My mother is fantastic! I owe so many of the fabulous things that I am and have to her! It has always been a blessing to call her mom and I’m so happy to celebrate her – today and every day. The truth, however, is that Mother’s Day is difficult and painful for me… because I am not a mom and never will be.
Mother’s Day is beautiful, and I always enjoy hearing the wonderful things friends and family share about the special women in their lives. None of us would be here without a mom of our own – whether biological, extended family, adopted, chosen or unknown. There are so many types of mothers in the world and a woman who has raised or nurtured a child in any way is an amazing sight to behold. They multitask; practice phenomenal amounts of grace; act as caretaker, doctor, cook, maid, teacher, moral compass, friend, disciplinarian, cheerleader, counselor… The list, frankly, is too long to fit in a single post. Suffice it to say – it’s an incredible job and undertaking!
However, every year when we celebrate and recognize that fantastic group of women – deservedly – there is a different group of women that suffer in silence. These are the women that, for one reason or another, should be mothers but are not. These are the women that never found a mate to start a family with, endured miscarriages, experienced the pain of infertility, were dealt a life of poor health, are estranged from their children, were unable to adopt, or have given up their child into adoption. These are women that had a family and lost their children through a divorce… Women that lost a child who ran away, was in an accident, was a victim of crime. These women *should* be mothers, but for myriad reasons are not.
I am one of these women.
“Mother”… At one point, I couldn’t even say the word without a pang of desperation. Each time I logged on to social media and looked at my friend’s adorable offspring, I had to quickly scroll past their pictures or run the risk of bursting into tears. I wrote blog posts about the struggle. Commercials, TV shows, movies, or families spending time together at the park or a festival I was attending, could send my emotions into a tailspin, and still sometimes do. I recall painful Mother’s Day church services, hearing the pastor ask mothers to stand and be recognized, only to feel humiliated and empty, like less of a female, surrounded by all of the standing women in the motherhood club… At times, I’ve held an infant or child in my motherless arms simultaneously being pulled in two directions – half of me honored and rejoicing with the parent letting me hold their precious baby… the other half ripping apart inside knowing that cuddly moment was fleeting and would end with me walking away as barren and childless as I was walking into the situation. Just writing about it now brings tears to my eyes.
I know parenting isn’t easy and that there are probably times at least some wonder what in the hell they were getting themselves into. I know individuals and couples that actively choose not to parent, for various reasons. Still other men and women aren’t meant to parent or are not capable, and knowing that, give their child into adoption so that someone else may provide a life for it… All people, at some point in their lives, question whether they should or should not have a family and I respect whatever decision they come to in their circumstances. Please, just understand that it’s difficult for some of us because the decision may not have fully been in our control…
If I don’t come out on a play date with you and your children, it’s not because I don’t love you guys or want you to include me in your lives… If you’re talking about your kids and my eyes look a little red or my smile seems forced, it’s not because I’m not interested in hearing the stories you have to tell. If you post a picture on social media and I don’t leave a comment or click “like”, it’s not that your family isn’t cute and worthy of a minute of my time. No matter how I know you – I’m happily your friend, neighbor, family member, or colleague, and long to share in your life and the lives of the youngsters you adore… Just know that some days it’s more difficult to accept my situation, but despite that, I don’t want you to stop sharing with me! There are moments that the sting is a little sharper, but it has nothing to do with you – I promise! Sometimes, my mommy instinct flag is just flying higher than usual. On those days, there is a lump in my throat, an ache in my chest, and a noticeable emptiness to my arms merely because on Mother’s Day, and every other day, I simply long to be a part of your ranks.
Please be kind to one another, and please love all women in your life today!
Until next time – thanks for coming along on my journey…