The other day my Google Assistant sent me an email, that looked like this:
Huh. Like ANYONE could not know when Mother's Day is, when there is such an onslaught of ads, promotions, commercials, etc. A momslaught, ha ha.
I was annoyed with my phone for sending me this, because Mother's Day is EVERYWHERE.
I am fortunate, because I do not watch TV a whole lot and when I do it's Netflix or Hulu, and so I am spared the ad campaigns designed to make me feel unwhole and deficient on this day that totally leaves out people who WANTED to be moms, but for whatever reason COULDN'T realize that dream. But... the Hallmark store reminds me. Target reminds me. Pretty much any store has some kind of Mother's Day promotion going on, reminds me.
I'm all for celebrating my own mom, and my mother-in-law, and my grandmother. It just stings not a little that this day will NEVER be for me. Not ever. No one is going to be like, "hey, I should send Jess a Mother's Day card because she really wanted to be a mom but isn't, and there are cards like that." Um, there's not to my knowledge any card that honors the experience of the childfree not by choice. Unless it exists online. Maybe this is an untapped market.
Cards from "The Cat" don't count. (To me at least, even though my kitties are dear to my heart. They're NOT CHILDREN.)
Last year's Mother's Day was my first knowing that I wouldn't ever be one. I think that would normally be a terribly difficult day, except for a couple things -- we were celebrating my mom's graduation ceremony with a graduate certificate in theology that day, and I was frantically trying to finish writing up all my National Board Teacher Certification stuff. I SIMPLY DIDN'T HAVE THE TIME TO FEEL ALL THE FEELS.
This year is different. I am fully planning to take a Facebook hiatus two days before and two days after Mother's Day. I love you mothers out there, but your posts make me interminably sad. So I will not be hanging out on the book of face for a few days. A couple years ago I avoided the day of but neglected to realize that the two days after still had a lot in the feed that made me feel awful and left out and opened the uterus-shaped hole in my heart, so now I know. Avoid for longer.
Another difference is that my mom was invited up to my sister's for an event for Lion's Club, and so she won't be here on the day itself. We'll celebrate on a different day, but this gives me freedom. Freedom to take this day to honor the mother I never got to be, to feel the feels surrounding a holiday that isn't inclusive to me and never will be.
I scheduled a 90 minute massage on Mother's Day. Why not treat myself?
I think maybe we'll get some takeout, and I'll read and garden in the backyard so I don't have to see the Stroller Brigade go by.
I'll take some time for me, which may seem selfish, but also NOT AT ALL.
Mother's Day is a special kind of torture for the infertile person, because there's this pressure to celebrate the moms in your life while feeling like this black hole of mom-ness, a void where it seems everyone else is getting flowers and breakfast in bed and handmade cards and artwork from little hands. It is expected that you use the day to honor your mom, or the moms in your lives, and put your own sad, bitter feelings aside for the day.
With all due respect, fuck that.
It is my experience that most people are okay with you celebrating on a different day. That it's okay to suggest that. Because this day is HARD. And it should be acknowledged that Mother's Day is difficult for a lot of people -- people who've lost their moms, but also people who've lost their opportunity to become a mom and mourn that experience, hard. It has to be a balance.
I wish there was a card for us. I wish that there was another day that honored the childfree not by choice, where we could universally be treated to flowers or chocolates or breakfast in bed and a "It's Your Day!" mentality.
Thinking of the people in my tribe as you wrestle with balancing the day for yourself and for those you honor, and sending so much love at this difficult time. Take care of you, and try to carve a little time (or a lot) to honor the losses that feel so fresh on this day.