The Laundry: When Mother’s Day Hurts

I have such a hard time with Mother’s Day. One on hand, I want to celebrate my mom and all of the other mother’s out there who do such an amazing job, but it’s a reminder, yearly, that I’ll never get an opportunity to know what that wonderful bond between a mother and their child feels like. I’ve dealt with infertility for years and I’ve had to answer at least a hundred times why we still don’t have children. People speak before they think. They don’t realize that something more might be going on than just not wanting to have children. I remember two years ago on Mother’s Day, I was going through horrible rounds of infertility treatments with no luck. My way younger brother called me and told me that he found out he was going to be a father. I dropped the phone and fell to the floor. I remember my mother telling me how sorry she felt for me. It was that moment that I realized I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t take the pain and constant disappointment. I couldn’t take people’s comments and questions. I still hurt, it’s just a different hurt. I see the look in my husband’s eyes when we see our friends and family with their children. I think that hurts the most. Mother’s Day is tough, but I hope somehow, I will be able to get past the constant reminder that I’ll never be a mother….

– Christine

Normally, Mother’s Day is a cause for intense celebration in my family. Amazing grandmothers, even more incredible mom and I am now mom to two amazing daughters, 5 and 3. But we lost my mom 6 months ago – incredibly, horribly unexpectedly – and I know that my brother, sister, husband and I are feeling her loss so very, very much.

It’s so hard to celebrate something that is now the loss of that very thing. It’s so hard to want to recognize her place in our lives when she’s not there to make her smile, to present her with over the top gifts and acts of love, to laugh about the men in our lives and their desire to fix a wonderful dinner of steaks when we are pasta lovers.

But to not celebrate it is almost worse. Because we were blessed to have had her in our lives. I was lucky to get 35, almost 36 years with an incredible guide, friend, resource and, most importantly, mom. My brother and sister had almost as many years with her. My daughters were blessed to spend every day of their lives with her.

And while there’s a gaping hole made by the lack of her actual presence, I know she’s with us in so many other ways. She’s there in the patience my oldest takes with her drawings – and her artistic ability! It’s in the small, yet grand, ways that my littlest ones shows her love for everyone – a bone crushing hug here, a gentle pat on a cheek there, a little voice saying, “I love you mommy.” It’s in the bonds between my brother, my sister and I. It’s in the knowledge that she gave me that no marriage is easy, it’s not a fairy tale, it takes work but the work makes it even better than a fairy tale because you earned it. It’s in the respect for our grandparents and the sacrifices they made for my parents so that my parents could then make sacrifices for us. It’s in the joy of sitting on the deck with a glass of water, children’s voices laughing in the backyard, enjoying the sun on my face.

I miss her, but I’m forever thankful that I had her at all.

-Lauryn

I spent some time deciding whether to share my Mother’s Day story. I figure hurt is hurt no matter what it stems from. I am almost 33years old, and I have been in a loving, caring relationship for almost nine years. I know beyond any doubt that we would be good parents. There is one little, major problem that stands in the way of me having a Mother’s Day….biology. You see, my loving, caring relationship has been with another woman. People tell us all the time, “oh but you have options.” That’s true. We do have options…options that we can’t afford, or options that don’t apply to us because of the geographical region in which we live. By that I mean, we can’t adopt a child together because it isn’t legal for us to do so. Artificial insemination is expensive. I know that my story is different from a lot in that people think I should just suck it up because I “chose” this relationship. However, I did not. So, I don’t get to celebrate Mother’s Day because I was born a certain way. I don’t get to have an “oops” with the woman I consider my wife like some couple do. She and I have a loving, stable home that would welcome a child, but we don’t get to have that simply because we were both born with same equipment. Biology, man….it really messes things up sometimes.

