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.