Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm Not Sure If I'll Ever Deal Well with Mother's Day

Mother's Day is kind of a big deal for me.

Infertility does that.

A lot of it stems from church. I'm not sure if Mother's Day would've been so scarring if I wasn't a church goer. There's a tradition in the LDS church that every Mother's Day, all the talks and lessons revolve around mothers, and all the mothers/women get some kind of gift - usually a potted flower to plan in their gardens. After the main meeting, all the mothers are asked to stand, and the you men in the church pass out the flowers.

In my religion, motherhood is talked about as being the most sacred calling. It's something that is always revered, but especially on Mother's Day (as it should be). But for someone who is infertile/childless, it's just a harsh reminder that you are not part of this blessed "club." I know now that motherhood and pregnancy are not the same. But it's hard to decipher that when you can't have either.

I was talking to some friends at work today about last Mother's Day - my first Mother's Day. How Justin's car accident got in the way of our celebration and I didn't get a gift. I kind of hung this over Justin's head, but he made up for it last month when he bought me a beautiful pair of earrings at the gem show. Anyway, without knowing the full story, one of my friends suggested that my husband just didn't realize that he needed to celebrate Mother's Day for me. That it takes some adjustment to think of your wife on that day as well as your mother.

My response was that Justin didn't forget. He knew. Because for seven years, this holiday had caused me tears and anger and immeasurable pain. In fact, the car accident happened because Justin hadn't forgotten. Then my friend asked me how I handled Mother's Day, how I dealt with church.

A lot of times, I didn't go.

When I had a calling that I couldn't bail on, I would leave the first meeting early, so I could avoid the pitied looks when the mothers were told to stand and the awkward obligatory flower even though I wasn't a mother. I never took a flower - even when they really tried to give it to me. Last year was the first year I allowed myself to accept a flower. I planted it the very next day. A yellow zinnia right in my front yard.

But the point is, Mother's Day is really hard for people who aren't mothers and desperately wish they were.

I don't know what would've made it easier for me. I don't have any advice on how to help others in a similar situation. All I can say is be aware and be kind. It's a rough gig - especially in a situation, like church, where the topic is unavoidable.

Today, though, I got to "celebrate" Mother's Day with my daughter at her daycare. My daycare is on-site at the company I work for. So any of the moms could come over in the afternoon for a special treat with their child/children. So I got to share a scrumptious piece of strawberry shortcake with my baby girl (she was crazy about the strawberries) and just enjoy having a special day.

When my daughter's teacher handed me a laminated craft made from Jocelyn's hand prints, I was tickled. When I read the poem on the back - a cheesy poem I have read several other times - I actually got a lump in my throat and teared up.




I have a daughter.

I am a mother.

I get to celebrate Mother's Day.

I have long dreamed of macaroni necklaces and construction paper crafts. I've longed for this. And all the buildup hasn't lessened the moment one bit. Made it more, I guess. In fact, Justin's jealous. He asked if he would get something like this for Father's Day.

I'm getting teary now. It seems so small...but it's not. I can never forget the feelings of inadequacy, neglect, anger, hurt, and disappointment from all those hollow Mother's Days before. But it makes me appreciate these Mother's Days so much more.

For anyone reading this who isn't yet a mother, but longs to be, I know. I give you hugs and prayers and my heart hurts for you.

Hugs and kisses to you all. Hope you have a good Mother's Day.


8 comments:

Jill Elizabeth said...

I seriously teared up reading that.

And I HATE HATE HATE how we make such a big deal of Mother's Day at church. It is a freaking invented greeting card holiday. As Christians, we should ALWAYS be good to our mothers. I could rant about this a bit but I won't.

That little card and poem are so sweet! I hope you have a wonderful mother's day :o)

Lara said...

Jill, I can't imagine how Birthmother's Day and Mother's Day must feel to brave birth moms like you. It's the opposite side of the same pain, I think. I'll be thinking of you this weekend.

Ashley said...

Mike forgot my first mother's day. I mean *really* dropped the ball and just plain, old forgot.

When I asked him about it in tears, he said he didn't know it was that big of a deal to me. *** Huh?! Did the sobbing each year not tip him off?

The kicker was that I went to church and got a potted flower I was so proud of.

Mike threw it away as soon as we got home not realizing how special it was to me.

Needless to say, last Mother's day I got a puppy and my first ever Mother's day card.

Liz Smith said...

oh lara, this made my heart ache. i can't imagine how those days must have felt like. I always feel like i don't belong at church on mothers day and i feel like people get awkward around me, but i guess it's different because I have chosen not to be a mother, at least not yet. I can't imagine how painful it must be when you can't control it and you want it so much. I have said it before and i will continue to say it over and over again: you are amazing. I learn from you every day and you are a great example to me and everyone you come into contact with. You're an amazing mom. happy early mother's day. I hope this one is better than last year's. *hugs*

Shellie said...

yayyyy! Oh that makes me so happy to that you have a beautiful daughter and you're such a beautiful mom! love that little card she made for you!!!
Happy Mothers Day!!!

Shellie said...

I love that little card she made for you!!! I'm glad she's your daughter and you are her mother. You are a great one! Love that you love it so much!

Happy Mother's Day!

Groff Family said...

What a great M's day card from Jcoi, I love it! Sorry last year's was so crappy. Mine was too, but at least Justin had an excuse. :) It seems we are on par for a repeat this year as Aaron already has home teaching appointments set up on Sunday. I know, what the heck, right?

After years of not being a mother, and a few more of disappointing ones due to the hubby, I finally have just had to get over the entitlement factor of it. It isn't about me, it's about MY mother and how I celebrate her. I am not Aaron's mother, so why should he do anything for me? But he darn well better remember his mom (He usually doesn't). And he darn well better teach our kids to honor me that day. That's what I've finally decided.

On a side note, I remember as a missionary they would give us the M's day gift at church too. I thought that was so weird. I always tried to decline, but they insisted that every woman over 18 got the gift because they would be mothers one day.

Also, in my opinion, the church makes such a big deal about mother's day, and mothers all year long, to compensate for the blatant sexism in the church. They must show it as being so important and a great and higher calling, otherwise we would all be ticked about not being able to have the priesthood. It's their way of balancing it all out, whether it makes sense or not. Just sayin' :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day - Lara, you deserve it. Enjoy each and every year - I do. Again, you know that I can feel some of the pain that you have and understand what you have gone through. Most churches honor Mother's Day and I can see how this could/would be hard on those who have tried so hard and long to be parents. I would venture to guess that Justin will never forget this special event as long as he is able to participate. Cherish all of those special little hand prints and cards from Joci and all of the other little Joci's that you get the privilege of being a Mom to - they need you. Have a great day - hope to see you soon.

Love Mom Z

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