Non-Mother’s Day.

I don’t love Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I acknowledge them because I have parents who love me more than life, but for the past decade, I have felt a little bitterness towards these days largely for the same reason I hate Valentine’s Day. They are reminders of where I’ve failed.

I am not and, given my age, likely never will be a mother. I don’t need a day that goes out of its way to remind me of that disappointment each and every year.

Recently, I read an article by Anne Lamott that appeared in Salon that articulates much of what I feel. She writes:

I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure. 

I appreciate that she includes “non-mothers” in the discussion. We are an often overlooked bunch. Sometimes, I hear about Mother’s Day being tough for those who have lost children, either before or after they were born.  Recently, a friend posted something on Facebook about being sensitive to the pain of people struggling with infertility, miscarriage and infant loss. I would include in that discussion the pain of those who have never given birth or had a child, not due to infertility or miscarriage, but because they don’t have a spouse or committed partner.

As my single friends approach their late thirties and forties, a number of them are visiting fertility specialists and making decisions to freeze eggs or have kids through donor sperm. I wholly support those efforts for others, but they aren’t for me. I have no interest in taking extraordinary measures to have a kid, not while I’m alone. That feels like forcing the issue. I don’t want to force a kid into my life. I think this is an area of my life where I have to trust the universe.

What if the universe knows that motherhood would not turn out well for me? What if my self-induced child has issues? What if I’m too selfish to be a mom? Maybe I’m not a mom because the universe knows who I am and what I need better than I do.

Do I want to be a mom? Yes, more than I care to admit. But I’ve wanted other things that proved wrong for me at the end of the day. I’ve wanted people who left me. I’ve wanted jobs that turned out to be incredibly poor choices for me. I’ve wanted experiences that ended up offering little more than hurt or expense. In every instance, I can look back and see all the ways the universe tried to warn me against pursuing what I wanted. Knowing that, how can I throw energy, money, time and heart into having a kid that I have to bring about on my own? I can’t. I don’t want to.

A lifelong commitment to another human being is not something I want to demand or create on my own in a lab. I trust the universe. I trust it to bring me a spouse or life partner if it identifies a good person who will love me and never leave me. I trust it to bring me a kid, my own or someone else’s, if I need to be a mom. And if those things don’t happen, I choose to keep trusting it.

I did spend a big part of my day with my family. I got fun time alone with Dad to start the afternoon and Mom to end the afternoon. But before I entered the Mother’s Day venture, I had a nice Non-Mother’s Day morning. I slept in. I flirted with Bread and Butter. I did a track workout of 800 repeats, the fastest of which I did at 4:14, which is big improvement from the 4:22 I did on the April 14 and the 4:35 I did on March 10. With only six weeks left to Ironman Coeur d’Alene, I’m excited about that. And tonight, I’m working on an essay for my writing class. For now, my training and writing are what I chose to put my energy, money, time and heart into.

Thank you, universe, for my pretty awesome Non-Mother’s Day and for the few hours in it that I still have left. After a hard race last week, I appreciate today’s little boost on the track very much.

Happy Mother’s and Non-Mother’s Day to you all.

9 thoughts on “Non-Mother’s Day.

  1. Sending big hugs to you today, my friend. Thank you for articulating something that many of us forget–that Mother's Day is not just tough for some of us moms, but also difficult for many non-moms. I love that you trust the universe. To borrow your words, the universe did not bring me a spouse or life partner "who will love me and never leave me," but it did see fit to bring me three amazing children (and for that, I am humbly grateful). I hope that means the universe believed I was meant to be a mom and was up to the challenge. Who knows? I, for one, am glad there are people like you to help people like me along the path. Much love.

  2. Meredith, I think the universe knew you were meant to be a mom, and it gifted you with three truly amazing kids it knew you would appreciate fully. You more than anyone know the choices I've made that led me here. I have to trust. What else can I do? I am so grateful for you and all the years of friendship. Thank you thank you, dear one.

  3. Amen, Taline! I did love that in church today there seemed to be more acknowledgement than in other years for anyone experiencing pain around Mother's Day. It's always a bittersweet day for me. Thankfully, like you, I believe in a greater plan than I can envision or craft for myself. Not in a way that fosters complacency but certainly in a way that doesn't try to force my way through things just because I think I need or want them. It usually turns out badly! Hugs to you! (And way to go after your track workout!!!)

  4. This is a beautifully honest essay, Taline. I'm so glad you wrote it. I am a mother, and I still have a mother. I am glad for both. And I do not like Mother's Day. Yes, my son called me, at the very end of the day. I know he did so because he felt obligated, and he put it off as long as he could. He calls on this day, my birthday, Christmas. Not because he doesn't care really, but because he is not a communicator. My daughter did not call. (She just sent a text apologizing.) Which was fine with me; she communicates regularly. In college, I remember my mother crying over the phone because I wasn't planning to come home. So I went home and resented it. I hate mother's day. A stupid, Hallmark occasion.

  5. Well said TM. I feel the same way about Val. Day & Fathers Day . I call them "Singles Awareness Day".My work life has prevented a spouse/partner to enter into the scene as there is no way I will change my life to please someone else. I am who I am and do what I know how to do. So, a lifetime of talking to my self has been status quo. If I do say so myself, and I will, the conversation has been quite good so far!! No regrets, it's been a stellar adventure and world experiences in which few people get to partake.

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