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Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Darker Side of Mother's Day From A Non-Mother

Some Mother's Days are tougher than others.

Back in the Stone Age, Geo and I longed for a child of our own, but biology and financial instability conspired against us, leaving us barren and without the means to adopt. I poured my heart out in all its ugly, uncensored glory here.

99% of the time I'm fine, having come to terms with our fate long ago. Then out of the blue, the heartless 1% claws its bloody way to the surface, rendering me a weepy, melancholic hot mess of a girl, until I can manage to muzzle the sumbitch and stuff her back in the steamer trunk stashed in the dark recesses of my soul before my mascara starts to run in streaks the likes of which Tammy Faye Baker would be proud.

Pfffft! Who am I kidding. I don't wear mascara.

I suppose you could classify this as grieving for a loved one who never was, for lost possibilities. Fortunately, the grieving is brief, but it's something that is always with me, under the surface, waiting to stab me with a pitch fork, because it's a ginormous ASSHOLE that won't GET THE FUCK OUT. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a great life filled with the love of an amazing man, an unconditionally supportive family and incredible friends who willingly share their lives and progeny with me. I can't thank them enough for the honor.

It HAS been a very good life. And yet...

This morning, my dear sister/friend, Steph, with whom I get both my baby and doggie fix, shared a beautifully written blog post on Facebook by a British artist named Jani Franck entitled, "For All the Women Who Are Not Mothers... On Mother's Day". I swear she peered into my wounded heart. It's eloquent, compassionate, touching and totally made me cry whilst reading it. But in a good way. Men don't get the significance of a "good cry" at all. They are completely baffled by it. Poor things. It's a chick thing.

Anywho, it's a meaningful piece I didn't want to lose track of amidst the quagmire of social media. Even though these words left me teary-eyed, they also left me feeling comforted, like a big, warm hug on a day that sometimes feels a little cold.

Here's to all of us ladies who are childless by nature or design. We may not be actively mothering, but we are all nurturers. We might not have kids to kiss, to cuddle, to walk in our footsteps, but we're all mothers in one form or another. Occasionally, we're even Muthas. Ha Ha! Who knows, maybe things will be different in our next life time. Next go round I might have a penis! Imagine how awesome that will be for those urine samples... among other things. :)


In any case, this is for us, girls. Bring a tissue. xoxoxo

For all the women who are not mothers.... on Mother's Day

For all the women who are not Mothers, on Mothers Day.

I woke up thinking of us, the not-Mothers.

The ones of us who won't get breakfast in bed, burnt toast and cold eggs made by clumsy little hands.  Not a hand drawn card, or a hastily bought bunch of flowers, or daffodils from the garden.  We won't get  a long distance phonecall from a grown child off travelling, or at Uni - or a Special Lunch Out.  Not today, at least.

The women who are asked the question, again and again - 'when?' and 'why not?' as if there was something terribly wrong with us.

Sometimes, even we think that might be true.  As if there was some secret we've not been let in on.

The ultimate sacrament of childbirth, birthing you into full womanhood.  Like we missed an important final exam and can't get the certificate that says 

'Yes, you are a Grown Up Woman now'.

Detail from 'Red Tent Goddess' painting by Jani Franck

Even though that's not true, of course.

This is for the women whose wombs just wouldn't, couldn't, start to grow a life.  

For those who felt life growing, perhaps many times - but those tiny ones slip away so easily.

Sometimes, we have to choose to let the tiny ones go, because we are not ready for them.

And nobody remembers the really tiny ones, except for us.  Especially today.

For the ones who went through the terrible lottery of fertility treatment - and didn't win the prize.

For the women who just didn't meet the right father, at the right time. 

For the women who find it's too late, for the Crone comes to sit with us all, gently holding our hands as the bleeding slows and stops - much sooner than we were expecting her.

For the women who love a man who cannot father children.  This is a silent sorrow, for it's not our secret to tell or solely our pain to bear.

For the women who love a man who doesn't want to be father, and who after many tearful all-night conversations, make our peace with this.

For the women who love women, whose love can make everything but new life. Not yet, anyway.

For the women who were born with a man's body.

For the ones who decided that our beloved vocation, our calling, wouldn't allow us to be Mothers, too.  A hateful, painful choice few men have ever had to make.

For the ones who think that seven billion (and counting) of us is probably quite enough, and couldn't bring ourselves to ask Mother Earth to feed another little mouth.

For the ones who can't afford to give a child what it needs, perhaps materially, perhaps emotionally - perhaps both.  Who loved our imagined little ones enough to make that choice.  

The women who have lost a child.  You will always be a mother, though you get no card today.

The women who simply never felt it was quite right for us, without even quite understanding why.

We women who have noticed friends and relatives drift away after having children.  The friends of years vanishing into a bubble of motherhood.  Leaving us with no children in our immediate circle to give us the company of little ones at least, because it's fun to hang out with little ones.

The ones who feel joy, of course - but also a deep, unspoken sorrow, when we watch one of our sisters glowing with pregnant bliss, or breastfeeding a little one, or catching the look of perfect love between a mother and child.

Of course it does hurt, sometimes.

Whatever our reasons for having none of our own.

We women who know, of course, that we do so many, other, valuable things.  

We are the women who mother other women's children, who are the birth mother of businesses, projects, ideas, gardens, animals, vocations, art, books, poems, blogs, scientific research, films, communities, causes and so much else......

We know.

That being a mother is just one way to be a woman.  

Just one way, but one way that is held up as an impossible ideal - even for mothers.  The perfect Mama.  The perfect woman.

This isn't because I want your sympathy.  Because I don't, we don't, especially not today.  This one little post, today, isn't for all the lovely Mothers.  

The Mothers I do respect and celebrate, and admire.  I wonder daily how you do the amazing, important, difficult job you do.  We should give you flowers every day.

Today, this is for the ones who are still waiting.

For the ones who know the waiting is over.

This is for you.  This is for us.


Tami - Teacher Goes Back to School said...

so many feelings on the mother's day. until our ridiculously long adoption wait i didn't understand the pain of loving someone you didn't even know.

i wish you were here so i could give you a big hug and let you get some toddler time with mine.

thank you for being honest and sharing your feelings.

Murray said...

Thanks for your compassion, Tams. I will take your cyber hugs (doled out by Geo) any time. I wish you, me and Stephanie lived within walking distance so we could hang together.