Every year around Mother's Day there's a whole gamut of articles that seem to run through all of our social media.
"Top 10 Things Not To Say To Someone Dealing With Infertility", "Reasons Why Children Are A Blessing", "How To Get Through Your Day Without Strangling Your Children" We've all read them, and many of them are fantastic and full of merit. Not all, but many. I appreciate that many of them acknowledge that Mother's Day can be kind of bittersweet, because not everyone had/has the mother in the latest tearjerker commercial or viral video. It's true.
One topic often brought up in these articles is guilt. "Stop saying to folks struggling to have children that you feel guilty for being able to get pregnant easily when other's can't", and I hear your point. You don't want anybody's pity, you don't want anybody's emotion slapped on you, and I get it. I have to tell you though;
I have uttered those words, and I'm not going to apologize for them.
My husband and I like to chuckle that if we sneeze on each other I get pregnant. With my first son I managed to conceive three weeks after going off of birth control pills and yet didn't know it until I was in my second trimester. Yeah, that was as crazy as it sounds. My body was so out of whack that I had no idea what was going on, but the thought of being pregnant never crossed my mind. At what I thought was my 8-week appointment the midwife looked at me and said, "Oh, honey, you are at least 13 weeks." Two weeks later we had an ultrasound to really try to figure me out, only to be told, "Guess what, you're 19 weeks pregnant. Oh, and it's a boy." That ultrasound technician really needed a mic to drop in that moment. With my second son I got pregnant with an IUD in, could have miscarried the second they removed it, and yet after all of that have two healthy, strong, athletic, intelligent, crazy young men that will soon be bigger than me (the little girl in the picture is my niece, and I used it today simply because I love it). My mom is one of 5, my dad is one of 6, my MIL is one of 4, and my FIL is one of 12. We clearly could have been one of those large families, but chose not to be. Many couple go through medical procedures to conceive- we went through them to stop it. No, I don't regret not trying for a girl, and that really needs to be something else we stop telling each other. My family is "complete" as it is.
I have never struggled with infertility, but that doesn't mean I've never felt pain from infertility. When my family members have called to say that they miscarried yet again, or when I heard from a friend that someone from our Mom's Group lost one of their twins, my tears were real and honest, and never came out of a place of pity. Never. To say that I often feel guilty that I was able to have children so easily when people I love can't has everything to do with my love for those struggling, and it honestly hurts every time I feel that these articles are telling me what I can and can't feel guilty for.
No one should be able to tell you what you can and can't feel guilty for. Guilt is extremely personal. We would never tell someone struggling with Survivor's Guilt after a plan crash that their feelings are wrong. No one accuses them of pity, and I think we all need to rethink how we look at guilt. My Fertility Survivor's Guilt has nothing to do with pity.
So many people say, "Somebody like you will never know what it's like to lie in bed staring at the ceiling, praying like you've never prayed before, wondering what is wrong with you; wondering why does your body fail at the one thing it was meant to do as a woman.", and you're right. I don't. I've never done that. However, I could easily say that you don't know what it's like to lie in bed staring at the ceiling, praying with all of your might over whether or not being a surrogate for a friend of yours who's terrified that their body won't be able to carry their child; that their OB is worried that she could miscarry at any second, and wondering things like, "Is my relationship with them strong enough to link ourselves this closely? Could I carry that child inside of me, with our hearts beating next to each other, kicking me, making me ill, making me smile, making me have to pee all the time, and then watch it walk away because it's really not mine?"
You don't know what that feels like, either, but we both need to stop comparing our pain.
When did struggling to be a mother become competitive? "My pain is stronger than yours" is not what life was supposed to be about, at all. AT ALL. Instead of saying "well, my struggle to be a mother has been more difficult than yours", imagine what would happen if we stood together in all of our pain and all of our guilt and all of our love and raise our babies together. Every woman's road to motherhood is different. Every single one. Your experiences can educate me, and my experiences can educate you. Instead of discussing who had it easier, whether or not someone had their kids too young or too old, or who is "raisin'em right", how about we simply raise them together.
Isn't that what the whole it-takes-a-village idea was supposed to be about anyway?
I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.
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