There are many reasons why Mother’s Day can be difficult for some. In my own experience, it was the double-edged sword of being appreciative of the mothers in my life and what mothers do for others, and feeling sad and isolated at the same time. Unless you’ve felt alienated by a Kay’s commercial, then you just don’t know.
I have a friend who is struggling with infertility and loss. I sent her the same Mother’s Day card that I sent to all the mothers in my life along with the following letter. I am sharing it here in case you or someone you love is stumbling along that same path. Perhaps I can shed some light on what to say, or how to help. Even better, I’d like to think that by sharing my words, someone else might feel a little less alone.
I sent you this Mother’s Day card to let you know that I have been thinking of you in these days leading up to Mother’s Day. I have been in your shoes. I know how hard it can be when you have to put on a happy, brave face for other’s while you feel broken inside (don’t even get me started on pregnancy announcements and baby showers. That’s another letter entirely). It’s one of the most lonely feelings I’ve ever experienced and my heart has hurt for your over and over again. I am sending you the strength and resilience that you’ll need to continue on this journey.
Your hubby shared with us (because he knows that we’ve been there, I hope you don’t mind) that you have experienced a pregnancy loss. I am so sorry to hear that. I have had three miscarriages, during the last of which I made it to eleven weeks when I was carrying my twins. I remember feeling overwhelming sadness. I had to have a D&E and I remember crying uncontrollably when I came out of anesthesia. I wanted it so badly to have been a bad dream, yet it was all too real. The nurses in the recovery room avoided eye contact with me as I shook and sobbed for what seemed like forever. I think that my raw and exposed sadness was uncomfortable for them.
It’s hard for people who haven’t experienced this type of loss to know what to say that will be of comfort. Nobody wants to say something that was meant to be comforting to come across as idiocy. My mom sat by my side occasionally saying she was sorry and rubbing my hand, arms and shoulders with tears in her own eyes. It was all she could do. She certainly couldn’t bring my babies back and that was truly the only thing that could have taken away my pain. For our husbands, families and friends, this must be the most difficult part of our journey. The helplessness can be overwhelming for them.
What I will say to you is that you are a mother. Your baby was real and will always be remembered. Your body and heart nurtured that little life the best that it could. The saddest part for me was wondering if, some way, some how, that my babies knew that they were loved. I will also tell you that I believe that they do know and that I have lots of love waiting to greet me on the other side. I join hands and hearts with you and I hope that you find comfort in knowing that I promise to never forget your baby. I will always think of you as the mother that you are.
I can’t tell you where this journey will take you. I can’t claim to know how your baby will make his or her way into your arms. I certainly can’t tell you when (this might be the toughest part of all, if you at least knew WHEN it would happen, all the waiting would be a hell of a lot easier to bear). I do believe that if you are open to your baby, no matter how he or she comes to you, you will be a mother. I am not suggesting that you “just adopt” as that would make me a complete douche bag. Everyone who has explored her options for family building knows that nothing about adoption is easy.
What I am suggesting is that you do whatever is within your control. Do what you need to do to make you feel like you are actively bringing that baby right into your arms. Take a mental break when you need to and then keep fighting. You can overcome this. I became a mom in the most unexpected way, after ten years of struggle. I am not suggesting that your road to motherhood will be as long as mine was (dear Lord, I hope not!). I just want you to know that you have what it takes to pull through. You are stronger than you could possibly know.
You have so many options. If you ever want to discuss any of this, whether it’s the nuts and bolts of your options or an invitation to a baby shower that you are considering using as toilet paper, I am here. Call or text me and I will arrange to meet you immediately (or as soon as I can unload my toddler) with a bottle of wine and an experienced perspective.
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Please do something special for yourself, you deserve it.