For the Woman with Empty Arms

By Lyndsay Brooks

This week, I stumbled upon a box filled with trinkets from my childhood.  Inside, I found a framed sketch from first grade. An illustrator had come to visit my classroom and offered to draw each of us a picture.

2020 05 07 1238Most of my friends asked for Tweety Bird or other popular cartoon characters. When it was my turn, however, I asked the gentleman to draw a picture of me with Jesus. In the image, I am an infant held in His arms. He is speaking the words, “My little Lyndsay.” 

I have been thinking a great deal about this image, especially as we approach Mother’s Day. Every part of me wants to still be carrying our baby, to have him/her in my arms, speaking words of love.  Thinking about our loss fills me with such deep sorrow. 

In reflecting on this image and my present state of suffering, I am reminded of two things:

  1. Each of us is a beloved child of God.  “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”  1 John 3: 1
  2. We are called to have faith like children. “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,* you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

In my pursuit to be a mom, I think about children nonstop. However, I spend little time thinking about myself as a child or what childlike spirituality looks like as an adult. 

In digging a little deeper, I believe the key to approaching the cross of infertility (or any suffering) is exactly this childlike faith.  Here’s why: 

Children ask questions constantly. The biggest impact infertility has had on my prayer life is that it has removed the filter. I cry and question daily. There is great beauty in being authentically myself in prayer. Although we shouldn’t question God’s goodness, He does invite us into a conversation! Ask Him what he wishes to reveal to you through this! 

Children are dependent upon their parents. I am a huge planner. I want to control all aspects of life. However, infertility has taught me just how little control I have. We must rely on God and trust in our Father! 

In this moment, I take comfort knowing  Jesus is still with me, still holding me, still lovingly saying I am His little Lyndsay. As he does for each of His children - as he does for you. 

For all those with empty arms this Mother’s Day, you are not alone or forgotten. Some tips to get you through this day:   

  1. Remember your other roles. You are more than infertility & loss. Try to focus on those other parts of who you are: daughter, sister, wife, etc. 
  2. Create healthy boundaries. It is okay to say no or even goodbye. Be open about your story & share with others what you need. Give them the chance to love & support you! 
  3. Find community. One of the best things you can do is ask for help. Find a local support group or seek guidance from a counselor and/or spiritual director.   
  4. Be kind to yourself. Whatever you are feeling, it is okay. Take some time & find a way to practice self-care.  Remember you are loved, cherished, and worthy. 
  5. Be consistent in prayer. Especially in times of suffering, it can sometimes be difficult to pray. However, exercising this spiritual muscle is vital. Start with five minutes each day & go from there! 

Know of my prayers for you. May you take comfort today knowing you are a beloved child of God.

St. David Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings in my life. Help me to remember them as I face the challenges of infertility. I pray that I can surrender myself into your hands. Let me accept the reality of this situation and have the wisdom and courage to take action where I can. Strengthen my body, mind and spirit to endure the trials of infertility. Keep me ever mindful of the needs of others and grant us your peace. Amen.


May 7, 2020 - 3:01pm

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