to stand or not to stand

Adam thought I was acting weird when I rolled over Saturday night and told him I was not going to stand up at church on Sunday. He also took that to mean that we were not ever going to have a happy carefree Mother’s Day. I explained to him that my stand for injustice did not mean that I wasn’t happy, that I wasn’t excited to spend Sunday with my family, that I wasn’t looking forward to hearing my children sing at church. It simply meant that I refused to forget.

Remaining seated when the women were asked to stand was the only way that I could think to support and remember all of those who are still longing, and those who are still hoping. I remember what it was like to sit there, when I was dumb enough all those years ago to actually attend on Mother’s Day. The worst part of the service was always the end. If I did not stand, people would tell me I was a mother in spirit, or something else lame, and badger me until I stood. If I did stand, I would feel like a pretender, as if all eyes were on me feeling sorry for me. And the entire service, I thought about nothing else–just the decision to stand or not to stand. I suppose exiting is always an option, but that is even more lame. Now, after years of practice, I really don’t care what people think about my decision. And, truth be told, not many people notice, unless they are specifically looking. It is mostly in my mind. Of course, poor Mindy H. looked so confused when I did not want the gift she was passing down the row. Who could blame her. :) Whatev!

For me, enduring sappy mom-centered talks, and listening to the children sing (which was very sweet), was more than enough. The rest of my day was way better than church. I know that old habits die hard. I know that. We will see if, and how, I change over the next few years. But my current stance is that I would prefer to spend Mother’s Day away from church with my husband and children.

For me, it was just weird. And I really did try!!!

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8 Responses to to stand or not to stand

  1. Laurel says:

    Not that I am anywhere to close to actually recognizing my feelings about the whole day…but I feel like you do… even though it’s meant to be sweet etc…I would prefer it to be “women’s day” :)

  2. Jaime Lynne says:

    I respect your decision! Even though I had a true excuse not to attend church on Mother’s Day, I really didn’t want to go anyway. It took me years to figure out that I don’t HAVE to attend church on Mother’s Day. I Much prefer camping… Old habits do die hard, but I wish that at church they would take that moment to honor all women in the congregation because I truly believe that, children or no children, women play important nurturing roles in so many lives.

  3. Jaimee Hirschi says:

    I’m still confused on why some ward’s still have you stand in front of everyone & pass the gifts out that way?!… Our ward doesn’t do that, they just passed out chocolate bars to all women as we were leaving church. It seems to me that is the best way for every situation. And our ward was great w/just talking about women in general all 3 talks really pointed out “women” and not “mom’s” per say… I love my ward why can’t my ward be everyone’s??!!??!

  4. Wendi says:

    OMGoodness! I am right there with you!

    My husband is a pastor, and nothing was planned for Mother’s day up until 2 weeks prior. I hate it still. Remembering the heartache, the yearning inside… and ya know, I “mothered” a lot of kids, but dare I take that title from the “real” mothers… and maybe it is in my head, but I don’t think all of it, really is…

    Someone in the church asked if we could do a Mother-Daughter tea for Mother’s day. I need to learn to use my filter more, but I told her how limiting it was and women who had dtrs, no living mother, or distant rel’ship with their mother wouldn’t come… and what about the boys who would like to celebrate their moms? What about the women who want so badly to be mothers… what about them?

    So, what did we do? And yes, it was proposed by me, b/c we are expected to do something to honor mothers… We had the men serve all the women (from little girls to older women, with or without child) breakfast. No special gifts were given. A few memorable moments and words of appreciation were spoken over the ladies from various men.

    Instead of the church presenting the women with a flower or book, we asked the women and men to bring gifts to the altar to present to a women’s counseling center. It is a center that offers free sonograms & counseling to those contemplating abortion. They also provide support and help the mothers (whether wed/unwed, teen or older) start out by giving them donations like diapers, wipes, blankies, clothes, etc. We are collecting things thru Father’s day.

