Mother’s Day when you aren’t a mother

As I am writing this, it is Mother’s Day, a holiday weekend that I like less and less each year. It’s honestly often not on my radar anymore. I am only reminded thanks to work.

I have always wanted to be a mother. I loved children and babies from the start and couldn’t wait for that summer Red Cross Babysitter’s course the year I turned 11. And thus, my childcare career was born.

My parents later told me that they were afraid I was going to run out and become a teenage mother because I loved children so much. But by the time I was 16, I’d had friends go through what I considered the four options for teenage pregnancy. One had her baby and kept him. One had her baby and gave her up for adoption. One miscarried twins. And one had an abortion.,

Plus I knew first-hand how difficult it was to care for children. My youngest charge had been not quite two months old and the oldest at that time just just about to enter middle school. It was hard work, though fun, on my own for a few hours at a time. While I knew I would have the full support of my parents, I also knew I wasn’t ready for 24/7.

As a teenager, I was also having a lot of problems with my female parts. I remember having a sneaking suspicion even then that I was going to have trouble having a baby, if at all.

I’m not going into details this time, but by the time I was 33, it was official that I wasn’t going to be able to have children, thanks to endometriosis, adenomyosis, and recurring ovarian cysts.

Ironically, the date of that diagnostic surgery and revelation was the same date my mother would pass away eight years later.

I accepted it because it was something I had always suspected. And yes, I had gotten a second opinion, even though I was very confident in my doctor. But this acceptance doesn’t mean it is always easy.

I’ve lost relationships because I can’t have kids. Clearly, I am better off without these men. But it still stings.

I think one of the hardest things is still seeing pregnancy announcements, especially in these “geriatric years” of having a baby. Do I begrudge my friends their happiness? Absolutely not. I am so happy for them. I love it even more when I get to spend time with their babies. I am still the “Baby Whisperer” and can soothe those darlings to sleep and give their moms a break. I am even adept at doing the one-handed eat and drink or whatever while cuddling a sleeping infant in the other. I still remember one well-meaning friend telling me that I was such a natural and how it was a shame that I couldn’t have my own.

There’s also that sting of being anywhere on Mother’s Day because you get that greeting everywhere you go. I have learned to just politely smile. To say thank you feels disingenuous. To correct people opens up a whole slew of unwanted, but well-intentioned comments.

Yes, I have played a motherly role for numerous children over the years in my roles as a teacher and caregiver. I get invited to their weddings now. One who is almost 18 is still referred to as my non-biological child. But it’s not the same.

Yes, I still have a pet. She is the last of my menagerie and likely won’t be here next year. I know plenty of people who proudly embrace being pet mamas. For a lot of them, though, that was their choice. It was not mine.

Yes, people choose adoption. Sorry, it’s not as easy as you would like to think it is. And I am pretty much outside that window as it is.

So how does one get through this day? I never know what to expect each year. Saturday, I excitedly dove into the third book of a rom-com trilogy that was release earlier in the week. It ended up beautifully dealing with the topic of endometriosis and infertility. I sobbed for a solid 15 minutes after I finished it. And then I kind of had to burrow into Netflix dramas to lick my wounds.

Sunday, I decided to splurge and treat myself to cocktails and deliciousness at my local bar and grill, purposely going early enough to beat the rush and sitting in the back corner away from people. And then I came home to write and reflect on the recent round of books to review and anything else on my mind while listening to Mozart.

The rest of the plan is to probably dive into the Erle Stanley Gardner Perry Mason book that was on sale for 99 cents last week for Kindle. Those were my mom’s favorites. And then I can tuck myself in with my weighted blanket and Netflix until I fall asleep. And then I will have gotten through yet another Mother’s Day with out being a mother.

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