Reflections on Mother’s Day
Yesterday was Mother’s Day.
My mom is dead, and has been for 18 years.
My babies never made it. They never took their first breaths, instead they died much too soon.
Mother’s day for me, is not a day to celebrate. It is a day to hide. A day to mourn what was, what could have been and what will never be.
The first year after my mom died, when I was only 14 years old, a relative sent me a card a few days before mother’s day acknowledging how hard mother’s day would be for me and reminding me that while my mother was gone I was still surrounded by her spirit and love. She was right, it was hard. Going to a gravesite is no way to celebrate mother’s day. But, her sensitivity and caring validated my feelings and gave me a safe space to be hurt. Her kind act left a lasting impression on me and I still remember this as one of the nicest things someone did for me in the aftermath of losing my mother. It was people like this who warm my spirit and provide me with hope for human compassion.
Somehow I learned to deal with mother’s day. Somehow I learned to remember my mom in my thoughts, send a simple mother’s day greeting to my step-mom and pretty much ignore the presence of the day entirely. In the weeks leading up to mother’s day I learned to avoid malls where every piece of signage is a reminder of the date and my own selfish self-pity. I learned to avoid going out for brunch or super on mother’s day and being surrounded by those who have what I do not. I learned how to survive the day.
But the last few years have been hard for me in a new and unexpected way. As we began our adventure into recurrent pregnancy loss, mother’s day became hard for me in a whole new way. Last year, I made an overt decision to hide from the day and run away into the mountains to hide from any reminders of what we were going through. Outside of Mr. MPB, no-one has ever recognized me as the mother that I am. No-one has sent text messages or left voice mails to wish me a wonderful day or to simply say today must be hard, I’m thinking of you. Yesterday was the exact same.
Except, at the same time, it wasn’t.
A random acquaintance gave me a beautiful mother’s day. We’ve met once or twice, and while we were chatting our plans to adopt came up, as did out losses. I learned that she too had struggled to have her child and in the 10 minute conversation a few days before mother’s day she almost brought me to tears when she said with excitement radiating through her:
Next Mother’s Day is going to be the best! You are going to be crying buckets of joy when you open that card that says you are a mommy and you are hugging your child. Oh, it’s going to be amazing!
In those words she changed my attitude about mother’s day. Her words empowered me to not close myself off this year. Instead, I’ve thought about our future. I realized that mother’s day won’t always be horrible. In fact, there’s a really good chance that by this time next year we will have a little one. I talked about our children, the ones we’ve lost and the one(s) we will have. Honestly, I’ve been overcome with excitement about our choice to adopt, and the relief and hope that comes with our decision to adopt. I thought about our future and I was excited! We will have our family. I am a mother!
Next year I might just be a mother to a living child. Within the next year, my dreams may just come true! Next year will be different!
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