There are so many ways a heart can break.

Originally written May, 2017
Revised countless times

I was really looking forward to this mother's day. Really! I had spent the day prior creating a floral arrangement for my own mom (it turned out lovely). I'd sat down to write out some truly heartfelt letters to mothers in my life. And I was very much looking forward to the treat the elders quorum would hand out during sacrament, hoping it was chocolate (It was!).

But I woke up sobbing. Because my heart is a little broken.

Longing mother hearts often get chalked up to one single thing: infertility.
And that single thing has the ability to break ones heart into a million pieces a million times over. It is no joke.

That's not the only thing that can break a longing mother's heart.

Here's a list of circumstances that are often the loneliest and quietest of heart break for a hopeful  mother:
-mental or emotional instability
-the loss of a child
-physical and/or mental pain from abuse
-hopeful adoption
-being single
-a fostering mother
-past trauma
-a partner who is unsure of being a parent
-a partner who doesn't want children at all
-complicated work situations
-difficult childhood & parent relationships

*I'm sure there are many more I haven't even considered! Please feel free to add to the list.

The way that we see trials in our life can have a huge affect on one's healing. But we often look at trials in a very black and white way that doesn't leave much room for loving the person who is suffering.

Here's some ways we tend to look at trials:

"Real" trials
These happen TO you. AT you almost. They are clearly an act of God or horrible luck but can in no way be connected to the individual for blame. We can talk about these trials at church and in public, these are the kind where people bring warm casseroles to your home.

The "Trials" we "bring" upon ourselves
Maybe it's in our head (and therefore "a choice"). Or maybe it's in part because of who we married. Or maybe we straight up made a horrible decision at some point. These trials might have an edge of taboo to them. Don't expect any warm meals for these trials. And please don't talk about them. They make people uncomfortable.

The real issue with looking at trials this way is the isolation it creates. If, in the effort to be more open, we only exclusively open up about the trials that happen AT us then we end up creating a whole lot of lonely spaces. For hearts to break.

I've experienced both the happened at me trials (not being able to have kids yet...And kidney stones. My doctor assured me It's not dietary so absolutely positively not my fault!) but I've also experienced some of the others. Like the fact that for a very long time I was the sole bread-winner. Or that my mind wasn't (and sometimes still isn't) totally healthy, especially during the winter. Or sincerely not being able to afford to have a kid (especially when extra stuff is involved in the kid making process and it aint cheep!). There are some trials that are still so tender for me I even have a hard time talking to Brando about them. This is NOT the place to insert "have you read this talk" and challenge ones faith.

Trials are trials. They are hard as hell. No matter if they happened to us, at us, around us, or because of us.

This is me being raw, unedited, and straight from the heart. This isn't meant to cast shade on anyone, mothers or non-mothers. But rather, hopefully, to help shed light on heartache that the eye can't see. We will not be able to understand another's experience entirely. But we don't need to know exactly what one is going through to love them through it.

One of the best things someone has said to me was "That must be a heavy burden to carry". I felt so seen in that moment that that burden actually felt a little less heavy, almost as if that person took a bit of it off my shoulders.

Maybe we can just open our hearts a little bit. Shift our thinking from the two parties: those that can have babies and those that "can't". Understand that hearts are aching for motherhood but the reasons for the ache are many. They are complex and individual. They might not fall under the category of "infertility" but they can be their own version of heart breaking.

So now what? To be honest I'm not really sure. But definitely do this: Hug your moms. Hug your babies. And hug future moms. Love everyone. Build each other up. Take casseroles to all the people just for the heck of it. Open your heart to be sensitive to those around you. Give what love you can. It's the only way those broken hearts will heal.

P.S. I purposefully did not post this on Mother's day. Because I wanted to celebrate it. And I did (with a whole lot of embarrassing crying during church). People said the perfect things (like seriously winning talks! Women power!). I ate my chocolate and hugged my moms extra. And even though my heart still felt broken, I let the love and joy I felt be enough because this heart is breaking for a beautiful thing that I'm grateful to experience from all angles.

P.P.S. While this post is focusing on longing for motherhood, there are even more ways a heart can break. Women who don't have the desire to mother can feel the loneliest in this regard. How heartbreaking it might be for them in a culture or society that values motherhood so much.

oh, there are so many ways a heart can break!


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