The stats are in, moms had it rough last year. With so many either out of work, forced to take a cut in hours, or strapped with the impossible task of remote work while educating home-schooled kids, Mother’s Day 2021 has been well earned.
But this year and every year, let’s also take a moment to acknowledge the women who are currently praying to become a mother, wishing that their mother was in their lives, or both.
Because whichever category (or categories) they fall into, the feeling of facing a holiday that specifically targets the epicenter of their pain is incredibly isolating.
I am just one woman, with one woman’s story to tell. But I hope that my story will shed light on what someone in your life might be experiencing this May 9th, 2021.
My heart sinks, and my palms sweat as I begin writing this. The sheer thought of Mother’s Day gives me such a visceral reaction that I’m nearly ill. And it’s happened every year for as long as I can remember.
Vividly, I can remember being confused by Mother’s Day as a child. Confused and left out.
In grade school, I recall students and teachers celebrating the holiday by presenting flowers and cards to moms making lunchroom cameos. I would watch kids proudly gift their crafts to mothers who, lovingly and gratefully, cherished their personalized tokens of appreciation.
“Who are these people?”, I would think to myself. “How did these kids get moms that seemingly adore them AND participate in school functions?” The concept was almost unbelievable.
I do remember understanding that my mom’s job prevented her from being present. But I also remember the look on her face when I would finally deliver my artwork to her after school. If the look of utter waste of time didn’t say it all, finding my work in the discarded pile of mail definitely did.
It was probably a dumb gift anyway. I’ll do better next year.
As an older teenager, and as a woman in my twenties, Mother’s Day became a Hallmark holiday. Just another way for the Target card display to pressure me into deciding whether or not I should buy a card.
It wasn’t a difficult decision, but it was an awkward one. If we were on speaking terms that year, a card was in order. But then the next challenge would begin. Finding one with the least amount of sentiment.
“Blessed To Have You As My Mother”… Umm, no. “I Hope I’m Half The Mother You Are Someday”… Hard pass. “Happy Mother’s Day, Hope It’s Nice”… Perfect.
What a waste of $3.99. Maybe next year I’ll just say no.
In my thirties, salt was added to the Mother’s Day wound. Infertility.
For five years, I would fight the urge to spend the day in bed. And while holding back spontaneous tears, I celebrated with other people’s mothers.
Every year, my extended family threw a terrific Mother’s Day brunch. And don’t get me wrong, it was always a nice time spending the day with my grandma and aunts, but the subject I dreaded most would always manage to come up.
“Someday Christina, we will be celebrating you.” Or worse, “Any news to share with us this year, Christina?”
No Grandma, maybe next year I’ll be a mom, maybe.
Then 2019 came. After a successful round of IVF, I was pregnant with my son, and I was a mom. Finally. I could not wait to wear my maternity sundress, and brunch with the other women in my family as a member of the club.
What I didn’t anticipate, was the reality of Mother’s Day 2019. I wouldn’t be pregnant and glowing, but instead, living in the NICU and praying.
I was gratefully a mom, but quarantined to a room filled with cords and machines, “holding” my little boy through the holes of an incubator.
Next year is my year. Not only will I be celebrating, but I will be celebrating while showing off my sweet baby boy.
Now, the irony of being quarantined in 2019 (while thinking that it was a temporary situation) is not lost on me. But honestly, when our next spring celebration was cancelled due to Covid in 2020, I practically expected it.
And this year? This year I will be celebrating other people’s mothers once again because I took a job as a restaurant server just in time for Mother’s Day 2021.
Genius. Oh well, maybe next year.
To all the women who will be grieving instead of, or while, celebrating this Mother’s Day…
My heart goes out to you. You aren’t alone. It’s okay to cry. You will get through the day. And I hope you find reasons to celebrate your life every chance you get.
I wasn’t blessed with a loving mom, but I am a loving mom, and I will celebrate that every chance I get.