Mother's Day

This is a hard one. This marks the 5th Mother's Day that I thought would be my last Mother's Day without children, and yet I still have empty arms. Each year this day gets more and more depressing. I love my mother so much. She is my best friend, my primary therapist, she encourages me, listens to me, has patience with me, and so much more. I'm thankful to be able to celebrate her, as well as my wonderful mother-in-law who I love so much, and both my grandmas who I want to be like someday. For these 4 amazing and beautiful reasons I love Mother's Day.

But...and it's a big BUT...Mother's Day is a lonely and difficult day for many, including me.

All of you who are mothers know that this day is meant for you! It's to celebrate you, your hard work, your selflessness, your resilience, your example. On Mother's Day you appreciate the love of your child(ren), that blessing of your child and the ability you have to be their one and only mother. They give you flowers, cards and crafts, make you breakfast, sing you songs, give you hugs and kisses, etc. You see the reward in all your hard work on this day, and hopefully many other days during the year. Unfortunately on Mother's Day (and every other day) I don't get to see my reward. I know you've put in a lot of work to raise your children, and I don't want to discount that or put you down in any way. But I've done a lot of work too, and while you get credit at least one day a year (and in reality, many more days than one) I don't get much credit at all. I hope I can help you understand...

I am a mother. I am a mother to two dogs who I love and spoil, and a mother to my husband who can (at times) act of the same maturity as your 12 year old son. Those are obvious. But I'm also a mother to more. I'm a mother to several sweet tiny souls who I've never met, but who I've worked just as hard to have in my family as you have worked for your children. (Cue eye roll) Some of you may say  "Really...that's nice but your not cleaning up someone else's throw up on your bed at 2am after being woken up 4 separate times" or some other situation you encounter with your children. To that I say, you're right! I don't have dried snot on my arms or diapers taking over my purse. I don't have oatmeal in my hair or have to stay up until 2am consoling a feverish screaming baby. But I have been up at 2am because of cramping pain, I've been put under anesthesia 4 times for procedures that leave me bleeding for a month, I've done over 150 shots, taken thousands of pills, driven weeks worth of minutes to and from (not to mention time spent at) doctor appointments, shed a swimming pool of tears, had more ultrasounds than 4 regular pregnancies combined, spent tens of thousands of dollars on treatments, lost too many hairs to count, and much much more...all with no guarantee and only hope to become a mother. To me, the differences between my efforts and yours as a mother are that I don't get to hold my children. I have no physical sign of the mothering I've done. I don't get to have a full minivan, or match outfits with my mini-me, or have a little sticky hand hold mine to cross the street, or have a small human that I've made want to cuddle me when they have a fever. I still "don't have children," put more accurately I don't have any yet that I will know in this life. And that hurts. It hurts a physical pain that can't ever fully be taken away because I believe they all exist, and I miss them.

I miss them just as much as a mother who lost a child she knew well, but I can't talk about them like that mother can speak of her child. Instead I grin through the "are you guys going to start having kids soon?" and "well at least it's fun practicing", and the "must be nice to be able to (insert anything about not having children that seems more appealing than having children)" on the day after you found out that your third IVF cycle didn't work, or 30 minutes before you go home and give yourself the 2nd shot that day that leaves you hardly able to sit down. I put my life on hold by constantly saying "But if this cycle works and I happen to be pregnant in __ months, I won't be able to do XYZ" ...and then guess what... The cycle doesn't work, that day eventually comes and goes, and we have no plans, no kids, no baby bump, no excuse, no proof of the physical, emotional, mental marathon we've been running.

That's why Mother's Day is hard. I hope you understand, and I think you do. Please be thankful on days other than Mother's Day. Be thankful that you can see accomplishment in your mothering as you see your children grow, because not all mothers have that opportunity. Instead we are "mothers"...the kind that get the quotation marks because we don't appear to fit the description, but you don't want to leave us out completely. The "we are all 'mothers' because we are women" type of 'mothers' because we don't have children to raise right now. I don't know with 100% certainty that my tiny embryo babies have their own identity and personality like your children do, but I know their genders, their genetics, I have their pictures and I worked hard for every single one of them. I hold them in my heart every minute of every day. They occupy my mind each hour. I love them and I miss them. Is that enough to make me a mother?

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