Mother’s Day Feelings

When I was younger, I never gave much thought to Mother’s Day. Of course, on that special Sunday in May I celebrated my incredible Mother and Grandmothers. Often created homemade gifts for them, bought cards full of all the sentiments I probably should’ve shared more throughout the year. A day of brunches and gardening and love and gift giving. Mother’s Day was a happy day until it wasn’t.

When I was a kid and young adult, Mother’s Day was about my mom. Not a day for me, but for her. But, once I got married, and started to try to become a mom myself, there was no single day in the year more excruciating. More painful. More difficult. Each Mother’s Day that passed that I couldn’t celebrate was like a punch in the gut. And there was no escaping it. My inbox was jammed with Mother’s Day sale messages. The television played what seemed an endless stream of commercials featuring happy moms with their kiddos, not to mention the storyline of EVERY SINGLE tv show turned to Mother’s Day. Stores were packed with cards and images of women being moms. I thank god that there was no social media back then, I’m not sure how I’d have survived an Instagram feed of homemade gifts for moms on those challenging days.

The worst were the years where there was hope leading up to Mother’s Day. One more round of fertility treatments, and if it worked, I’d actually be pregnant on Mother’s Day. I could finally celebrate, too. Those were the hardest.

After years of terrible Mother’s Days, I’d built that Sunday up as this epic prize in my mind. The incredible day I was missing out on would someday, hopefully, be one of my favorite of the year. I don’t know what exactly I had in mind, but it would be awesome and thoughtful and lovely and perfect. 

And, honestly, my first Mother’s Day wasn’t any of those. I’d somehow catupultated my expectations right past simply being grateful to be able to finally celebrate the day all the way to this insane unattainable expectation of myself and everyone around me. Nathan was just a few weeks old on my first Mother’s Day. So I was still very much in the haze of new motherhood, a mix of exhaustion, elation and confusion. And, I’d missed a key part in my grandiose plans for the day, I didn’t tell anyone else, particularly my husband, what all I’d dreamed this day up to be over my years of waiting for it to happen. I just expected it to magically be magic. And, as the day progressed, I became more disappointed and frustrated, which in turn filled me with guilt at missing out on this day because I was being so selfish. 

It took me a few Mother’s Days to find my rhythm. To forgive myself and my family our imperfections, and realize that the perfect Mother’s Day for me is simply a nice quiet day at home with my husband & kids, and a few hours to myself to dig in my garden. 

Mother’s Day is just a day. It doesn’t make you a mom, define you as a mom or serve as a barometer of your abilities to be a good mom. It’s a day.

My kids and I are grateful for each other every day, even when we don’t do our best at showing it, and that’s the real prize as far as I’m concerned. The lifetime of motherhood I get to experience, the good, the bad, the hard, the wonderful. I’ve done nothing in my life as important or incredible as being a mom. I think I knew that back then. I knew I wanted nothing more than to be a mom and I knew it would be magic. And, the idea it may not happen was impossible to handle. So, in a way, maybe all those terrible Mother’s Days allowed me a chance to funnel all that pain into one focused day, so the other 364 days of the year would be ever so slightly more bearable. 

Advertisements

Seriously?! The Bathroom?

Let’s file this under things I just need to say out loud. As someone who struggled with getting pregnant, I just have to ask, why the bathroom?

Why month after month did I have to get the heart breaking, demoralizing, terrible, awful, horrible news that I yet again wasn’t pregnant, in the gosh darn f***ing bathroom? Alone in a bathroom. No matter how much support I received from my husband, my family, my friends, it was always came down to me and the damn toilet finding out together that it didn’t work. Again. The least bad times I was at least in the sanctity of my own bathroom at home with my familiar, yet not at all comforting toilet. But, at least my husband’s comforting arms were just a tearful walk away. But there were times, many times, at work, at target, at the grocery store, at other people’s homes, where it was just me in a strange bathroom, my heart breaking again. Sucking it up to face the public, and dreading the moment when I’d have to break Craig’s heart again with the news. ‘Cause it’s not bad enough you find out in the bathroom, you have to be the messenger, too.

It sucks. If you’ve lived it, I’m sorry. If you’re living it, I wish I could make it better, but it sucks. All I can say is I’m sorry.

Guilt & Gratefulness After Infertility

I struggled with unexplained infertility for several years. The details of which will be content for many future posts, I’m sure. If nothing else, the experience did create a lot of writing material, so there’s that.

Throughout my pregnancy with Nathan I was overwhelmingly grateful to finally have the chance to be a mom. I’d gotten to the point that I wasn’t sure it would ever happen, and there was NOTHING I wanted more. The months and years of repeated heartbreak had wrecked me. And the absolute joy I felt was what I’d always imagined it would be.

I had an easy pregnancy, and an even easier delivery….gifts to me, I’d determined, for having been so tortured in the getting pregnant phase of things. Gifts that I felt I needed to be grateful for at every moment, in ever conversation. I was uncomfortable, pregnancy is uncomfortable, but I should be grateful for that discomfort. Pregnancy was exhausting, but I was lucky to be exhausted. No room for negative thoughts. I wasn’t allowed to have them, that would be ungrateful. This was what I’d wanted, dreamed about, wished for, prayed for, hoped for. And it was perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

When he was born, it was a dream come true. But, having a newborn isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It’s hard and imperfect. It took me a while to let all my thoughts and feelings come together and find their right balance without any guilt. Even now, nearly 9 years later, I’m often stopped dead in my tracks by the awe I feel towards my children and the privilege it is to be their mom. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t drive me insane, that I don’t get frustrated with them. There’s room for all the emotions. Except the guilt, no room for that.