Walking with Childless Mothers


This topic in our series is not an easy one…

We are talking about being a Child-LESS mother. Meaning, women who have suffered the loss of a child through tragic events, illnesses, or miscarriages. Women who have struggled with infertility and women who are waiting in the endless adoption cycle eagerly awaiting their yet to be child. 

I have struggled with what to title this topic. I have debated even tackling this one. I have written and rewritten what I want to say here. I feel completely inadequate to be speaking on this very difficult and emotion-filled subject. I have not experienced any of these seasons on my Motherhood journey, but I have many friends who have. 

I have sat with amazing women in their grief as they struggled to breathe after they have lost their child. I have listened, learned, and loved dear friends as they hold their breath in hope for the adoption agency to call and say they were chosen or that the infertility treatment this month worked. These women are truly what I picture when I think of strength. They face the unimaginable on a daily basis and their love for their children (even the ones they don’t have yet) are what drive them to press on. I feel these women are often overlooked in the conversations surrounding motherhood and I want to make their journeys visible to us all, so we can walk with them in this season. 

This face of motherhood is without question the most emotionally heavy one yet. I have asked a few of my friends who are walking or have walked this road to share pieces of their heart with me for this series. I hope their words, their stories, and their wisdom help you find the strength to breathe today.

Q: What do you wish people knew about your journey?

A: “I will forever be thankful that my daughter was in my life, no matter how short the time with her was.” - Mama who lost her baby girl when she was 2 years old.

“Please don’t shy away from asking about my child. They were never meant to be the elephant in the room.”  “I love when people ask about my child. I love to talk about her and say her name.” - All the grieving Mamas I asked this question to.

“Well meaning comments such as, ‘If it’s God’s will…”, ‘If you just relax…’, OR ‘If you stop trying it’ll just happen’ are not helpful! If someone you know is dealing with infertility issues, be there to listen without giving unsolicited advice. AND if you have children, there may be times they will need to distance themselves from you, not because you have done something wrong, but because the heartbreak is sometimes just too hard to face. Don’t take it personally.” - A Mama who dealt with infertility issues and procedures for years.

“Although the journey with my son’s cancer diagnosis was long and hard, it taught me to embrace life and live it to the fullest.” - A Mama who lost her teenage son to cancer.

“The choice to adopt a child can be full of stigma, and people have lots of opinions, some solicited and supportive, and some not so much. It’s too much to have to explain your infertility and why you’re choosing to adopt and potentially be met with judgment, especially when you’re already feeling judged, broken, and unworthy for not being able to conceive a child.” - A Mama-To-Be waiting for her child on the endless and difficult adoption rollercoaster.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give women going through the same thing?

A: “Allow yourself grace. Extend grace to ALL moms, you just never know what someone is going through that’s not visible from the outside.” “TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES! Don’t be self conscious in front of the camera…capture the moments when you have them.” - All of the Mamas who have lost a child gave this advice.

“Breathe and trust the process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Lean on trusted friends and family for support.” - A Mama-To-Be awaiting her adopted child.

“You will have days when you feel broken…when you feel like you belong on the ‘Island of Misfit Toys’, but remember you are stronger than you know.” - A Mama who struggled with infertility for years.

Q: Is there something you do, someone in your life, a gesture someone has made, or a particular practice (or meditation) you have or use that has helped you on your hardest days?

A: “Looking through pictures, talking about her life, always brings a smile to my face. I love to remember her.” - A Mama who lost her daughter

“Ice cream. Lots of ice cream.” - A Mama-To-Be a on the adoption waiting list

“Don’t be afraid to seek help. No one knows how deep the grief is after the loss of a child unless they’ve been through it. Seek therapy, medication if needed, and/or support groups.” - A grieving Mama who lost her son

“Prayer! Lots of prayer!! I talk to God A LOT!"

"My dog!"

"My supportive friends and family who surrounded me in love and prayers.”

