I have a confession to make. There was a time that I wasn’t very nice to my sister about Mother’s Day. A long time. You see, my sister placed a son for adoption in March 1994. I was away at college at the time, and in my own world. So I was really separated from her pregnancy, delivery and adoption process. I returned home from school in May, and for that, and several years to come, I didn’t get why she was so upset on Mother’s Day. “She’s not really a Mom.” I remember saying to a friend. “Sure, she had a baby, but he isn’t here. She’s not raising him.” I’m embarrassed to admit this, and cringe every time I think of this.
The truth is, I didn’t understand what she was going through until our first loss back in 2008. As the losses continued, my eyes started opening, and my heart sank. How could I have been so insensitive? It wasn’t until we started the adoption process, and met our son’s birth parents that I truly understood my sister’s experience. And even then, it was still my view of her experience through our adoption experience. What I recognized was that of course she is a Mom. In fact, she’s a pretty great Mom. It took amazing strength, courage and love to create a plan that ensured that her son had the life she wanted for him. And I’m so proud of her. We’ve since talked about this. A lot. But I can’t go back and take those hurt feelings away.
I’ve experienced those hurt feelings too. There were/are plenty of people who didn’t consider me a Mom (or Double A a Dad) until we brought Baby Boy home last year. That is a hurt that doesn’t come lightly, and one that stays with you. There are also those who feel as though now that BB is here, my Mother’s Day should be strictly a happy experience. Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful to be able to participate in Mother’s Day on this level. It just doesn’t take away all of the pain of Mother’s Day past. Or the fact that I don’t have all of my children here with me.
There have been many great posts recently about Mother’s Day. There’s Lori’s. And Mel’s. And Mary Tyler Mom’s. And Talia’s. And many others that highlight the challenges of this day—not to mention the time and promotions leading up to it—after loss, adoption and infertility. I wish more people were talking about it when my sister needed me. I wish more people were talking about it now.
In the end, Mother’s Day has different meanings to different people. I’m not trying to take anything away from anyone. I’m just trying to build an understanding and awareness outside of our own.