I just woke up from the weirdest dream ever. I raced across New York City through cabs and elevators to return to the hotel for Gavin’s left over chicken fingers prior to going to Wagamama for dinner. In my dream state, it took 2 hours to get those chicken fingers to Wagamama. Where, in my conscious opinion, we’ve been served some of the best chicken fingers ever. Maybe it’s because today is Mother’s Day. Even in our subconscious we are sacrificing and thinking about caring for our children. Though I personally don’t think we should need a Hallmark holiday to celebrate it.
4 years ago, I had the worst Mother’s Day ever. 1 day before my 30th birthday I found out I was pregnant. This isn’t the venue to share our story about the unfortunate circumstances we grieved, but several months later I was not. 3 months after that was Mother’s Day. We observed this day bringing Mother’s Day gifts of flowers, cards, balloons and muffins to some friends and family. I put on my happy face, and rolled through the events. I think I said and did “all the right things.” I was shocked at how the resentment just overtook and overwhelmed me to the point of sobbing uncontrollably for hours after. I didn’t plan to be cranky or to feel that way at all. It was the worst Mother’s Day Ever and I’ve clearly never forgotten it.
My first go around with motherhood didn’t go as I had ever planned, would I ever become a mother? A year later we conceived again and I’m so fortunate to have a smart, independent, and amazingly funny little boy. My life today would not have been what it is if I didn’t grieve the loss of our first pregnancy. I’m at peace with that now. I guess my hindsight is 20/20. Pregnancy and labor bought me a ticket to celebrate the Mother’s Day party, but I’ve not ever really cared about whether I’ve gotten a spa gift certificate or a special meal. I’m just happy to have had the opportunity at this point to be a mother one time to a healthy child. This day just brings up lots of other emotions related to motherhood that aren’t always so easy to happily celebrate.
I work with families who have children with disabilities. I can’t imagine what it must be like raising a child with a disability. I’m pretty sure it’s not a process anyone could ever imagine for themselves when they learn they are going to be a mother. I have friends who can’t conceive. Though they may have not shared each and every personal detail with their extended family, it’s not that they haven’t tried heroically and valiantly to be mothers by taking years of hormone shots and attending dozens of doctor’s appointments at 6 a.m. before work. I have many friends who have had miscarriages. I’ve also had friends who’ve lost their own mothers way to early, that start Mother’s day planting flowers at the grave site before spending the rest of their afternoon with their mother-in-law. Putting on happy faces, bringing flowers and desserts to the occasion, because it’s what is expected. I never understood any of this until I had my own worst Mother’s Day experience.
I was in bed for awhile contemplating the idea of this post. It isn’t meant for anyone to feel bad or to ruin your Mother’s day. Maybe for me it’s easier said then done because I eventually got my happy ending, but it surely changed my expectations for this day of celebration. My first loss just shaped my perspective and allowed me to understand that this could be a day that isn’t fun for everyone and we should allow that to be okay without any personal attacks or judgments.