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Mother's Day pain

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It seems ironic that the woman who founded Mother's Day was never a mother herself, but perhaps it's especially fitting. Her appreciation for mothers was such that, even though she hadn't experienced motherhood herself, she valued it enough to make the day of honor her cause.

I wonder how difficult holidays like that today are for childless women, like Anna Jarvis was. How it must be to have to face all the store displays and magazine articles and inboxes brimming with special offers for making the day special for Mom. It's difficult to even grab a quick gallon of milk without facing overblown candy and flowers display at the grocery store.

Much as I love this day and the reason behind it, it seems like it must be such a painful day for those who are unable to conceive or who miscarried or who gave their child up for adoption, for those who either chose not to have children or didn't have a choice, who simply aren't mothers for one reason or another -- this seems a day to single them out for how they aren't included.

Even if a person absolutely, positively didn't want to go to the party, not getting to go when so many others do has to hurt. Instead, every May, they must watch the party from across the street, knowing that many who are attending shouldn't be there. Don't even want to be there. Don't deserve or appreciate what they have or how easily it came for them.

When I was married and of childbearing age, yet didn't have kids, Mother's Day didn't bother me since becoming a mother remained a possibility. That door hadn't closed. And even though I always expected I'd have a house filled with children, only one was in the cards. Yet that one defines me in a way I hadn't anticipated. I can't fathom life without her-or maybe, I can fathom it. And it's because I can that I hurt for those who wished to be mothers, but aren't.

Some of the best moms I know never had children of their own. They mother their nieces and nephews, their friend's children, neighbors, coworkers, pets. They mother causes that those with children use their mom-excuse not to do.

I've learned how to be a better mom because of these women. Regardless of whether they wanted to be mothers or not, it hurts to know they've not had the chance. And it bothers me that Mother's Day might be painful to them. That it's a stinging reminder that their life isn't what society considers the norm. That their nose is being rubbed into all the things they won't really get to know.

Since they're across the street from the party.

It's nobody's business why they don't have children. They don't owe anyone any excuses.

I wish Mother's Day was something that didn't sting. I wish it was a day for women to be kind to themselves. To own what they aren't because of what they are.

A day to love the children in your life, regardless of their relation.

And know there are many whose hearts ache for you on days like today.

Reach Karin Fuller at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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