Who are the unsung Mother’s Day heroes?

Mother’s Day. With no children living nearby, I tossed my snowshoes into the back of my rig and headed up into the Cascades.


Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

After a good uphill trek—with no other sound except the rush of wind in the tall trees and the occasional bird tweet—I located a fallen log and stopped to capture these thoughts on my phone.

I sat in church this morning where moms were honored, where each mother was given an adorable little succulent plant on their way out the door.

And my heart went out to my friend who was in that service, who wanted nothing more than to be a mom. But a lost pregnancy, followed by years of infertility left her childless. What must she have felt as she walked out the door without taking a succulent?

And I thought about my young friend who watched her only child being swept out to sea. What must Mother’s Day be like for her?

Another friend, with a son and daughter-in-law in the area, wasn’t allowed to meet her grandchild. It was too painful to live in the same town, so she and her husband moved away. What must that feel like?

This morning in church I wanted to say, Please honor the women who longed for children so intensely but couldn’t have them.

Please honor the women who loved their children and sacrificed for them. And then lost them — to misunderstanding, to drugs, to death. What kind of pain must that be?

Please honor the women who carried their child to full term, knowing they would give him/her up to another woman to love, believing that was the best scenario for their child.

Please honor the women who have fostered children, who have adopted children, who daily deal with the issues that accompany that courageous act.

In my book, these are the unsung Mother’s Day heroes. These are the women who should be celebrated. And honored.

Because even though this Mother’s Day didn’t include hanging out with my kids or grands, I have them. And they love me. And I’ll hear from them today.

And even though this day didn’t include them, it included good health, and an incredible widow support team, and a gorgeous mountainous area to live in, and a warm and inviting place I call home, and a car that runs, and snowshoes and snow, and fabulous almond-crusted salmon eaten on an outdoor patio.



In my wealth—even with kids and grands far away—my heart is full. As in, grateful, peaceful, content.

But it also aches for my friends who hurt because of their particular mom or non-mom situations.

And I’m thinking I want to do more throughout the year to honor these incredibly brave women.

I have a few thoughts. But I’d love to hear your creative ideas on how this could be done. In joy. In fun. And with love.


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  1. Pam Older

    Loved your thoughtful musings. There are so many among us who have suffered and struggled beyond our experience. Happy Mothers Day to all of them.

    • So true, Pam, that many among us have suffered. And I wonder how many of them have kept their painful stories to themselves.

  2. Wendy Archer

    Another profound and thought-provoking post, thank you Marlys. As they say, you don’t have to give birth to be a mother, and we believe Mother’s Day should include all the females who nurture and care for us, who make our lives brighter and perhaps easier. So in our family Mother’s Day is a celebration of all the women in our family, and close friends, regardless of whether they have children or not. Friends or family, they are all treasured and appreciated for their contributions to our lives, big or small, and we make sure they know it on Mother’s Day. It’s the same for us on Father’s Day – all the men in our lives are celebrated and thanked for all they do for us. Belated Mother’s Day wishes to you Marlys.

    • I love this, Wendy – how your family celebrates all the women, whether they have children or not, on Mother’s Day … and all the men on Father’s Day: “… they are all treasured and appreciated for their contributions to our lives.” Beautiful.

  3. Gigi Harris

    Thank you for putting words to my thoughts and feelings regarding Mother Day this year!

  4. Grace Lawson

    Thank you Dear Marlys for thinking about those who have not been able to have children. I totally agree with you that those women should also be honored on Mother’s Day. Thankfully, I am a mother of two incredibly talented grown children. I am blessed.

    • Grace, I wish I had thought sooner to take flowers to the women mentioned – at least the ones who live in town – but I’m thinking I can deliver one-day-late Mother’s Day flowers anyway. Thank you for your comment.

  5. On Mother’s Day my heart goes out to women suffering from guilt and remorse because of past abortions they now regret … often suffering in silence because they fear the rejection of their Christian brothers and sisters. Post-abortion recovery groups abound in this country and may be located at this link
    http://afterabortion.org/help-healing/ or by calling the toll free national hotline number 1-866-482-5433.

  6. Allison Mccormick


    Thank you for acknowledging the struggle of women suffering the loss of a child, infertility, and the pain of exclusion.

    I am one of these women and know all to well the challenges that come with this holiday. Often people don’t want to face us. They aren’t certain what to say, how to manage their own emotions, or how to console us. But by having people like yourself give us a voice we inch closer to helping mom’s and non-moms become more sensitive and supportive for each other.

    Thank you and God bless your continued writing!

    • Thank you, Allison, for being brave enough to speak about the challenges that accompany Mother’s Day. After the blog posted, I heard from someone via text that her church honors all the women – because most women have nurtured and loved and held and cried with and prayed with and counseled and fed children in one way or another. Blessings to you.

  7. Alice J Stoner

    so appreciate and love your stories. I miss my parents daily, and thank them for the Christian up bring they gave me. And sending me to CBA. I miss my parents, gandmother and siblings so much, but I have the joy and promise they are waiting for me. What a glorious day that will be!

  8. So appropriate, Marlys.

  9. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    Dear Marlys,
    We’re sure you have touched many hearts.. be they hurting or happy for the many reasons in people’s lives. We too lost our second son David at birth, BUT we surely cherish and thank our God for the lives of our two sons and families for the blessings we share with them. One only needs to recall seeing ‘a new born’ and being filled with the same joy and gratitude, so apparent on each mothers face… not to mention how we fellas feel. It so happens, yesterday we sent a Mother’s day e.card to our friends/family @ Eagle Creek, Oregon because their daughter Sophie (who is our Laura’s pen pal) was due to give birth. We woke this morning to an e.mail message… Sophie gave birth at 2.10am 14th May, so we shared in their joy. I know we will receive photographs and we pray they remain healthy and happy. Thanks for taking us on your journey too… for me to recall the scenes up in the Cascades, you ‘hit my spiritual soul’. Every blessing, Bx P & family.

    • Peter, I can’t imagine the pain of carrying a child to full term and then losing him at birth. Thank you for sharing these two stories: yours and Barbara’s sorrow, and in contrast, Sophie’s joy.

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