May 6, 2011

Remember Us on Sunday

Driving in to work this morning, I was listening to one of my favorite public radio stations. For weeks they've been promoting buying flowers for Mothers' Day to help support the radio station; a portion of the costs go directly to fundraising.

I'm not sure what it was this morning, but as I listened to my favorite local radio hosts hawk their fundraising flowers, I had to switch the station over to another. They went on and on about mothers and how children should honor the mothers in their lives. I don't disagree - I'm blessed to have two incredible mothers of my own- one by blood and one by marriage- and a sister who's shown me that she is one tough mama. I am grateful for each one of my aunts. And I cherish my dear friends who are mothers themselves. You all set a high standard for me to rise to one day.

But there was something about the radio hosts this morning that left me reflective and sad, as they played testimonials of folks who've bought flowers in the past for this fundraiser, singing the praises of the mothers in their lives who stayed up late with the kids and did so much. "Buy flowers for the stay-at-home moms to brighten their day," they said (as if somehow being a SAHM was otherwise dreary and draining and not the rich experience I know it to be for many moms).

As I changed the station, I thought to myself, "What about all the women who want nothing more to be moms? What about all the women who, for whatever reason, will never be able to be Hallmark's definition of a mom this Sunday?"

What about all the infertile, the childless not by choice?

What about us?

I hold out hope for myself that somehow, someway, I will parent with my husband. But I know there are so many out there who can't parent, despite many emotionally and financially draining attempts. That once again this year for Mothers' Day, it's just not in the cards. Last year, I wasn't as phased by Mothers' Day; I was more about exploring what Motherhood means to people. This year, well - this year is different. And there was something about driving in to work and listening to their endless pitch for flowers that just struck me differently - and deeply - this year.

Yesterday at Advocacy Day in DC (recap post Monday), Risa Levine, RESOLVE's National Advocacy Co-Chair, delivered the keynote address in the morning to all the attendees. She spoke beautifully at the conclusion of her speech about the "elephant in the room" - Mothers' Day this Sunday - and encouraged us to raise a glass for the work we set out to do that day and for all the Wannabe Moms. Because we've all held onto our dreams and fantasies of being a mom one day, and those dreams are just as important.

So, I'm asking the rest of the Hallmark-card-sending-world to remember us on Sunday.

We may not have stayed up late when the kids wouldn't go to bed. But we've stayed up late worrying about our transfers the next morning. We've stayed up late wondering why the agency hasn't called. Stayed up late wondering "How on earth are we going to pay for this?"

We may not have endured 20 hours of labor and a natural birth. But we've endured countless hours in stirrups, endless rounds of needles and herbal treatments and painful surgeries. And years of silence and shame.

We may not have brought our child to work but we've sacrificed careers to stay in jobs we hate just to maintain specific health insurance coverage, however crappy that coverage might be - but it's better than paying 100% out of pocket.

We may not have sold Girl Scout cookies with our daughters or run Boy Scout canned good drives with our sons, but we buy boxes of Thin Mints and hand over soup and beans to yours every time you ask us to.

We may never have experienced all those incredible moments that define and shape Motherhood...

...and we'd give anything to, just once.

Remember us on Sunday.

27 comments:

Whitney Anderson said...

Great post. This one is going to be a hard one for me. Thanks for writing this.

Willow said...

Love this post! I always remember those who are not yet mothers, those who long to be mothers, on Mother's Day. One of the best things said to me before we adopted was, "You are a mom. You just don't have your baby yet." That was how I felt, all those years of waiting, but it felt wonderful to have someone else (a mother herself!) acknowledge it. I'd like to extend the same sentiment to you and to all who are waiting. And all those living childfree after infertility and/or loss too, who worked hard for motherhood before choosing a different path--they also deserve remembrance on Mother's Day. As an infertile, I've become especially aware of those who are like a mother in someone's life, like my aunt who never married or had kids but helped raise me. Mother's Day is (or should be) for them too. It's a tough day for us infertiles. I will be thinking of you.

Journeywoman said...

Thank you, Thank you so much.

Kymberli said...

This is beautiful, Keiko. <3

justine said...

With Willow, I've been celebrating Mother's Day as a day of people who have "mothered" me ... and people whom I have seen mother others. There are a lot of women in the IF blogging community who fall into these categories for me, and I will be celebrating them all on Sunday. *hug* ... thank you for being the woman you are, Keiko. I'm glad that the little girls of the world will have you to look up to.

Esperanza said...

What a beautiful post. I think every Mother's Days I will remember, very poignantly, the ones I spent wanting so badly to be a mother and wondering if I ever would be. Those Mother's Days left very deep marks on my soul and I think I will think of that pain as much as anything else, for every Mother's Day I ever celebrate.

