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For Those Who Aren’t Moms or Grandmas

May 16, 2018

Another Way for week of May 11, 2018

For Those Who Aren’t Moms or Grandmas

I have no right to write this, but I want any women who wished to have children, whether as birth moms or adoptive moms, or stepmoms, to know that those of us who have been fortunate in this department sometimes forget the miracle of a child does not occur for everyone.

Those who take their Mom role for granted can be unbelievably ignorant, unaware, forgetful or callous. We sweetly go on blabbing about the children (or worse, complaining); bragging about the grandchildren (and worse, talking about how parents used to raise their children, cough cough); or endlessly passing around phone photos (or worse, posting all the cuteness online).

Beyond the trials and pain of infertility, I know it simply does not work out for some to adopt. Illness of a spouse, worry about not knowing the genetic or health background, or the expense and risks makes some wary about adopting.

But, each of us had a mom and that mom gave us the gift of life, a beautiful, precious thing. Even if that mom failed you, was not there for you, or even abused you, as long as you have breath, the gift of life is a miracle. You are a wonder! With or without kids, you have so much to offer the world besides offspring.


One sister, through the circumstances of life, ended up not having children. But she loves kids. They feed something in her soul while cuddling babies (or puppies, kittens, lambs and goats, but that’s another story). All of her nieces and nephews adore her probably over their other aunts and uncles who have their own kids. Funny how that works in many families.

I love that she also looks after many of the financial details for my mother (at least the big picture stuff) and she and I are both fortunate to have one sister who lives near Mom (almost 94), taking her on a weekly errand run. My sisters are mothering my mother—and Pert wears that role well even though she’s never been a mum. My other sister Nancy, a nurse by profession and a mother, grandmother and great grandma many times over, excels in her roles—including watching out for Mom’s needs. Let’s hear it for women and men who mother even if they are not physically mothers.


In churches, where motherhood is right up there with godliness, Mother’s Day can be excruciatingly painful.

Our church has never given out roses or had moms stand up or otherwise made a practice of producing humiliation for those who have not had this role.

Icon image of prophetess Anna in the New Testament

Hannah (eventual mother of Samuel), Sarah (Isaac), Elizabeth (John the Baptist) and Anna (prophetess) in the Bible all suffered this way and were childless long after they were expected to have become moms. Back then you can believe they felt shame and neglected by God in their dilemma. But then God, or something intervened for them. Why not for all? Life is not fair. Small moments often produce fresh grief.

Jesus and Paul apparently didn’t have children. In fact, Jesus is pretty hard on families at times. The New Testament book of Matthew tells us, “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12: 46-50).

Sounds pretty harsh, but it was probably a rhetorical question and Jesus goes on to make the point that communicates across centuries and cultures: we may encounter difficult paths in life, but doing the will of God is what God wants us to do. The early Christians would have likely experienced rejection from their families for following the way of Jesus.

To my dear friends and relatives who have not had children or grandchildren by choice or happenstance: you are loved and appreciated and please forgive us when some of us behave badly—around Mother’s day or any old day. Godspeed!


Comments, or stories? Leave a comment here or write to me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  








  1. You have given voice to twinges of unease I have felt for those who must suffer through such holidays. For whatever reason, they can’t celebrate the roles of mother (and grandmother) they may have longed for. This is a call to be sensitive toward those women.

  2. Thank you for affirming this. Nice to see you pop up again here.

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