Mother’s Day was never mine. Well, except one time.
I can remember Mother’s Day when I was younger and how important it was for me to let my mom know how much I appreciated her. She was a single mother, the only parent we had left. She sacrificed and did so much for us.
My dad’s birthday often fell on Mother’s Day and, after he died, the day had sort of been commandeered to celebrate his birthday posthumously. One year, on a Mother’s Day that happened to fall on Dad’s birthday, there was a series of catastrophic events. Long story short, while my mom was making dad’s favorite taco dinner for us, my brother decided to go into the garage and sip of the keg that was left over from a different birthday party. She went to grab him from the garage and found him lying in a puddle of his own vomit. I can still remember the smell when she opened the door…
My husband’s mother’s birthday also sometimes falls on Mother’s Day.
The only Mother’s Day that was mine was in 2013 when I was around 20 weeks pregnant with Jasper. It was the Mother’s Day I had waited most of my adult life for. I received flowers and cards and gifts. It was really special. I could not wait for the next year when I had hope that Jasper and his dad would bring me pancakes in bed and snuggle all morning.
When Jasper died that August, Mother’s Day was one of the first things that passed through my foggy mind. There would be no pancakes and snuggles in bed. When Mother’s Day approached the following year, I had hoped in the back of my mind that I would be acknowledged. I was a mother after all. I grew a perfect baby boy. I have the scare on my belly where he was removed because he was just too big for me to push him out. I had hoped people wouldn’t forget.
They didn’t. There were no cards, or flowers or gifts or phone calls. It was avoidance and silence. No pancakes in bed. Nothing.
Shortly there after, my husband’s mother passed away as well.
Mother’s Day has this taint about it in our house. My husband, grieving his son, and now grieving his mother, needs support that only I am able to provide. I have to do what mothers do and provide that support for him. I have to be comfortable with that self validation and not rely on what others think.
As the years have passed since, I have tried to separate my own feelings and needs, as always and continue to show my mom appreciation. Last year, I was video chatting to her on Mother’s Day while she was visiting my grandma. I wished them both a Happy Mother’s Day and my grandma said it back to me. I was in shock. Were people finally going to validate me and not be weird around me? All of these emotions and thoughts came over me while all I could muster up to reply was “Thank you.”
Grandma squinted her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I thought you were [someone else].”
Mother’s Day was never mine, except one time. And I imagine that that one Mother’s Day is the only one I will ever get. I am a mother and because of that, I am able to forgive and put others before me. For my boy… and for my own mom too.
Be gentle to yourself and don’t expect too much from everyone else. They just don’t know as well as you.
They knew they wanted more children and have since suffered many early miscarriages during the process of multiple IVF and IUI cycles which have left them with broken hearts.Feeling defeated and alone, the bereaved parents moved to Connecticut in search of a much needed new start.
Amber was inspired to work towards becoming a therapist during her process of trying to find support after her loss. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, artist and marriage and family therapy graduate student. She takes comfort in the idea that their son was a driving force for her to help other people through a time that she and her husband felt so alone.