Several years ago, as infertility dragged on for me, I struggled more and more with how I was going to get through the day. I stopped attending my Sunday church service after I watched numbly from my seat one Mother’s Day as the pastor had all the moms stand and receive a rose. One year, my husband and I left out of state on a vacation conveniently over that weekend and it was the best decision we could have made. Not because I didn’t want to celebrate and honor my own mother, who has always been my rock, but because I needed the escape when my heart was hurting so much. The intentions on Mother’s Day are only good, but they often have the effect of making women dealing with infertility feel left out. Of reminding them, on a day celebrating something they want more than anything in the world, that it’s not happening for them.
I was still in my first trimester when my unofficial first Mother’s Day came around, and aside from wanting to simultaneously dry heave and eat three hot dogs right off the grill, I managed to hold myself together. I decided I couldn’t emotionally handle going to church, but my husband got me a necklace. It was a swirly outline of a mother holding a child with a pearl in the middle of her, representing the miracle that grew inside me, and embracing the child I never got to hold. I lost Adam during our first in-vitro fertilization — far before I knew his sex, but in my heart I knew he was my son.
These moments present themselves every time someone announces their pregnancy, or the birth of a child, or when a celebrity proclaims that motherhood made her “whole,” presenting a phrasing that implies women who have not brought a child to term are somehow less-than.
When you’ve gone through infertility, celebrating a world that is centered around having kids is complicated. Even as a parent, now, I can’t imagine not feeling some sort of grief when I consider reveling in my motherhood. After six years of fighting to become a mom, I wasn’t prepared for having my heart shattered into a million pieces when I finally saw my wish come true. I’m picking the pieces up slowly, one by one, trying to figure out how I fit into this world of motherhood when it didn’t come easy for me. When I didn’t think it would come at all.