So before I say anything at all, I just have to address the fact that I had no idea it was possible to love a person as much as I love this little one her dad and I made. And we made her entirely by accident, and the decision to bring her into the world was a monumental one because for 36 years I'd vacillated but mostly landed on "I don't want to have children."
But when I look into her eyes, or hold her while she's falling asleep, or hear her laugh, I am literally overwhelmed with gratitude and joy and some unnamable other feeling. I think that is the mom feeling.
So, I love being a mom, so far. I'm going to be really good at it. Most of you who are moms are probably really good at it. You know what I mean when I talk about that overwhelming love for your babies, no matter how young or old or near or far away they are. Whether you have a full nest or an empty one: you know what I am talking about. You feel what I feel.
I think not everybody feels that "unnamable mom feeling". Not everybody loves being a mom, even after they become one, sometimes several times over. Not everybody is good at it, despite their best efforts. Some women probably don't even try to be good at it. Some women are so damaged by their own mothers (or others) that they are unable to open their hearts to their own children. I empathize with all of these women.
And while I would <wish&hope> that all of us have been lucky enough to have mothers who are loving and kind, I know IRL that some people reading this have probably had a mother somewhere in that other vicinity, and I empathize with these people as well.
I know that there are mothers in this world who have abused, neglected, and otherwise harmed their children. Sometimes those children come to me for counseling as adults and need to be essentially re-parented because they never learned they were lovable and worthwhile.
I am never the therapist who will tell you you must have a relationship with someone just because you are related to them or have some extensive history with them. If someone is harmful to you, you have the right to establish boundaries and remove yourself from harm's way. So for those of you who are estranged from your mother and find today rather depressing and pointless, I would like to honor you and say that I hope you have learned to give yourself the love and respect and kindness you deserve.
Too, it is safe to assume there are women reading this who have lost children, whether before or after their birth. This includes women who have chosen to terminate pregnancies, as there can be grief in even the most sound and necessary of decisions. Women for whom "Mother's Day" holds a deep and abiding sadness and longing: I am sorry for your loss, for what it's worth, and I hope that time offers you peace and healing.
For women currently struggling with infertility, I offer you empathy as well. In a world where it seems like everybody gets pregnant so easily, it can feel really unfair and unjust to find yourself unable to do this one thing. You may find yourself resenting your friends and family who seem to just be popping out babies left and right. Or if not quite resentful, you may simply be unable to muster the joy you think you should be feeling for the births of their children. Or maybe you just feel sad or resigned. Whatever you feel, I promise you are not alone in this feeling. It is understandable.
For women trying to get pregnant, I wish for you all the possibilities modern medicine has to offer you, because children made by donor eggs or in Petri dishes or via artificial insemination may technically be miracles of science, but they are miracles nonetheless. And if you long to be a mother, I hope you find a way to become one.
For moms who've adopted children not biologically yours, Happy Mother's Day to you. You have offered those children a beautiful life they may not otherwise have been able to live. For the moms giving their babies to other families to be cared for, you have done something unbelievably brave and endlessly generous. (and, thank you T for reminding me).
For single moms, you are amazing in the feat of strength getting through every day is. I can't imagine taking care of one tiny person on my own, so I certainly cannot fathom multiple children. You're incredible. I salute you.
For those of you mamas out there doing your best and fearing you are falling short, it's okay to make mistakes sometimes. We all do. Keep trying. Read books and articles. Talk to friends. Go to therapy. Take medicine. Find support networks. Do whatever you have to do in order to be at your best, because these tiny people we have been entrusted with need us at our best.
I love all of you mamas out there. I'm grateful to mine, especially as I watch her be a grandma to my little baby. Have a wonderful day!