Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day?

Mother's Day has become an increasingly difficult holiday for me. In my more naive years, I assumed that getting married at 21 meant we'd start having kids by 25, and have a nice trio by 31. Three months from my 31st birthday that picture is clearly out of synch with the real world. Recently, I was playing with a friend's 3-year-old who announced, "You're a mommy like my mommy." They must have been talking about how mommies are adult women and daddies are adult men in daycare or something, and I seemed to fit the bill of a woman. Then, kids are one thing, but for some reason I had two women that sent me emails towards the end of last week signed off with "Happy Mother's Day!" I guess they thought they were being friendly, but it was depressing and hurtful instead.

Let me just try to be real clear here -- don't wish women Happy Mother's Day if they don't have kids. It's not Happy Woman's Day, and it's not the time to try to motivate people to reciprocate in kind just because you're so happy you're a mother. This is a holiday for people who actually are, or have been, responsible for the raising of a child. It's a time to thank your mother for how she helped you become the person you are today. It's also, unfortunately, a time to remind people who don't have kids that it's not a day for them.

I completely understand that some people don't want children, and are happy to have no part in this holiday (I doubt they want to be wished a Happy Mother's Day either). Others aren't in a place in their lives to be ready for that leap into parenthood. No problem. Some of us, however, wish we did, and would prefer not to be reminded that we're not there yet.

I've actually been reading blogs from a few folks struggling with infertility, some for a while now. Not that I'm actually dealing with the same sorts of medical issues that they are, but because I'm struggling with some of the same emotional issues. I'm ready for all the joys and pains that come with parenthood, and parenthood isn't ready for me. It's not easy to talk about, because it's not like we have any clinical fertility issues that we know of. I can't even bring myself to write about it here, but suffice it to say that we don't need an RE, we need a psychiatrist. So, we're not ready to go down any procreation paths. But I want to. Really. So quit trying to make me feel bad, and let me just celebrate this holiday as a daughter.


Matthew M. F. Miller said...

Well said - what a heartfelt, lovely post. And while we are experiencing different things, our experiences themselves allow us to inhabit the same space.

Thanks for sharing your journey.

Heather said...

Matthew -- thanks for the kind words. Here's hoping you don't have the same awkwardness to deal with next month with Father's Day. But somehow, I doubt people will be appropriately sensitive. Or even exercise common sense.

Stephanie G said...

WOW -- your third paragraph, should go down in literary history! Best thing I think I've ever read!!

Really enjoying your blog, inspiring me to start my own. You're always inspiring me!!

Heather said...

Stephanie -- That is high praise indeed! Thank you! And if you start keeping a blog, let me know, so I can put it on my reading list.