Saturday, May 11, 2013

Even when we have been there, we don't know the answers

I've seen the tweets, facebook and G+ posts. I see them every year. A quick google brought up a bunch of blogs about it. The hot topic? Being sensitive to women with infertility issues on Mother's Day.

Every time that I read a post I have the same question but have been to chicken to ask it of anyone that I know.


How are we mothers supposed to react?  How do we simultaneously celebrate this huge thing in our lives- for better or worse- while respecting those feelings? What, exactly, are we supposed to do?

I had fertility issues for years (didn't have my first kid until I was 33) and I remember Mother's Day stinging that open wound. Going to church for a service that celebrated motherhood made me sad. Why couldn't I be celebrated for that? It's what I wanted. Why wasn't it happening? How could ALL those women have kids and I couldn't?  I longed to wear a cheesy corsage and get a handful of flowers plucked from my own garden. It finally happened, obviously, but it took a long time and pain to get there. Likewise, it's taken a great deal of time and pain to raise kids and they are not done- not by a long shot. We are in the trenches.

One of my best friends never was able to have children. My heart broke for her because, honestly, she would be one kick-ass mom, and her husband? Super Dad. It just wasn't in the plans for them no matter what they did; no matter how hard those of us who love them prayed and wished and hoped. I always tried to be considerate of her feelings but went way overboard one year and this is what she told me:

She loved me. She loved my kids. She loved my life FOR me, and loved being a part of it but it hurt her when I kept quiet about things that were important to me because I was trying to spare her feelings. I should be able to vent to her about what I was going through just like she could vent to me about anything in her life. If I started keeping stuff from her, it would lessen our friendship and she didn't want that.

(This is why she is one of my best friends.)

But let me ask you, woman who is posting about your feelings on your blog, while I am posting about mine over here: What do you hope people (I'm assuming like me) do to make today and tomorrow more comfortable for you? Because, I'm going to be honest here, for a lot of Moms this is a very big deal. We have gone through pain and loss and hard work to get here, and we wouldn't change a moment of it because it's not only what we wanted but more than we could ever have imagined. Some days it also sucks a big one. Sometimes that Suck a Big One Day falls on Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is different for all of us. Some love having a special breakfast and handmade cards. Others plan activities with their kids and have a fun and frolickey day. Some escape for time that they don't usually take for themselves. Some just want Dad to do what Mom always does: take charge and plan something, anything. Some set super high expectations and are let down; some set no expectations and are still let down. Some don't do anything. My own mother is of the, "Every day should be Mother's Day" school of thought and pooh-pooh'd any celebration.

Me? I'm of the Grab The Gusto When It's Presented and will do whatever I can get away with. If they want to celebrate me, I'm certainly not going to stop them.

Tomorrow a lot of us moms will be tweeting and posting pictures and commentary about Mother's Day. We aren't bragging (well, really MOST of us aren't) and we aren't (ok, maybe we are) whining when it's a Suck The Big One Day. But, simply put, we are sharing our day with people who we think would be interested.

And I suspect you are not the interested sort.

And that's cool.

But you keep asking us to be considerate of your feelings. and a lot of us shared those feelings at one point but we still don't know so I'll ask.

What, exactly, are we supposed to do to help you on this one day?

This one day that is set aside to celebrate motherhood.


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