for all the mothers

I never really remembered each Mother’s Day for much other than where we went to family brunch, until last year.  Last year’s holiday is as fresh in my mind as it was the Monday after.  

Last year was the first mother’s day I really wanted to be a mother.  The holiday itself happened to be in a day when the timing would be just right for me to take an accurate pregnancy test, and I had counted down until that time thinking that it would be fate - surely I’d find out I was to be a mother on Mother’s Day.  It would be too perfect.  

Except it wasn’t.  I woke up that morning and took it first thing, and the test came up negative.  I was quietly devastated, as you are every time you see the words “not pregnant” when you just want that little “not” to go to hell.  Of course, there was no reason for me to be upset - we hadn’t been trying for all that long. Maybe two months?  Other couples try for years, I knew that.  But I still remember feeling a sulky all day, not being in the club of women who were being celebrated.  In my head, I wanted to just say “but I am a mother this year!  Or at least, I’m trying to be!”  But you can’t say that out loud, and like so many women before me have said, being a parent kind of makes you part of a club that no one else without children can belong to.  

Which, personally, I think is unfair.  Last year on Mother’s Day I didn’t know what it felt like to have a baby hiccup inside my womb, I didn’t know the joy of the word “pregnant” (minus the ‘not’) on a drugstore stick, and I hadn’t decorated a nursery with a name I chose for my daughter.  I still don’t know what it feels like to nurse a child, to be woken by her cry, to watch my husband carry her around like a football while he cooks dinner.  

But, in spite of all that, looking back I realize that I was no less a mother.  I was Claire’s mother from the moment I decided I wanted her, the day I started praying for her.  I am no less a mother this year for her arrival date having not come to pass.  Neither is any woman who wants to be a mother, even if her future children are still written into her “someday plans.”  

I’m not suggesting you insist on being celebrated with your mothers, aunts, and grandmothers at brunch this Sunday if you aren’t with or have had a child.  I would have felt ridiculous doing that, and I’m sure you would too. I am suggesting this:  if on Sunday someone says to you “Happy Mother’s Day,” maybe just say thank you and smile.  Take one of the pink flowers on your way out of Sunday services, and maybe take yourself to get a pedicure after brunch to say “Happy Mother’s Day” to yourself, knowing that your intentions already make you part of the club.  

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