it's a festivus for the rest of us

A Mother's Day for the Rest of Us

As I typed the title, I’m instantly reminded of the Seinfeld episode, and Frank Costanza’s holiday Festivus (a replacement for Christmas). He was annoyed by the commercialization of Christmas, so he observes his own celebration (minus the distracting tinsel). Anywho.

I can’t have kids. I found out when I was 32, when I was plunged unceremoniously into menopause (that journey deserves its own blog, tbh).

I’m one of millions of women who are infertile, so that doesn’t make me special. It doesn’t make me anything. I always wanted kids. I still do. I always thought I had time. I was wrong.

Mother’s Day rolls around every year, and I’m reminded every year by nearly every ad agency, Facebook frame, or well-meaning checker in your local big box store of my biological inadequacy. It does not bother me like it once did, although that gentle, sad trauma memory tugs a little harder in those moments… That memory of a 32 year old me sitting alone in a specialist’s office as he told me my eggs had died.

“They died.”

It’s such a finite phrase. So terminal. So indisputable. There is no “but” that can follow it. The period on that sentence rings in the deafening silence with an echo that follows for years after (I’ll let you know when I stop hearing it). My genetic material..my future children… Gone.

What has changed for me, though, is a an increased awareness of what Mother’s Day means or can mean to every woman. Like any holiday, it can be one of joy or pain or discomfort. We don’t all have good relationships with our mothers, or some of us have lost ours. If you love and have loved in a way that is pure and profound, be it experiencing the love of a child or an animal, then I hazard to say you have experienced a mother’s love. I believe I have. Natural selection may have taken away my ability to procreate, but I can most certainly reproduce love.

Somewhere today a woman is grieving a lost child. Somewhere a couple awaits news of a fertility test, or a mother is on bedrest from a high risk pregnancy, or a single mom is working a weekend job to support her children and she forgot it was even Mother’s Day. Somewhere some barren non-traditional mother pours her heart out into the far reaches of the Internet b/c she’s thinking of other people just like her.

If you read this and you know someone like that, tell them you hope they have the best day ever, and that you think they are amazing.