Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reflecting on Mother's Day

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.



O.S.B. said...

((Hugs)) This was just beautifully written, Robbie is so lucky to have such a compassionate momma. And that picture of him…. Oh my… he’s too cute for words!!

Slytherpuff said...

I know what you mean about the "first mother's day" comment. It feels weird to be celebrating something that you "should" have had years ago.

One of my friends actually sent me a MD card two years ago after my loss, wishing me a Happy Mother's Day and letting me know that she was thinking about Chip. That was by far the most touching of all of the cards I received. She actually GOT IT that I was a mother without a baby to show for it.

AwkwardMoments said...

i am glad that you and robbie have eachother

B's Mom said...

This was a fantastic post.

Kristin (kekis) said...

Your post made me cry (lucky for you that's easy for me to do lately). Mothers' Day can be so bittersweet and such a mix of emotions for children and parents alike. I'm glad you made it through the rough part and cherished the amazing Robbie part. Gawd, he's so cute.

T-Mommy said...

What a great post Trish!
I am so glad Robbie is here to smile at you and make everyday a new start.

Happy belated Mother's day! ;)

Becky said...

You don't know me yet, but I found your blog while searching for nissen fundoplacation because it kept being mentioned for my son. I've read your blog from when Pre-E hit till current over the last month, and would LOVE to chat with you further. There are several parts to your story especially around feeding that are really close to what we're going through with our son Evan. He was born at 24weeks. I'd love to get into our story more with you. I also have some ideas if you're interested to try with Robbie. Our Evan throws up all fortifiers and even Elecare aswell....even though the "specialists" say it's impossible not to tollerate it. Put it this way, your experience is so close to mine, that when I was sharing some of your posts with my husband, he asked me to stop, because it was just too hard for him to hear....we're in a bit of a better place now. Please shoot me an email becky@evansdots.com
looking forward to hearing from you!

Anonymous said...

I love this post, Trish. As a motherless daughter, and now a motherless mother, I understand your feelings so well. I never thought to be sad for my own mother. You are simply amazing.

-jandc (Julie)

Nexus said...

Another truly thoughtful, reflective, and well written post.

tryingin2007 said...

what a fantastic post! this one is a keeper that I will come back to and read again.

(frumpy stay at home mom, my ass!)


Me said...

I was wished "Happy Mother's Day" three times last Sunday. The last time I told the guy I was infertile and was actually in Cali for my first IVF cycle. He told me he would be glad to see me with a baby this time next year. I told him thank you but when I turned around I rolled my eyes.

I'm sorry you don't have a mom. Mine is crazy. The she-needs-medication kind of crazy. We have no relationship because she refuses to seek help to make her less crazy. Although my situation is different, there are similarities. I know how hard it is not to have a maternal figure in your life. I'm sorry.