A Mother's Day "Hot Take"
Just a warning, this is a pretty emotionally charged post. But I want this blog to read more like a diary than just always a list or collage of products. So without further ado....my rambling thoughts.
This year marked my first Mother’s Day. Or is it my 3rd? Or my 2nd – after I became a Godmother? Or will I never feel completely right celebrating Mother’s Day because I am an adoptive mother? This day, this season, brings up a lot of emotion for me. My due date with Jack was May 17th, and we celebrated in 2020 by planting a Magnolia tree in his memory. Is that when I became an Angel Mom? Or was it the day we lost him?
It’s sometimes hard to think of myself as a mom. It’s an interesting conundrum. With a lot of talk about pro-choice/pro-life and when life begins, was I considered a mother since I lost my son before he was born and never got to mother him? And what about now that I’ve adopted? What are people's thoughts on that? I know I shouldn't care - but it matter's to me. What people have thought about me has always mattered to me.
We also talk a lot about inclusivity in today’s society – and by “inclusive” standards, I’m several DIFFERENT types of moms. But I don’t want to be. I just want to be “mom.” But if it’s all inclusive, why do we have to call out the differences. Why can’t we all just be “mom”? Because I would argue that any woman who has a child in their life in some way, shape or form is a mom to some degree.
There are several definitions of the word mother, but my favorite is actually the verb – “to bring up a child with love and affection.” By that definition, I circle back to my original point, what does it matter the TYPE of mother? If there is a child in your life that you spend time with, have influence over, and love and have affection for, couldn’t you be considered a mother or mother figure?
There is a slide that always circulates around social media near/on Mother's Day with different flowers or different drawings that says something to the effect of “Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s who…” and then goes on to list the different types of moms – “those who have lost children, those who are waiting, etc”. And as a woman who has fallen into multiple of those categories over the years, I absolutely hate that slide and a few years ago I vowed to never post it myself. It didn’t make me feel any better that someone “saw” me. It made me feel singled out – it made me feel like other people were looking at me with sad eyes. I didn’t then and I don’t now need the sad, forlorn eyes people sometimes look at me with when they hear my story. Yes, I went through 5 years of infertility, a tragic loss. But now? My marriage is stronger than ever, I have a beautiful home, friends, dog, and most recently, the most gorgeous, strong daughter anyone could ask for.
It's my very personal opinion that that slide doesn’t make anyone feel seen – it’s another reminder of what they’ve lost or what they’re waiting for. And I can promise you, if you’ve lost something or are waiting to become a mom, you don’t need ANOTHER reminder. You are reminded of it every day in every single way.
And maybe all of this is just me. Maybe other women do want to be singled out, and if they do, they are completely entitled to those feelings. But if you’re close enough to someone to wish them a Happy Mother’s Day, then you probably already know their story and don’t need to remind them of it. And if you aren’t that close to someone, I can promise they won’t be offended by a simple “Happy Mother’s Day” because in one way, shape or form, they are a mother. The gesture is certainly the meaningful part.
As for me and mine, I spent my day as I have for the past 30+ years with my own mom – in the garden where I feel most at peace and connected with nature, tending to my son’s Magnolia tree with my husband, dog, and daughter. It’s no wonder the garden has always been a place of healing for me.
From one mother to all others, Happy Mother’s Day.