Sunday, May 13, 2018

bouquets

i see that now i come here to post twice a year: once on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and once on Mother's Day.  i didn't intend to do this, but i suppose this is because these are the two markers in the year when one simply cannot NOT remember.
i'm having a small existential crisis right now; the construct of "Mother's Day" is still not really that cemented into temporal reality for my son, and so it's up to me to figure out what i "want to do for Mother's Day." my original idea has been sidelined due to capricious weather, and i still have a very, very fraught and confusing relationship with the holiday.  after having a small meltdown about it, my wise husband pointed out that perhaps it is just that what i would like to do is NOT have a Mother's Day, just a normal family day.  oh. huh. but of course.
an artist i regularly appreciate for her keen human insight, Mari Andrew, created an illustration that is titled "Thinking of You." it depicts six different lovely bouquets of flowers, each one with a caption underneath:
:: Mothers Who Have Lost Children
:: Those Who Have Lost Mothers
:: Those With Strained Mother Relationships
:: Mothers With Strained Child Relationships
:: Those Who Have Chosen Not To Be Mothers
:: Those Yearning To Be Mothers
this more or less perfectly sums up how i feel about Mother's Day and explains to me why i still cannot approach this day with anything like peace.  i have no problem celebrating my own amazing mother, but i have a hard time celebrating my own motherhood without also acknowledging those other bouquets i've held and still hold.
i used to feel incredibly guilty about my turmoil over the holiday for various reasons, but now i'm choosing not to. it takes a lot of energy to choose not to feel guilty about something, and that's probably where the existential crisis is coming from.
i see that my last post dealt rather thoroughly with the idea that something as wrenching as infertility and/or pregnancy & child loss remain potent through time, circumstance, and growth -- both negatively and positively -- and so to any of you who are awkwardly clutching any of the above bouquets, especially you secret unseen mothers, i hope for you some measure of joy and peace even as what feels like legions of other women triumphantly wave their "normal" bunches of mom flowers.
and remember: until we speak, we do not know one another's stories...so please: tell a trusted friend or family member, or even me about your bouquet(s), especially if they are still painful, for there is no shame in them.

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