– S

When my friends hurt, so do I. I have a tendency to take on other people’s burdens, sometimes without even knowing it. It is just part of my makeup. Sadly, in the last decade, I have hurt alongside several of my beloved friends, as they have lost a mother way too early, most of whom, to cancer: Jay Holder, Sally Baker, Bruce Frazier, Martin Nelson, and of course, my own mother as she lost hers of a brain aneurysm. I cried (ok, I sobbed) when I heard of each of their mothers passing, and I cried tears I did not even know I had. I cry and hurt alongside them even now, because I know one day, I will join that club. And, I will need their support more than ever. So, even those of us who may not have experienced a grief exactly such as theirs, we still will mourn a bit on Mother’s Day, because one day, we will. So, while I celebrate my mom and all that she is this coming Sunday, I bear the burden, officially, of a Rip-Your-Heart-Out kind of holiday, in tribute to my friends and their mothers, and for the future support I will one day need.

– Ashley GS

My mother died on Wednesday, April 19, 2000. My wedding that she was only able to help a little bit with the planning, was on May 6, a mere two and a half weeks later. The next Sunday was Mother’s Day. Boom. Boom. Boom. I was talking to my cousin earlier that week, and I told her I wanted to cancel Mother’s Day. “I know, honey,” to which I replied, “ummm….no, I don’t think you do. So, how do we go about doing that? Contact the local news stations?” I was being totally serious. I’m the youngest of five. The baby. The favorite (no, really I am). I usually get my way. But, Mother’s Day was not cancelled, so I spent the day travelling 60 miles each way with my dad, brother and new husband (who, by the way, skipped his own mother’s Mother’s Day Brunch), to go to my mother’s fresh grave to place flowers on it. We all cried. A lot. Worst.Mother’s.Day.Ever. The second Mother’s Day was spent a lot like the first. In case you’re wondering, I did let my husband go to his mother’s Mother’s Day Brunch 😉 The third Mother’s Day *I* was a mother! That day was a lot like my daughter’s birth day just a week earlier — a recipe of a cup of happy with a dash of sad all day long. Fast forward four years on a beautiful spring morning in March when my son was born. Later that evening it occurred to me that I wasn’t sad at all that day. Wait. What? How’d that happen? Two months later was Mother’s Day. Again. Best.Mother’s.Day,Ever!! I’m so glad (yet, still a little surprised), that Mother’s Day was never cancelled. To be clear, I really, really miss her. But I don’t have the weighted sorrow, literally take your breath away feeling that I felt every single day for years. And that’s a good feeling.

– Twyler

I lost 5 babies to miscarriage so I had a lot of years of hurt. I’m sorry that you are having a difficult time. Hugs!!

– Dina

This is the first Mother’s Day I’ve celebrated with a child. Should be cool, right? Well its a foster child. She’s the 4th child I’ve cared for since we started fostering 9 months ago. We’ve had Sweet S for 7 months and expect to have her for 5 more. So its a strange feeling – I am her mother right now. But she also has a birth mother. Who she gets a visit with every week and who is making mediocre progress on her goals to get S back. Adoption may or may not be in the cards for me but I would love for it to be. Its hard to celebrate feeling like I am not S’s “real” mom. Does that make sense?

– Meg

As a pastor’s wife, we don’t do the oldest, youngest mother thing. We give all the mom’s a gift and have them all stand and be recognized.

My heart always goes out to those women trying to get pregnant and those women that no longer have their mom’s with them. It’s all so bitter sweet.

My oldest daughter (mid 30’s) has been trying to get pregnant for a few years and has suffered two miscarriages. So I kinda know what you are going though because it took me 4 years to get pregnant with my first child.

I will be the preacher for our service on Mother’s Day and I’m so glad I read your post!

– Alli

Motherhood comes in many forms for me and my friends. i make sure to celebrate each way.

– Melinda LWMF

Just not being with my mom during those special moments. I can’t say I had anything drastic..but I appreciate your story.

– Christie C

Before I begin pouring out my heart, I want to preface with my wonderful son. He is my sunshine and my heartbeat. He is sweet (like his daddy), sassy (like me), and very smart (he gets that from both of us (cough)). I thank God every day for blessing me with this wonderful, amazing, brilliant child.

