Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day not easy for everyone...

I was one of those beings supremely blessed with a truly wonderful mom. I had a happy childhood and never had any doubt in my mind that I was loved. My husband too--neither of us came from dysfunctional homes broken in any way.

I always look forward to Mother's Day--my sister and I usually take my mom out to brunch or dinner on Saturday, and we all wait patiently for the men in the family to communicate with each other about what they will be doing to celebrate our day. (Unlike the family's women, who tend to be a tad bit more organized in advance.)

However, I just read this article on the HuffPost called "Happy Crappy Mother's Day," in which the author John Shore (who I've just recently discovered--I like his writing) talks about those left out of Mother's Day. Those people who do not want to celebrate or honor their mothers. Those, like Shore, who have deep-seated anger and hostility toward their mothers for abandonment, abuse, or neglect. (His mother walked out on him when he was 10, after his father had already abandoned them.)

I've always been keenly aware of other people for whom Mother's Day is extremely difficult--women who suffer from infertility or have lost a child, women who have babies in the NICU or children in the hospital, or people who have lost their own mothers.

I remember some very difficult Mother's Days myself--not just when I was experiencing infertility, but also on my first Mother's Day after Chris came home from the hospital, and I was very, very frustrated in trying to get him to eat. I was worried he would be labeled as "failure to thrive" because he wasn't anywhere near the bottom of the growth charts. He had gastroesophageal reflux, which resulted in his vomiting all over us several times a day. We had started him on rice cereal a bit early, in the hopes that it would settle his stomach--but he just wasn't interested. His throat and stomach probably hurt him. When you have a baby born at 1 lb, 6 oz. and who was still a tiny peanut at 5 months adjusted (preemie terminology, which means he should have been 5 months if he'd been on time), it's hard to relax about how much he is eating (or vomiting up!). I remember trying desperately to get him to eat, and both of us in tears--on the day that should have been the most joyful for me, my first Mother's Day with a child who survived against the odds.

So as we celebrate tomorrow, let's keep those people in mind for which the day is difficult. Those with crappy mothers (and we all know they exist) or those who have had crappy (in whatever way) experiences with mothering...or trying to mother. Think of the anguish felt by women who desperately want to have a child on a day when all anyone talks about is mothers. Think about the child who never experienced a mother's unconditional love. And let's be generous in our hearts to those who struggle through this day.

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