Why Mother’s Day is Crap…

Mother’s day is my least favorite holiday in all of the calendar year days to celebrate. It isn’t that I don’t love my bio-mom, because I do. Very much. And it isn’t that I don’t honor the memory of my mom or my grandmother, who both stepped in when I needed them the most. Until yesterday, I’m not even sure I could summarize why I’d just rather ignore it completely…

Years ago, on my friend Mindy’s first mother’s day she gave me a sweet little mother’s day gift. A loving little gift for me, and a gift to tuck away for my someday baby. In the note which accompanied, she thanked me for loving on her sweet baby girl and she expressed her faith and optimism for my someday mommyhood. In that small gesture she acknowledged that I was more than my miscarriages and infertility. I was more than my broken heart and empty longing, but she did this is a personal way that was real and did not place any pressure on me. Years later Mindy would have a brilliantly huge birthday bash where friends from everywhere would travel to pay her honor, and speak. I would share my memory, and publicly fall apart in a soppy mess of tears. Partly this is because I don’t publicly speak, partly there were other reasons but significantly to this post, it is because her beautiful gesture will forever be one of my Top Ten Life moments. It meant more to me than the majority of gifts that I’ve ever been given,  and to tell you the truth, I cannot even remember what the gift for me was exactly. Something from Bath & Body Works I think. Because, the what was completely irrelevant. It was the why, and the how, and a little bit of the when… For Mindy, it was her first Mother’s Day, as a mom. It was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. It was a crappy day for her even beyond that last tragic reason because she was not acknowledged or appreciated… So much went into something so small and meaningful.

Beyond that one tiny instance though, Mother’s Day for me has meant blinding reminders of my miscarriages and infertility. It has meant a world full of Hallmark holiday expectations met with reality that is far more hurt filled… And by this I don’t mean that I expected beautiful and expensive gifts from my kids and instead got a handmade macaroni card… I mean, I am a mom to hurt kids, who were hurt before I got the privilege of being their mom. The very real truth to this is that sometimes they feel really hard things and they lash out and punish, and the person on the receiving end of that will be me. And it sucks. And this always falls on my birthday, and this always falls on Mother’s Day (and other holidays. and non-holidays, and days that start with consonants and end in y’s.)

While I believe that people mean well, I have to question why there is an intolerance to actual Motherhood, an insensitivity. Attachment disorder aside, events like baby showers, baby dedications, etc. can be very difficult for someone who has lost a child or struggles with infertility. I was shocked yesterday when we went to church (just my husband and I, as our daughter was at youth group elsewhere) and dozens of people we’ve never met where telling me Happy Mother’s Day. (and not just me, EVERY adult woman.) At one point I logged on to Twitter/FB in the afternoon and saw hundreds of tweets/posts from friends who are either fellow adoptive moms, other women who ache for babies, or friends who have lost children talking about how difficult of a day it was. Women who feel isolated by their hurt should not have to go into hiding days before a holiday meant to make them feel loved, should they? This just makes me sad. There has to be a way that we can embrace the broad spectrum of motherhood and all of the different types of women that it holds within it, whether they are grieving, feeling unloved, aching to be a mom or just tired and under appreciated. This is not a one-size-fits-all holiday, but it’s up to us (women) to take notice and acknowledge each other to make that difference. The type of mom, in the type of family that this cookie cutter holiday caters to, is the minority, and if you look close you’ll see that a large portion of moms spend their special days in misery, and then to top it off there is the guilt that follows, from feeling miserable.

We keep Mother’s Day REALLY low key around our house. Chw will make breakfast. We don’t usually go to church (for the reasons I mentioned above) but did yesterday because Gen really wanted to. We might go to the book store, or a movie, and then we just hang out at home. I like the low key… Last week was a hard week full of lots of anger and hard, mean words. I like the quiet days, they suit me just fine. My favorite “Mother’s Day” will always be that one, the year before I became a mom, with the thoughtfulness my friend displayed though. If  only we could all be a little more like that…

2 thoughts on “Why Mother’s Day is Crap…

    1. It is very difficult. My husband actually calls it “wife’s day”, and I appreciate the thought but it changes little… Yes, I don’t think she realized, at the time, how huge her gesture was, in so many ways…

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