As we begin the week that is all about the commercialization of motherhood, I still continue to struggle with childlessness. It’s a familiar struggle, as it’s the sixth year of my residency in the Land of IF (infertility). But, the fact that this state of being is familiar to me has never made it normal in my mind or my heart. It’s certainly never felt okay to be here, as time marches on. I will never get used to being infertile. I will never get over being infertile.
Interestingly, I don’t mourn not being celebrated on Mother’s Day. I don’t miss getting flowers, Hallmark cards or brunches. And, despite how it might look to the world beyond me, I’m not jealous of all the fertiles around me who keep procreating. That’s not what’s missing at all in my life.
I miss the ordinary functions of motherhood: the frequent feedings, the kissing away of the tears, the bedtime stories, the incessant worrying that comes with having a child. I mourn for all the years that have passed by while I’ve mothered babies who have never come. I ache for the person I’m supposed to hold in my very empty arms. I miss being a mom on ordinary day, not Mother’s Day.
These thoughts, this pain, this loss–they’re very uncomfortable for most people who’ve never struggled with infertility. People rather not hear about this never-ending pain. People would prefer to not mention it or be put in a place to address it. People try to minimize it by giving unsolicited and hurtful advice, or by joking about it, or by simply going away. If I had a dollar for every person who has walked away, ignored us, avoided meeting us, or has put his or her foot in his or her mouth, I’d have enough to start a college fund for my non-existent babies.
But, people’s discomfort and abandonment and insensitivity do not deter me from speaking up. And the sight of Mother’s Day no longer reduces me into a puddle of tears. I go on, I work hard, I endure loss and pain, and I live in hope. The hope to one fay marking Mother’s Day, not with flowers and brunch, but with a simple walk down the street, pushing the stroller of my baby, as I lament my exhaustion and lack of sleep.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms whose time has yet to come. Live in hope and be strong.