My husband and I found out I was pregnant a year after we were married. ONE YEAR. We had huge dreams of going on vacations, buying our dream home, and going back to grad school. All this came to a sudden halt when I peed on that stick and the double lines immediately appeared. I had a very rough pregnancy. I was constantly swollen, tired, and miserable. At our 20 week visit, I was having an ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. My parents and my husband’s parents were all in the ultrasound room. During the ultrasound, the tech said very little. The due date was pushed back two weeks. I knew something was wrong. When we finally saw the doctor she broke the news that I had no amniotic fluid and the baby wouldn’t make it. The baby wouldn’t make it. Those words still ring through my head and sting my heart. This baby that I wasn’t even sure I wanted, wasn’t going to make it. We had an intensive ultrasound 2 weeks later, and there was no heartbeat. The baby died. Abigail Joyceanne was buried a week later. My heart still aches for the baby that I didn’t think I wanted…

– Fancy

Mother’s Day hurts  because my mother SUCKS. She’s mean. She’s critical. She nags. There is always a put down. Not to mention she’s hateful to my dad. My dad, the saint. I have faked my way through Mother’s Day for her until I had my son. Now I buy a cutsie Grandmother Mother’s Day card and call it a day.

– Dixie Montague

One of my good friends lost her mother a few years ago. She herself is not a mother yet either. Mothers Day is incredibly painful for her too. I am truly sorry that you are having oven problems. My sister has PCOS- but has not attempted a pregnancy yet. People can be way insensitive sometimes- it is hard to find the right thing to say. The only thing I can think of is “That fucking sucks!”

Wow those poor ladies must have felt uncomfortable! Mother’s day must be hard for a lot of women for a lot of reasons.

– Carly

I remember it took 10 years to conceive our first child. Each and every Mother’s Day killed me.

– Val

Very strong words. I do in fact remember those who are hurting this day every year because when fathers day comes around I’m the one who needs the comfort. Will be thinking of you.

– Sandra

Your post made me cry! Yes, we all get wrapped in holidays, however it’s to celebrate our mothers and the women in our life who have inspired us. I have been blessed to have three adorable boys, yet I am a single mom. So this hurts me too. While other mothers are being donned on and their husbands are catering to them – not just on mothers day but all other days – I do this alone. I wish I could do more for my kids.

– Mommy2Jam

My 31st birthday was Saturday. I realized it hit me a lot harder than 30. People are always telling me, “you’re still a baby!” Of course these people are 60 +, which isn’t a bad thing, but let’s be real, my childbearing days are getting fewer and fewer. I always thought I wanted children, and thought I would have them, until 25 – I still found hope. 27, will be the year, and then it was 29, and then it was definitely 30! 30 will be my year. Of course, I want to be a “good” girl, be married, stable, yadda yadda yadda, but let’s be honest, all of those options are looking slim at this age as well. Not to say I will never meet someone and marry, but if I want children it needs to happen within 5-7 years tops.

I’m already feeling time crunch, then my doctor tells me, with all of my wonderful female issues, that I have a hostile uterus that likes to shed inside out, which narrows my chances of having a baby even further down. At this point, I drove home, poured a whiskey and fell apart. I realized, after all of these years, I do indeed want kids. All of these years of telling myself, I have more time, and more options, and then BAM. I still have time, and I still have options, but let me be clear that I am completely at the this sucks stage and wallowing in my own baren pity party.

I keep putting off all of my friends with children, because they always look at me like they hate that I get to sleep in, or shop when I want, or even read. When they are sending me looks of disgust and jealousy, I am yearning to be the mom who is up on Saturday morning cooking her babies breakfast and playing in the park. So this Mother’s Day, I will celebrate my mother and my wonderful grandmother happily. They deserve it; however, after I get back home I may drink myself silly!

