This is the first Mother’s Day in four years of trying to become pregnant and then giving up on becoming pregnant that I don’t care about the club I'm not in. The didn't-try, oooops, I got pregnant when my husband looked at me, I drank tequila and got pregnant, I didn't think it would happen that fast, infuriating, effortless conception birthmother club. I actually don't care. It's delicious. I might tomorrow, but I don't today. I didn't plan to write this, but I must, while it's here. It just arrived. Clear, blissful awareness: I don't care.
This day used to be like the peak of a mountain of the hot, cramping shame that comes with only giving birth to pain. To release this shame is to realize I am in a club. Every woman who miscarried, crossed the threshold into a cold clinic, experienced not hours but years of labor before seeing her birthchildren, or raised and loved like there was DNA when there was not, is in my club. Every woman who thinks only of those going through what she went through and names their pain when she posts her children's baby pictures (or names it by rarely or never posting) is in my club. And especially, the "unexplained infertility" woman who wanted to and did not conceive, miscarry, or give birth is in my Mother's Day club. We may not know surprise in a pierce and tug below the navel, or our birth children, but damn...we know ourselves.
My Mother's Day club includes stepmoms, especially the ones that concentrate on offering what they needed and did or didn’t get. I don’t require anything from our boys so that I can feel better, and I see the relief in their eyes when they know I am here for them, not me. The gift is, they let me know them. They share their lives with me. It's not on display, and it is real, alive, and unbreakable. I went through a lot to be able to understand and create that, and I'm proud of myself, and satisfied and content with our busy daily life. For that, I am able to gratefully receive Mother's Day wishes from absolutely anyone, annual flowers from my my mom, and great gifts my husband.
Here is my club's mission-ish statement, in case you want to join. "I am enough, and most of the time it feels good to have gone with the will of the wind and not a fixed fantasy." As in hospital photos on Instagram. Sometimes it bewilders and shocks me mine only got taken after surgery. Alone, drowsy, my husband holding up his phone camera saying "babe, you look really pretty". I still sense psychic echoes of a growing girl-child with one shoe under her bed and another in the car that make me feel crazy. I count how old she would've been from a successful procedure date. Sometimes it hurts so bad I have to find a powder room to cry in and I feel my heart actually spasm. I don't eat it or work it away anymore like at first. I have the guts to sit and feel it, and the heart strength that comes of sitting with it gets passed on to everyone I love, especially my man. It also goes to all my friends who had and are having babies. I get to actually feel happy for them. It's a miracle, and they are welcome in my club. All effortless conception birthmothers are. We are in this together.
I carry on in the way that works for me: believing that if that was my fate it would have happened, and that I prefer to relax, let go and trust. You may have a different way to carry on. In my club, everyone gets their own way and no one tells them what it is- they find it out on their own. In my club, happy endings are Divinely Ordered and they all look different. Deep womanhood and abiding motherhood apply to a vast array of people to love, projects to deliver, and experiences to cherish. In my club, we know that yearning and learning have a place in a woman's life, for all she may not see today, but will.
You are not alone.
P.S. write me if you feel like it. firstname.lastname@example.org This week's podcast is an interview with Bestselling author Claire Bidwell Smith, who is an incredibly vulnerable, truthful writer and definitely inspired me to write this.