Monday, May 6, 2013

{ motherhood monday: thoughts on mothers day }

With Mother's Day fast approaching, my mind has been filled with thoughts of where I was last year and where I am now. I've thought a lot about Mother's Day - what it means, what it represents, why we celebrate it. Even now, as a new mother, I have mixed emotions about the day. Let me explain...

Last year at this time, I was in a dark place. After trying to get pregnant for 4 years, and after many fertility treatments, I finally found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled. I was so so happy. And then we lost it. I was devastated. (You can read that post here)

Mother's Day occurred a few weeks after I miscarried. I remember the weeks leading up to that day, I was so angry. Everywhere I looked, everything I read, and it seemed every other commercial on television was an advertisement with unsolicited, mocking reminders of what might have been - something I longed for with every fiber of my being.

Most of all, I dreaded going to church. My religion focuses so much on the family, which is great, and I love that, but when you're not a mother, it made my infertility feel even more pronounced. I couldn't procreate as we're taught. I dreaded when they would ask all the mothers in the congregation to stand to be recognized as they handed out flowers. I dreaded hearing someone speak and talk about how blessed they were because God trusted them enough that He would bless them with these sweet spirits (aka their children). As if I wasn't trust worthy enough to conceive. I couldn't handle one more talk given where someone might say that motherhood was a sacred responsibility. Again, it made me feel like God didn't think I was responsible.

I remember the Saturday before Mothers Day, sobbing, telling Andrew that I couldn't go to church. I wanted to worship God, but the distraction of all the talks on mothers would make me angry, and I didn't want to be angry with God. Andrew understood, and we decided we wouldn't attend.

Later that day, a very sweet friend knocked on my door with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her hand. She gave them to me with a little card that had a beautiful scripture on it.

I cried when I read it and thanked her so much for the sweet gesture. She told me that she knew what I was going through. She knew I probably wouldn't be at church the next day, and it was okay. She, a mother, understood what I was going through, as she had also suffered many miscarriages.

She told me that even though I didn't have a baby, I was still a mother. I thought about this the rest of the day and the next day. While her words were sweet and kind, I still didn't feel like a mother. The years I struggled with infertility, I read article after article about how sisters, aunts, and all women were mothers. We were mothers "in our own way". While that was a lovely thought, it didn't offer much consolation to one who longed to hold a baby in their arms that was their own.

So tonight, as I write this, I have mixed emotions. I am finally a mother. I am actually looking forward to Mother's Day, and Sunday will no longer bring the familiar sting that it has for so many years in the past. But my heart still aches for those still struggling - who long to be mothers. And who knows - maybe Sunday will come and go and my expectations for the day will leave me feeling lackluster. Maybe it's not all that it's cracked up to be. 

And so I propose this - instead of celebrating Mother's Day this Sunday, let's celebrate women in general. We are all, after all, awesome, creative, caring, sensitive, nurturing, talented, women. Whether you can get pregnant or not, whether you are a mother or not, let's celebrate us as women and the women in our lives - not just the mothers.


Melody Pellegrin said...

This is a great post. I find myself struggling to talk to those I know who struggle with infertility as I once did, and maybe still do. I'm happy you're a mother this year.

Crystal said...

I hear you. My husband and I are on the adoption wait list. Our perfect baby girl was born on April 26th and I spent so much time leading up to that planning the perfect FIRST mother's day. However, after 24 hours, birth mom changed her mind and we left the hospital with broken hearts and an empty carseat. I can't hear the radio or TV ads without bursting into tears. We are hopeful for next year and this post is a reminder to not put too much pressure on the perfect mother's day but just to celebrate this journey that we are on.


BECKY said...

My thoughts:
I can attest that the day isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I am so grateful you have been blessed with Baker.
Never stop helping women who are struggling... you are a great strength.
I agree, we celebrate women.

Logan Marriott said...

I love this Shannon! I have a sister in law going through this right now and it's neat to hear your perspective since it's a bit of a sore subject for her to talk about. You give me hope for her!I am so sorry you had to endure that heartache and am so happy you now have Baker. Thanks for sharing!

Regine Karpel said...

What a heartfelt post!
Thanks for sharing!