– Amber

There is another group that’s left out on Mother’s Day…the women who are childfree by choice. When my husband and I came to this decision, we learned really quickly that it was a choice best kept to ourselves. Deciding not to be parents tends to be interpreted as a judgment on those who are, and an affront to those who can’t be. Then before you know it, you’re a baby-hating selfish monster, and no one wants to be near you in case it rubs off. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful moms out there, and I’m happy they are happy. And my heart hurts for all those women who long to be mothers but experience road blocks along the way. I just hate being judged as less of a woman because I’m not in either of those camps.

– Shelley

Im so sorry that this happened/is happening to you!! I cannot imagine how it feels.

-Amy

Growing up, it was not unusual for me to hear my mother tell the church ladies, “I love you.” Happened all the time. yet, I can’t recall a single time she ever said it to me. I remember once asking her, “Why don’t you ever say that you love me?” Her response? “I guess it’s because of how I was raised.”

You’d think that after a child asks you a question like that, you’d change your ways, but not my mother.

She tells her grandchildren, “I love you.” Maybe that made her more comfortable saying it to her now adult children. Unfortunately, every time she says those three little words to me now, I want to puke. Literally. I become nauseous. And it hurts no less than not hearing the words as a child. While I feel so much joy on mother’s day, there’s always the niggling thought that my own mother found me unlovable.

– Not Mommie’s Dearest

I canNOT stand to be pitied. So I don’t talk about this with other women. Most of my dearest, most faithful friends – who love me without question – nevertheless have been blessed with children and the helpless look that would come into their eyes if they knew how painful this day is for me would be interpreted by me as the dreaded “pity”. I refuse to go there, so I just keep a low-profile and put protective strategies in place to get through this day.

I wanted at least one child. Life didn’t bring that to me. I know other women who have faced this, too. And women who had babies, but those children are no longer alive. And women whose beloved children have turned away, either because of a cult or drugs or mysterious reasons. So I know I’m not alone. I know that this is a painful day for many.

But we don’t dare talk openly about this because we’ve learned it only makes others feel uncomfortable and doesn’t really make us feel better. I long since got over feeling any angst on Valentine’s Day! But there will be a tearful moment (unless reading this blog drained me already) sometime Sunday morning when I’ll have to restore the barricades which protect me from feeling sorry for myself. And I know that those friends who will post their children’s and grandchildren’s tributes online this weekend and who will rejoice in being loved by bright-eyed young folks aren’t doing this to be mean to me. I truly want them to be happy. They deserve to enjoy this day.

I don’t want to act as if all the wonderful things that my life has brought me are second-rate! I remind myself 1000 times on Mother’s Day of all the other blessings for which I must be grateful. One of those blessings is the understanding of a friend with whom I’ll have lunch on Saturday. She, too, lives with this. After one long heartfelt talk many years ago, we don’t rehash it. We just have developed a tradition of meeting for lunch one day in May – and it always “just happens” to be the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. We will laugh and hug each other and talk of all the good things in our lives.

We are strong women. We will get through one rough day without bitterness that all our dreams didn’t come true. But thank you for posting this blog because you spoke the words that are difficult for the rest of us to say, even to one another.

– Belle Watling

Mother’s Day of 2003, I was given a crystal vase from my husband. Eleven days later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The next year, on Mother’s Day 2004, I walked into church and was handed a pink rose, as was customary to give mothers in our church. Only this year, there was no baby in the nursery. No baby in my arms. No baby crying for milk. Only a baby, forever asleep, in a cemetery a mile away. But I was a mother. I AM a mother.

– Jana, from Jana’s Thinking Place

I think the hardest Mother’s Days for me were before I became a biological mother. I married into a ‘ready made’ family and my ‘step kids’ were 4,4 and 5 at the time. Even though I was the ‘main’ mom figure when they were growing up, every time Mother’s Day came rolling around, I had to stand in the shadows and not be recognized. Sounds silly to some, but step moms are moms to… or most of them.

-Aimee

As an adoptive Mom with open adoptions, my mother’s days are always a little bittersweet. I want my girls to have ongoing relationships with their natural mothers, but I know the morning isn’t easy for them or me.

– Virginia


You are still welcome to share your story in the form below. Let’s keep this conversation going. It’s time to hang it all out to dry!

 

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