here i am, seven years into this journey of motherhood between losses, and i'm still deeply ambivalent about Mother's Day. sure, i am beyond cynical about the commercial part with packed restaurants and overpriced flowers and cards, but i find it easier to place myself with the people for whom Mother's Day is difficult (see last year's Mother's Day post) than slip beatifically into a role of a smiling mommy having adoration force-fed to her.
ok, maybe i'm still beyond cynical.
but here is the thing: none of this was my choice.
i struggled with infertility before each pregnancy. not my choice.
i experienced motherhood four times only through happy nausea, hopeful tiredness, proudly tight pants, blessedly hearing a heartbeat, and then crushing grief. not my choice.
i wrestle with the reality that there are millions of secret mothers with invisible children out there, just like me. not their choice.
i know that there are also plenty of hurting secret dads out there too, who have even less space and social permission to experience their grief. not their choice.
i have already hugged several friends who are dreading Mother's Day because their mom won't speak to them, or is a squizillion miles away, or is dead. not their choice.
i told my patient and understand husband that i didn't want anything special for Mother's Day, since i still feel so negative and sad about it, which confuses me. "are you sure?" he asked. "you know that's not your choice to make."
i did not like this answer, and said as much.
"honey," he said, "our son gets to decide that. Mother's Day is for him, too."
clearly i married up.
and my wise and beloved husband is absolutely right. our child is all whispers and secrets and hiding things in Dad's closet and dashing around and happiness. he keeps asking me how long it is until Mother's Day when he will be able to, if his excitement is any indication, unleash what must be a surprise awesomeness of epic proportions. "it is a special day!" he proclaims. "for special mommys! and you are my only mommy so it is special for you!!!"
this is so clearly Not My Choice.
what is my choice, then, is to accept that my confusing cynical gloom cloud can coexist with the sparkly rainbow sunshine of my family's joy, and neither shall negate the authenticity of the other. and i shall choose to inhabit the sparklyness with all my presence, and in so doing, honor my invisible children by holding space for them in that expansive joy.