Mother’s Day… For seven years this holiday was painful for me. It brought up so much heartache and sadness and pain. You can read any number of posts I’ve written about how hard Mothers Day is for the woman who remains childless not by choice. (2017 before Marlee, 2016, 2015, 2014, & 2013) I’ll be honest and admit that it still feels surreal that I’m (to an extent) on the other side of that struggle. It’s a weird position to be in because after being an advocate and spokesperson for all those like myself for so long… I’m not really sure what to write now that I’m… in a sense… a survivor, recovered, redeemed…
So I started thinking back to this time last year… when I was still so fresh to motherhood – only being Marlee’s mama for a month. I think back to all the feelings I shared last year… and I realize that not much has changed. It still feels surreal to me. There are so many days I look down at her and wonder how in the world we are so blessed to have such an amazing little girl as our daughter. And this holiday is still incredibly bittersweet for me… It will never be lost on me that in order for us to gain a daughter, Marlee’s first mama had to lose one. The magnitude of that decision and the lifelong impact that will have on both Marlee and her first mom is not lost on me either. I will never know that hurt or pain or selflessness because if I was in her position, I don’t think I could have made such a difficult, brave, and altruistic decision. I also will never take for granted that Marlee does, in fact, have two mamas who love her very much and that there may be some bittersweet feelings for her surrounding this holiday in the future too. It’s just hard for me to just think about my happiness at being Marlee’s mother when there are so many other people who’s feelings matter in this equation too.
Of course I also think about all of my friends who are still fighting the battle for their family. I will never forget the pain of this journey or the heartache it caused. Because in all honesty, there are still some days that it hurts… some days that I feel jealous… some days I pine for the baby we lost and the twins that never actually existed… And there are days I feel unworthy of my blessing… this perfect little person I get to hold and love. Days that I wonder why me and not one of my warrior sisters still fighting to grow her family. I hurt for every one of my friends on this road. Whether they are struggling to have their first or their third. It never gets easier. It’s just different.
But all of this also gets me thinking about this holiday and why do we celebrate it anyway? So here’s the thing… I’m officially a year into motherhood and I’ll admit it’s hard. There’s so much to do and keep up with. And I get that a lot of times it feels like a thankless job. You’re cooking and doing laundry and helping kids with homework and driving kids to practice. You’re doing the grocery shopping and reading bedtime stories and creating special moments with these little people you love. You’re losing sleep and making sure everyone is on schedule and everyone is getting what they need and there are days you don’t get what you need because you’re taking care of everyone else. It’s a lot… and I feel that a lot of days too.
But I have to ask myself… if you wanted to be a mother… didn’t you know that was part of the gig? Do we really need a day for a pat on the back?
Here’s the thing – I’m not saying you don’t deserve it. I’m not saying you’re not supermom with everything you do. But I think of all the people who can’t have kids who want them. I’m thinking of all the waiting adoptive couples. I’m thinking of women who’ve lost a baby. I’m thinking of birth moms who place their child up for adoption. … And all I can think is… Man… isn’t it a privilege to do what we do? Isn’t it an immense blessing and responsibility to get to nurture and love and help these little people grow? No… being a mom isn’t all roses and rainbows and of course we all want to be appreciated from time to time. But I think sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in all the “doing” and forget the blessing you have in your kids too. The miracle they are.
By all means – celebrate! Celebrate yourself! Celebrate your own mom! But maybe we should celebrate our kids more… after all we wouldn’t get to be a mom without them. And if you have a friend who’s struggling to grow her family – show her a little extra love this weekend too!