I’m pretty new to the world of blogging, and even more so to this concept of “infertility blogging”*, and so far I’ve found it really interesting and enlightening – and comforting – to find that there is a whole community of people out there who are dealing with infertility. I’ve found it heartening to hear of success stories; I’ve empathised with those who’re dealing with horrible things, and I’ve generally found it to be a really supportive and lovely community.
(*Oh, the sadness in those words…)
I wanted to write down some thoughts about what seemed to be the sole topic of infertility bloggers over the weekend: Mother’s Day.
Because the thing is… I don’t hate Mother’s Day.
I know this seems really counter to what everyone else has been saying. I’m with you on the baby showers, the pregnancy talk, the need to share countless pictures of babies and bumps on social media (aaah, the bumps!)… I understand your pain with all that stuff, because I’ve been there too. I’ve avoided social gatherings where I’ll be the only one without a baby. (I’ve also been to them, because sometimes I just have to suck it up.) I’ve reacted well (throwing baby showers) and not-so-well (throwing tantrums) and I’ve generally been, y’know, human. Fallible.
But you see, I had a mother before I even thought about becoming a mother. In fact, I had two mothers. My birth mother and my mother. So to me, Mother’s Day has always been about her – my mother. (And somewhere in the back of my mind, my Other Mother.) For me it is a day of celebration and it’s not a day of mourning. I spent 30-odd years of my life without a baby (and I still don’t have one) and with a mother. My mother who’s been there for me my whole life and who I hope will stick around, however crazily at times(!), for many more years to come. I think I’ll always celebrate it whilst I have a mother, and I hope I’ll have the strength not to begrudge it when she isn’t around. (Who am I kidding, my whole family are going to live forever.)
And for the Other Mothers… I’ve even been fortunate enough to have an amazing mother-in-law (now my ex-MIL… life is complicated) who was part of my life for a really long time. And even though I no longer see her, I still think about her and love her. I hope she knows that I still love her. And I have a new almost-MIL who’s also lovely, who has welcomed me into the family. And I hope my birth mother knows that I think of her, too. I hope she is at peace with the idea of the grown up me, that I don’t blame her for giving me up as a baby, that I hope the life I lead honours that. I’m lucky because I’ve had not one mother, but many who have taken me under their wing and nurtured me… loved me. Even though I can be really annoying at times!
And to be fair, it wasn’t even Mother’s Day in the UK – it’s in March. So I didn’t have to “deal with” anything yesterday. But I didn’t have to in March either. I’ve not entered that club yet… I hope one day soon I can join them.
I’m not going to make Mother’s Day about mourning, but a celebration of my mothers’ (purposeful apostrophe placement) love for me, and my love for my mother(s). I’m lucky… I came from nothing in life, travelled halfway across the world, gained a family of a different colour(!), have had all sorts of opportunities in my life. I’m lucky. I’m healthy. I’m in a solid relationship that I am set on keeping hold of until one of us kicks the bucket. I have an awesome small furry being that likes nothing better than snuggling up next to me and licking my face. (Fortunately I don’t mind that bit!) I generally quite like my life, and a baby would add to that more than not having a baby subtracts from it.
My infertility does not define me.
Mother’s Day is not about me and my lack of being a mother. I’ve never been a mother. Maybe I never will. But I can say with some certainty that I’ll always be grateful to my first mother for giving me up in the hope of a better life. I’ll always be happy that my mother picked me (okay, I was next in the queue, but she picked the idea of me… and my dad did too).
And please understand me – this is only about my thoughts, and I don’t want to take away from people who have suffered far greater losses than I have. I haven’t ever been pregnant. I’ve never been a mother. And I don’t pretend to know how that feels… I can’t imagine that. This is just about how I feel, and no pronouncement or judgement on anyone else. We all deal with things in our own way and I think it’s safe to say there is no right or wrong. I would like to think that’s what makes us human.
Be kind to yourselves.
So – Mother’s Day. A day of celebration, not mourning. A day to be kind to yourself and let your loved ones be kind to you. A day for one half of my awesome parents to be celebrated and thanked. A day of flowers and cards and I know I’m all grown up now and I have my own life but I still need my mum. A day of gain; not loss. A day of considering my lovely T and how far he’s willing to go in helping me to become a mother, dreaming of us one day maybe becoming parents. Because that’s something to celebrate, not mourn. If it never happens, we can still look back and say we tried.
A day of choosing to be happy.
I choose happy.