about teaching women to renew their minds through God’s word so that they may live transformed lives. Angela is a writer, speaker, nurse, and stay-at-home mom who openly shares her struggle with infertility. She loves college basketball (especially the Kansas Jayhawks), reading, writing, and laughing at herself. You can connect with her on her blog
Angela Mackey

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