    Even though I know without a doubt, there are reasons much greater than I can understand why God chose for any of us to go on this path, it hurts still. I related so strongly to your post about the constant reminder of not being able to have a child and struggling with perfectionism… Inside at times, I want to scream at people when they are so inconsiderate! We have adopted, and I am so very in love with my family. I have wonderful children… but there is the pain within me that I didn’t get to carry them in my womb… will it always linger? or will it fade? Please God, take away my pain…

    Thank you for being so open with your posts. I wish I were able to put my thoughts on paper as eloquently as you. And thanks for standing with the ones sitting! Thanks for being an advocate for the hurting… for the barren… may God take away all of our pain, and give us the desires of our hearts…

    (Oh and the Mother-Daughter thing, will be a “Summer Day Brunch for the girls!” -totally NOT associated with a Mother’s Day theme…we’ll just do it much later in the summer!)

  5. Lindsey says:

    I am grateful for this blog, you know why? Because I have a lot to learn about how the things I might do or say could affect someone negativley. I don’t mean to hurt someone it is just my uncertanty on what to say or how to say it. I know a couple people in my ward who have this struggle. So I have a request, could you write about how to speak and act? I hope that is ok I would like to be comfortable in how I speak and act. I love you sis and stand beside your descision and agree that it is not right how they do Mothers Day in some wards. Like Jaimee’s ward T.H. hands out to all women and do it after sacrament is over. They do have the sappy talks so maybe we can change how the church celebrates this day do you think letters to salt lake could do some good?

  6. rachel says:

    Let me clarify, our church did ask ALL women to stand, not just the mothers. Although I put that in my post, I think it has been overshadowed by everyone’s love for me. As my e-friend, Wendi, helped confirm in her comment, this is not just an LDS thing–this crosses church and religious lines.

    I am not supposing that churches should change. I never gave it a second thought as a kid–I took pride in my mom standing because she was my mom. Motherhood is more than worthy of honoring! Otherwise, we wouldn’t have our panties in such a bunch over the whole thing. I don’t want to strip that honor away. Not everything in life can be fair–not by a long shot. And just because something isn’t fair to some of us, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it.

    Not standing was my silent way to honor and remember the sadness and loss that so many women feel because of infertility. If women didn’t stand on Mother’s Day, it would probably be kind of weird, don’t you think?

  7. Valerie says:

    Life is not fair for sure! I am greatful for your insights and courage as you face the everyday challenges of being infertil. You are one of the best mom’s that I know and I love watching you with you kids!

  8. Gina DeMarco says:

    Unfortunately, I do not think that your pain will go away. At times, parts of it will linger, at other times it will be a stabbing pain, so unbearable that you can not breathe. I love Sister Beck’s talk, it is bold, and to the point.

    From the Leadership Training Meeting
    The Desires of the Heart
    Sister Beck

    I know of many couples who desire to have children and aren’t given that blessing. Their challenge is the challenge of not having children, and we need to be listening and supportive and encouraging toward them. And I also believe that the desire to have children in the single sisters and in these couples probably won’t go away if they’re righteous, because that is a God-given desire. It speaks to their very natures and the training they received in the heavens. So that longing will not go away. But the Lord will bless them.

    Not that this will make any of you sweet sisters feel any better, but there is a certain love, not pity, in my heart for you. You knew what your challenges and heartbreaks were going to be before you came to this earth. Yet, you said “Heavenly Father, I will do whatever it takes.” You stood valiently. Of course, could you have known how hard it was going to be, no. But you knew that it would almost be more than you could bare and yet, you stood faithful. The only way that I liken what you must be feeling is similar to how our Savior felt on the cross, when He felt the Spirit leave…abandoned, alone and yet full knowledge knowing there was no other way to accomplish His mission. Or like Adam and Eve, it was forbidden to partake of the fruit and yet to achieve full righteousness, they had too. You have been given a righteous desire, it is what makes us divine woman and yet it is your burden. I believe that you sweet sisters are blessed with a special Spirit, that helps you get by day to day. You elite sisters are able to do what the rest of us cannot.

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