Friday, May 10, 2013

Never Forget the Invisible Mothers

Maybe Mother's Day weekend would be a bit more bearable if it weren't so commercialized. Maybe it would be easier to navigate if every talk show, advertisement, and radio segment wasn't discussing it. I guess in the end it all comes down to the fact that it would be easier if I could hug my baby on Mother's Day. Or if I could do her hair, paint her nails, or color with her on Mother's Day...or any day of the week, really.

The entire "holiday" is such a catch-22 for me - as I can imagine it is for other birth moms (or natural moms, or first moms, or whatever you may refer to yourself as. I personally prefer 'mother,' no adjective or qualifier necessary, but society seems to require an extra word to be able to differentiate). It's hard to be a mom in your heart and be a 25 year old childless woman on the outside. I'm still new to this. This is only my third Mother's Day. And while enjoy a day where I can celebrate motherhood - because, yes, I am still a mother - it's also gut-wrenching to say the least when I can't celebrate it in the way I want to. I can't celebrate it by taking silly pictures with my daughter or hanging her little scribbled pictures up on the wall. Her father isn't going to make me breakfast in bed while I snuggle with her. No, not at all. Granted, for the past two years he's given me a card, but it's far from the same. Mother's Day, like most other holidays as well as her birthday, are beautifully happy as well as painfully sad.

I'm grateful for the chance for this day to mean something to me. In my heart, I know I'm a mother and as tough as life can be sometimes, I thank God every day for her and I'm in awe that I am a part of her, as she is a part of me. What did I do to deserve playing a part in a beautiful, happy soul such as herself? Yet - as grateful as I am - this day is also torture. It's hard to escape. It looms everywhere, to the point where it's almost downright taunting.

The way I see it - I can look at it one of two ways. I can be bitter about the fact that another woman is celebrating and embracing motherhood with my child because I'm not, or I can look at it like my child is loved by two mothers; two mothers who reflect on the day in different ways. That being said, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous that her adoptive mom gets to spend the day with her. In reality, it's just another's just Sunday. It's only 24 hours, ten or eleven of which I'll be sleeping.

There's no black and white answer. One 'birth' mom will not always share the same views as another 'birth' mom. So let me say this: if you know someone - anyone - who has lost a child for any reason (adoption, death, estrangement, etc.), acknowledge that they might need a little extra TLC on Mother's Day. Or acknowledge that they may not. They may want to deny that the day even exists. Or maybe you could read this article. I've had friends who have come right out and asked me (and believe me, I appreciate the straight-forwardness) how they should handle Mother's Day when it comes to me. Should they wish me a Happy Mother's Day and therefore acknowledge my child, or should they just treat it like any other day, because they know it's hard for me?  If you know someone who is an "invisible mother," you aren't reminding them of something they aren't already aware of. Commercialized holidays such as this are everywhere. Chances are, you won't do any damage by saying "Happy Mother's Day;" in fact, they would probably appreciate the recognition. I totally understand why people feel as though they are on eggshells around birth moms or moms of children who have passed away. Personally, I don't mind either way. I do appreciate the gesture but I am not offended by it's absence.

Remember: being a parent means doing what's best for your child, even at the cost of your own happiness. So birth parents are parents no less than traditional parents. It's just a different kind of mother & fatherhood.

So when you think of the mother in your life who, for whatever reason, is no longer raising their child or sharing this day with their child physically, remember this:

and never forget the "invisible mothers."


  1. You are always so elegant with words. I wish I was there to take you out for pedicures. You are one of the strongest women I know. Happy Mother's Day! You are a mother :)Love you!

  2. Well said! thank you for saying all my heart wants to say but can't!