Mother's day was very strange for me. Mostly in a good way.
The weekend was lovely. After the zoo & dinner on Saturday, Sunday was a relaxing day at home. David did all the housework including "my" chores, then grilled steaks for dinner. He gave me a card from him and a card from Robbie, both of which made me cry.
It was just the way a Sunday should be - relaxing with my family.
That being said, it was a odd, too. Everyone kept wishing me "happy first mother's day" and I was surprisingly uncomfortable. The world seems to have forgotten that I lost two babies before Robbie. While it was my first Mother's Day with a living child, it would have been my third.
I try not to dwell too much. If either of my previous pregnancies had worked out, there wouldn't be a Robbie. As I can't imagine my life without him, I tend to feel that my life is as it should be.
But that doesn't mean that I don't still think of, wonder about, and miss the babies that I lost.
I am also keenly aware that Mother's Day is salt in the wound of every infertile in the world. Every time a stranger wished me a happy Mother's Day, I found myself looking around for a pained expression around me. For too long, I was the owner of that grimace.
To me, Mother's Day is a bit redundant. Every day feels like Mother's Day to me. Having Robbie in my life is a new gift every day. But when you're still yearning to be a mother either for the first time, or for a child that has been lost, this public declaration of appreciation feels like a sharpened blade in the heart. To me, it always felt like the world was purposely out to hurt me.
I hate that those who haven't been as blessed as I am were hurting.
Lastly- and this one took me most by surprise- it made me think of my own mother.
For those who don't know, my mother left me when I was 2. The story is long and sordid, but the short version is that I was raised by my father. My paternal grandmother was the primary maternal figure in my life but our relationship is... strained, let's say.
She did call once when I was about 27. Turns out she's slightly crazy. Not crazy in the way that way where you need to get her some help. Crazy in that way that makes you want to hit things and pull your hair out. Our renewed relationship lasted less than a month, dwindled to annoying email forwards for another 6 months and has once again been non-existent for several years.
As a young girl, it hurt not to have a mother. I wondered what I had done to make her abandon me. What could I do to make her love me?
Sometime in my early teens, the feelings of inadequacy dwindled and I accepted life for what it was - atypical, but not so bad.
I think having some friends whose absent parent flitted in and out of their life made me appreciate the stability I had. I never waited for a phone call or visit that wasn't coming. She just wasn't there.
As an adult, I mostly didn't think about it. Not that I was trying not to, but I just had other things on my mind. Sometimes I'd wonder about her- my birthday sometimes left me wondering if she even remembered. But by the time I was cutting my cake, the curiosity had passed.
But this is the first Mother's Day where I know the joy of looking in my newborn child's eyes. Even in the chaos of Robbie's complicated birth, the first words I spoke to him were "I love you." In a moment, my heart was no longer my own.
It would be 5 days before I could hold him, but now, thinking of that day, I still well up with tears of joy. It was a moment of true happiness like no other. He weighed less than a pound and a half but my love for him weighed a ton. He took my breath away.
Here I am, nearly a year later, a frumpy stay-at-home mom. I've lived in isolation for months on end. There are days when it's all I can do to wait for David to get home so I can have an hour of "freedom". An hour at the grocery store seems like a tropical vacation after days on end of puking and crying and poopy diapers and one-sided conversations mostly sung in a saccharine voice.
But I get to the grocery store and before I can make it out of the produce section, I'm already missing him. I have to fight the urge to call home to see if he's okay. Does he miss me even an iota as much as I already miss him?
I don't think my mother is an evil, uncaring person. So I know she must have wondered about me. She must have missed me. I can't imagine living my life knowing that my child was out there, somewhere, without me. As much as, as a child, I wondered why she left me, I suddenly wondered HOW she could have left me. Not for me, but for herself.
Mother's Day must have been painful for her. Her own doing? Yes. But painful nonetheless.
This was not the first Mother's Day I was sad. But it was the first Mother's Day that I was sad for my mother.
Fortunately, all of the sadness was vastly outweighed by the true feelings of contentment and happiness that Robbie brings me every day.