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.