Perspective is everything on days like Mother’s Day. The day is designed to be filled with so much love, joy and gratitude. Yet for others, it is a day marred by sadness and loss. In the midst of all our collective celebration, there are mothers amongst us quietly remembering and nursing wounds that may ultimately never, ever heal.
I remember how much Mother’s Day used to sting before I had my children. I spent the best part of two years going through fertility treatment and suffering setback after setback.
This is nothing compared to the fertility struggles of others I know, but for me it felt like an eternity.
Everywhere I looked, I saw blissfully happy looking expectant mothers. Stories of women falling pregnant ‘accidentally’ literally made my blood boil. Words cannot accurately describe the degree of betrayal and blame I felt and directed towards my body.
Mother’s Day during this time felt like a sacred rite that I was locked out of – it was cruel and unfair and all I wanted was the chance to be a part of it.
Finally my dream came true and I became a mother. It has been almost sixteen years since my first child was born, and although it is hard at times, the journey to get there has been completely worth it. Mother’s Day cards with misshapen writing, glue-on shapes and raw pasta fragments are now amongst my most cherished possessions.
I look forward to these cards from my kids, more than any present they could ever give me. Raw statements of adoration give way to thoughtful, often humorous messages from my tribe as they grow up and develop their own distinct personalities.
The joy is simply immeasurable.
Since joining the ranks of the Motherhood Club however, I have come to realise that whilst the vast majority of mothers love the day and enjoy celebrating with their nearest and dearest, it isn’t all bells and whistles for everyone.
I will always empathise with those in the position I was in, who possess an insatiable longing for a family of their own. Those who, for whatever reason, would love to be a mum, and simply can’t. Be it physical, emotional, social, financial or health reasons, they are ‘shut out’ of the Motherhood Club. Some, like me, will be lucky enough to get there eventually. Others, however, will never realise their dream. And then there are those who manage to become mothers, who experience that joy and intense love, only to have it tragically stripped away from them.
Mother’s Day must feel like torture for these women.
As a female, it is something we assume will happen – a natural age-old physical phenomenon and a truism as old as humankind itself – women are ‘made’ to have babies and to be mothers.
My age and experience have enlightened to me to a myriad of ‘stories’ of motherhood gone awry – of tragic experiences that have shattered lives, and brought strong, capable women to their knees. I have, over the years, watched wonderful, adoring mothers suffer unimaginable grief, sadness and gut-wrenching loss.
My heart bleeds for them.
Motherhood, with all its wonder and fulfilment, is truly a double edged sword. With the joy and love that we experience for not only our own mothers, but for the beloved fruit of our womb, comes also the potential for the greatest loss we could ever experience. It is a fear that strikes at the heart of women everywhere, and inevitably something that touches all of us at one time or another.
So for me, Mother’s Day needs to be about remembering and recognising ALL experiences of motherhood. It is about the joy of motherhood, but also about acknowledging those facing the ghastly realities of the ‘other edge’ of the sword, in whatever form that may take.
For those who experienced a Mother’s Day that was less than ideal, I hope you managed to take solace in some way. I also hope that time helps ease your burden, even if only slightly.
My thoughts and hugs are with you and your loved ones.