Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Survival

Sometimes I wonder if it is a cosmic joke that my birthday weekend is immediately followed by Mother's Day. For a time in my life I did not even really notice this phenomenon, and then it became a source of bitterness. It is a one-two punch that I hope one day will turn into a double joy, when I no longer dread growing older (despite knowing that another year is a gift) and I can finally celebrate this holiday as a recipient. 

Until then it feels like the biggest exclusion. Worse than middle school girl antics (and I had my share of that nonsense, so I know). A holiday that applies to some people and not others. A whole day (and really, weeks) where it feels fertility is being celebrated and you are on the other side of what has become bulletproof glass that you just can't seem to break through in order to join the festivities. 

Don't get me wrong--I don't hate on the holiday completely, because I like celebrating my own mother and grandmothers and mother-in-law, but to have year after year after year after year after year where it doesn't apply to me, where my Mother's Day brunch that I put on NOT on Mother's Day for my own sanity (and probably everyone else's) now celebrates my mother and my sister as she mothers two stepsons, and I am the only woman who is NOT a mother in the room... it's hard. The day itself, which is really just any other Sunday, is hard. 

So I find ways to survive it. Because unlike my birthday, which is hard each year because it marks another year that I am older; that my fertility (questionable to begin with) is nearing its expiration date; that I am STILL not holding a baby in my sun-spotted, slightly floppier arms; that I will now be in my mid-forties when I take my first child to kindergarten; that we are still in a horrible holding pattern and paralyzed from making any major life decisions because this ABSENCE hangs over us and so we are 38 and 40 and a bit stuck...despite all that, it is still a birthday, it still is my day, it still celebrates me and another trip around the sun. There's good stuff. (And what good stuff I had for my birthday--Bryce outdid himself making me feel special and loved and I had days of surprises and excitement, which I'll write separately because it makes for a nice and happy and positive post...) Mother's Day holds nothing for me but a feeling of being tremendously left out. A hollow feeling in my uterus that's amplified. A feeling that if I don't exercise the greatest of self-care, then I will surely be a big fat mess on this day. 

Yesterday was brunch and visiting Grandma and GF Hot Lemon Poke Cake (mmmmm) and strawberry spinach salad and an egg bake with a cheesy hash brown crust and baked oatmeal and grapefruit segments... And presents for my mom for Mother's Day and for my sister for her birthday in a week. A lot of activity. Which contrasts mightily with today. 

Today, the plan is...HERMIT. Stay at home. Eat delicious leftover brunch foods. Hang out in the backyard and maybe get my pale self a little pink (tan is too much to ask...) while I read a book. (Sadly, not for pleasure, too busy with school, but James and the Giant Peach is fun anyway and I know there will be no infertility subtext.) On my brand new, beachy, turquoise chaise lounge that Bryce bought me at last night. A NOT A MOTHER Mother's Day present of care. I have been yammering about wanting a chaise lounge for summer laying about for EVER, and now I have one! It may have been my sadsapness that earned it, because we had gone first to Pets.mart to get the only canned cat food that doesn't make my cat a revolting gastrointestinal mess, and the checkout lady wished me a Happy Mother's Day. Which had me dissolving in tears in the parking lot, because it was super nice of her to assume I was but I wasn't, and then I had that hollow uterus feeling and the hard little knot of sadness lodged in my chest got heavier and tighter. Then we went to and looked at beach chairs and I was reminded that the last chance I had to go to Cape May with my best friend was thwarted by my miscarriage, and who knows when I will be able to take a beach vacation with my girls again? So I was presented with a pity party present, that I adore and love and is my new warm weather best friend. This chaise lounge figures heavily into my Mother's Day survival plan. 

Additionally, I left the house only once. I wasn't going to at all, but then the siren song of ice cream became unignorable and Bryce wanted some and he bought me the beautiful chair and gave me a beautiful birthday and so how could I not go get ice cream on such a beautiful day? I survived it. Because normally I do not like to leave the house at all. Too many maternity landmines out there. 

It was a gorgeous day, and I wanted to weed, but I also wanted to just take care of myself so I don't cry. Because the crying was LAST NIGHT and I claim Mother's Day as my day to do whatever makes me feel like this day is not happening. So no front yardness because there are so many young families nearby and I don't want to see what I don't have. Yet. 

We are grilling out in the backyard for dinner, and I did several hours of schoolwork so I can be in good shape this week and next (since I have the hysteroscopy on Thursday and I want to treat that like one big hospital-anesthetized vacation). Odd self care, but self care nonetheless. 

The biggest thing... NO FACEBOOK. I had to promise Bryce I wouldn't at all, that if I lapsed he would take my phone, and I have managed not to go on at all today or even look at my notifications. It is really nice, actually. No Mother's Day memes to infuriate me, no onslaught of happy families and babies and bellies and everything we lack to send me into a tizzy of tears and self-loathing. I love to torture myself (the other day's trip to YouTube to watch the Up montage from hell is proof of that... WHY would I do that to myself on purpose? Maybe to try to dislodge the hard little knot of sadness with a good cry?), and he knows me well. I kept my promise. I won't even go on tomorrow except to wish someone a happy birthday. Because the onslaught will continue. I'm sure there will be much to make me feel shitty on Facebook this week, so maybe I'll be offline for a while. 

Lastly, this: 
Do you see my prenatals lurking in the
background? OH THE IRONY.

Champagne makes everything better. It's bubbly, and happy, and after today I will make a bit more effort to be on Egg Boot Camp, but not as stringent. I just can't. I blew my stamina on the cancelled cycle, and now I am just tired and frustrated. So I WILL have some Mother's Day champagne, thankyouverymuch. We will toast that maybe this next year will be different. A toast we keep toasting, on and on and on, but we can't help but hope. 

Happy Mother's Day, people. Happy Mother's Day to those who are new moms, those who are expectant moms not quite ready to celebrate the day denied for so long. And ESPECIALLY to those who are moms in heart, who have no baby to hold but a whole lot of love in waiting for that precious gift yet to arrive. May you survive this day intact. May you have the understanding family I have that allow you to celebrate on a different day. May you love yourself today despite the onslaught of YOU DON'T BELONG HERE all over the freaking place. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of a holiday that doesn't pick and choose who gets to celebrate. Someday there will be a Mother's Day with our name on it. Until then, we will make our survival plans and keep on hoping. I toast to you, babyless moms. May this hellish uncertainty come to an end soon.


  1. Oh, and online shopping. I always hold out hope that I can save my clothing budget for maternity clothes, but then summer comes and I need clothing that doesn't make me feel blobby. So I had fun with the online clothing shopping and gave myself a Mother's Day present!

  2. Oh, your post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for celebrating us, moms in heart.

    Despite the difficulties surrounding these two days, it's wonderful that your family was so thoughtful of you and your heart on these days.

    Hugs to you, my friend.

    1. Thanks, Maddie... hugs to you too.

  3. Moms in heart---oh, that's such a nice phrase. I love the way you put things. So glad you take such good care of yourself through these challenges, with your sense of humor and your resilience and the way you honor yourself. Cheers to you, mama in heart.

    1. Thank you, lady! Arggghhhh so tired of being resilient... but it's the only choice I have that doesn't have me in a little ball in my basement with the giant spiders. So resiliency and humor it is. Cheers to you, mama in belly! :)