So many women feel so much pain on this day. The daughters of mothers who have died. The mothers of children who have died. The mothers of pregnancies lost. The mothers who hold their not-yet-conceived children in their hearts.

My mother is so many of those mothers. Her mother passed away when she was seven. She lost one daughter at four months old and birthed four still sons. She also has me and my sister, but the losses surrounding her role as mother far outweigh the celebrations. I always wonder how bitter sweet Mother's Day is to her.

Thank you for reminding us all how difficult this day can be, even for those that have mothers and children to celebrate.

Thank you, once again, for your wise and compassionate words.

Keiko said...

@Esperanza - thank you for all of the reminders of how this can be a painful holiday for so many. Sometimes I get that IF tunnel vision voing on, but you're right: this day is hard for the motherless or those who have lost children too. I've even forgotten that this is a hard day for both my moms too, who both lost their mothers in the last year or so.

Kate said...

Mothers day is tough, and I appreciate the point you make for so many of us who would never get a Hallmark card for the day.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I thought it was interesting, but our local Hallmark does have a section for people suffering with infertility or pregnancy loss. It might be a small section, but it's SOMETHING. It made me feel recognized.

Also, having lost a parent at a young age, but mothers and fathers days have always been painful to me. It can be a hard day for so many groups of people- people who have lost babies, people who have lost their moms, people who never had a mom figure, and let us not forget birth mothers who feel the pain as well. And infertiles are one of the groups in that painful rainbow. It's a toughie.

Hope said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Mother's Day, and reminding us that the sacrifices we make during the process of becoming mothers are no less real than the sacrifices made by women who are currently parenting.

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

Well said! Thank you!

Kathy said...

Grr... I just posted a long comment to you and didn't copy it first and then hit post and it disappeared. :(

Anyway, I know I won't be able to recreate what I wrote the first time, but want to thank you for this thought provoking blog entry. I am new to your blog (and also recently started following you on Twitter) and appreciate all that you do to advocate for the infertility community.

I will remember you and all those who still hope, wish, pray and dream of being mothers on Sunday.

Sarah said...

Amazing, wonderfully written, heart breaking post. xo

Nichole said...

Beautiful post. Thank you!

Julia Lynn said...

Very well worded. Love this post. Thank you for writing it.

Good Timing said...

What a wonderful and true post. So much of it rang true for me. :) Thank you for putting that out there...because so many of us struggle to say these things.

Kristin said...

I will definitely be thinking of y'all.

Ashlee G. said...

I copied this post to my blog. I gave you credit!

I hope that's okay!

You just said it so perfectly, I thought everyone should read it.

NotTheMama said...

Thank you :)
It's the one Sunday out of the whole year I purposely, deliberately, unashamedly skip church, for the sole purpose of I'm gonna sleep late.
It's also the day that people like my sister ease the way, as she always gets me a gift and a card and makes me cry. (It's okay - it's a good cry, and we usually take turns making each other cry!)
I'll be thinking about you. And though the rest of the world may not "get it," you and I are definitely moms, if only in our hearts for now :) Be good to yourself :)

Ashley said...

This post is inspirational like all of your posts!!! You are my hero and you inspired me to get vocal for a newspaper op-ed! I just want you to know how you have touched so many people with your work

BleedingTulip said...

I've been wondering about how to acknowledge that I am a mother who is childless. A strange concept I know, but I feel like it best describes where I'm at for this Mother's Day.

I do with they would make some cards for us. I guess we will just have to make up some of our own, hu? Who wants to add that to their Etsy account???

Southern Momma said...

Beautiful post.

Ready To Be A Momma said...

Thank you, I needed this today. I thought I was over the feelings of inadequacy, but here they are, popping up again today. It's going to be a long day. I'm glad I'm not going to church today because I can't listen to another sermon about how awesome mothers are and sit there and think that because I can't have a baby, I don't matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A Shadow of My Former Self said...

Everything resonated with me, especially the paragraph about staying in a job just for the insurance. As I watch many of my peers advance up the ladder to leave the corporate life to live their dream job I find myself feeling even worse, stuck in a job I do not like just for the insurance. It adds another layer of misery to my situation. Having experienced a miscarriage as well as the death of my mother in the past two months this day is especially hard for me. Thank you for this post.

Cherish said...

It is definitely a hard day. Thanks for the post!

*Mandie* said...

Fabulous! Thank you for expressing how I am feeling today! :) It was so wonderful, I had to put a link to this post in my blog (www.tolovearose.com). I also shared your FABULOUS "What IF" video - I was literally weeping through the entire thing!
*mandie*

mandiehickenbottom@yahoo.com

Serendipitie said...

I love this post too. I'm sorry I didn't read it before the weekend. I'm just tired these days. Tired of needles, tired of hormones, tired of trying, tired of trying to stand up for myself. But I am happy and lucky to have connected with people like you, people who understand, people who get it. <3 to you