- All the grieving Mamas I interviewed AND many of the moms who have dealt with infertility and awaiting a child through adoption

Many of the moms I have spoken to shared that their journey in these seasons of Motherhood were understandably the most difficult of their lives. Some even battled suicidal thoughts in their darkest moments. 

As we shine the light on the stories of these remarkable women, I am reminded that while I may not fully comprehend their experiences, I can certainly sit with them in their grief. Grief is a bitch and its path winding and unpredictable. For these brave women, it’s intertwined with unmet dreams, deferred hope, and extreme disappointment, but their grief doesn’t need to be the ‘elephant in the room’; instead let’s openly discuss it, share memories, say the names of the loved ones they have lost, and talk openly about their journey. 

It has been an honor to have been entrusted with their stories, a testament to their courage and resilience. Whether facing the challenges of childlessness, infertility, or navigating the adoption journey, we can foster a community of support, empathy, and unwavering love to these incredible souls.

Below, you’ll find a list of support groups, counseling services, and insightful articles to aid in navigating the complex emotions that accompany these difficult topics.

  1. Blogs, Articles, and Support Groups:

    • Still Standing Magazine: A website and community dedicated to helping parents cope with child loss and infertility. They offer a wide range of articles, personal stories, and resources.

    • The Infertility Voice: Written by Keiko Zoll, this blog provides a mix of personal stories, advocacy, and resources for those dealing with infertility.

    • Adoption.com: Their blog section covers various topics related to adoption, including waiting to be chosen as an adoptive parent.

    • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: Offers resources, support, and advocacy for foster care adoption, including information on the adoption process and post-adoption support services.

    • Adoption Network Law Center: Provides adoption services, support, and resources for birth mothers, adoptive parents, and adoptees, including counseling and legal assistance.

    • Resolve - The National Infertility Association: The National Infertility Association: Offers a blog covering various aspects of infertility, including emotional support and advocacy.

    • Grief Out Loud: A non-profit organization providing support to parents and families grieving the loss of a child, including online support groups and resources.

    • National Adoption Foundation: Provides financial assistance, education, and support services for those navigating the adoption process.

    • The Miscarriage Association: Offers information, support, and resources for those affected by miscarriage, ectopic and molar pregnancy.

    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Provides free, confidential support and resources for individuals in distress, including those experiencing suicidal thoughts. They offer 24/7 support via phone, chat, and text messaging. Call or Text 988

  2. Social Media Accounts to Follow:

    • @ihadamiscarriage (Instagram): Jessica Zucker's account provides support, community, and resources for those who have experienced miscarriage.

    • @resolveorg (Twitter): Resolve's Twitter account shares articles, resources, and advocacy efforts related to infertility.

    • @adopttogether (Instagram): Provides inspiration, stories, and resources for those going through the adoption process.

    • @griefsupportformoms (Instagram): Helping grieving moms navigate grief and loss

    • @lifeafterjoce (Instagram): Sharing the real and raw versions of childhood cancer and child loss

  3. Podcasts:

    • The Healing Podcast: Hosted by Dr. Katie Schubert, this podcast focuses on healing and support after pregnancy loss.

    • Beat Infertility: Hosted by Heather Huhman, this podcast features interviews with experts and personal stories to support those dealing with infertility.

    • Adoptees On: While not specifically for waiting adoptive parents, this podcast offers insights into the adoption experience from adoptees' perspectives, which can be valuable for prospective adoptive parents.

  4. Online Communities and Support Groups:

    • Reddit: There are several subreddits dedicated to infertility, pregnancy loss, and adoption, such as r/infertility, r/miscarriage, and r/Adoption.

    • Facebook Groups: Search for groups related to infertility support, pregnancy loss support, or adoption waiting families. Examples include "RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association" and "Adoptive Families Circle."

1 comment

  • Carolyn MijaresWertz

    Thank you for talking about “it”! Miscarriage is a club that you never want to be a part of. Cory and I were experiencing infertility early in our marriage and it was hard. I wanted to talk about it but no one else did. I felt dirty and unworthy. It was difficult when even your doctor swept it under the rug.

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