This is my first Mother’s Day on “The Other Side”. The other side of infertility, that is.
A few years ago, on Mother’s Day, I was stuck outside this very door.
The well meaning church volunteer had been stationed at these doors to make sure non-moms didn’t clog up the mother’s area, eating cupcakes and drinking punch that was reserved for the special women of the hour. “You’re not allowed in, “ he said, “unless you have one of these stickers”. There were 2 brightly coloured stickers that said “Mom” and “Mom to be”. He meant well, they all meant well. They were only trying to celebrate those hard working women who sacrifice so much every day, The Moms!
And you better believe that today, my first official Mother’s Day, I’ll be enjoying my brunch. But part of me will never forget what it was like being on the other side and all the women who are still there. The women whose babies went straight to heaven without ever getting to hold them. The women who came home from the hospital to an empty baby room. The women who are poked and prodded at the fertility clinic, physically, emotionally and financially exhausted. The almost moms. The want-to- be moms. The bereaved moms.
My dad has bought me flowers is years past on Mother’s Day. “Maybe next year will be the year,” he’d say. He didn’t realize that I had already felt like a mom, even though my motherhood was only evidenced on medical charts. Fleeting blood tests that said my babies were here, even if it was only for a short while. As a Godmother, auntie, volunteer Big Sister and businesswoman, I also felt that I mothered lots of people and things in different ways. There are many women out there who nurture people and projects in ways that just aren’t celebrated. Today, I’ll remember those women too!
I can’t deny that The Other Side is a nice place to be. It’s less awkward here, people understand how to deal with you here. You make sense here. Please note that I’m not telling any moms to feel guilty. Enjoy standing up at church today for the applause. Enjoy the massage or the day out and be proud of the macaroni art so proudly presented to you.
But in the celebration, reserve a little compassion for the sad hearts out there today. Remember those stuck on the other side of the door. I know I will.