Maybe you have been here before. Found yourself in church and heard the invitation, “and to all you mothers, don’t forget to grab a carnation for each child you have, on your way out,” the Pastor says. You tell yourself, “Who cares,” you don’t even like carnations, because you are a flower snob. And the only way to your flower snob heart is through white peonies with a side of periwinkle hydrangeas.
But you still desperately wish you were among the happy mothers grabbing a carnation off the table. You consider for a brief moment sneakily grabbing 3 for the miscarriages you’ve had before the Michelle Duggar of the church gets to the table first. She could have enough flowers to make herself a float at the Rose bowl parade and some left over for a flower crown. You decide not to though. You would run the risk of some old church lady who smells like mothballs and perfume spotting you, sending a few winks your way and the following week you would have to dispel the triplet rumors.
Mother’s day 2014 was just two months after our round of IVF that resulted in miscarriage, no frozen embryos, a failed D and C, and the first time the word, “Surrogacy,” was thrown at us. So the holiday was anything but happy for me. It was the Mother’s day that I felt the furthest from my dream of motherhood. So I could have never imagined that it would be the last Mother’s day I would spend unhappy and infertile.
Mother’s day 2015, we had just made the pregnancy announcement I never thought we’d make. I was feeling those first movements I never thought I’d get to experience and for the first time in years, I was on the happy side of Mother’s day. I could proudly walk out with a brightly colored carnation that I still wished was a peony, because I am still a flower snob.
I don’t know where you find yourself this Mother’s day. My heart rejoices with the new mothers, the growing bellies, the long awaited positive pregnancy tests. But my heart is sad for those struggling, for those who have lost children, for those who feel they are so very far away from the title of, “mama.” I know this day hurts. I know it is anything but happy for you. Much like myself in 2014, I hope this will be your last (un)happy Mother’s day.
This Mother’s day, I have a baby in arms, not just in my heart, or growing under it. I have a deeper appreciation for my own mother and the sacrifices she made for me. I now know what it’s like to slide in bed after a long day, lay your head down on the pillow only to hear the sound of stirring baby. Even when a million dollars couldn’t entice you out of bed for the 20th time that night, your child’s cry can. To eat cold meals and unknowingly have spit up down your back. To never get a break or a sick day. And to feel your heart grow each day with love for a tiny human that reaches out to hug you, or just really wants touch your iphone. I count it all privilege knowing so many would give anything for it.
This year for Mother’s day, Nathan bit my shoulder, had a dirty, dirty diaper and said, “Dada.” But I can honestly say it is indeed a Happy Mother’s day. The happiest I have ever had.