It's that holiday again, that burning day of pain. If you're just following, it's Mother's Day. I have a previous post titled, Mother's Day, logically outlining all of the sensible reasons that I hate, hate it. Now that I'm on my way to being divorced (still working on my last blog about that) and have largely cut ties with my family this year, I feel like I can share all the illogical reasons that it's so painful.
I have always had an on an off relationship with my mother, I would say mostly off. She was available when I had something she needed but otherwise invisible. For example, in the almost 9 months since my husband and I separated she's called once because she heard I might move and my step dad has some things in my garage. Not on Thanksgiving when I was alone, not on New Year's when I was alone and I rarely hear from her on my birthday.
I grew up with terrible parents and I was left in charge of taking care of my younger siblings. Nothing is worse when you're a pre teen than this. I protected them from my parents as long as I could until my mother tossed me out when I was 16. I also helped them as much as I could as an adult so that they wouldn't have to struggle as much as I did. Unfortunately, none of them seem to remember this and have treated me badly. These were my first children and I was sure I didn't want any of my own.
On a whim I went to college (Whew!) and managed to get knocked up immediately. I had just pulled my life together and I knew I couldn't take care of another human at 18 even though I had seen other people doing it. I barely made it to where I was, and I chose to have an abortion. I did this not because I didn't want kids but because I felt like the timing would ruin everyone's life. Getting the abortion stands out as one of the most traumatic events in my life. I couldn't go through that again so if I did get pregnant again I had to be 100% onboard. Therefore, I continued to be clear that everything had to be right to want kids, otherwise I did not want kids.
While I was dating my husband I suffered two miscarriages. My husband felt strongly about not wanting kids and I felt like I didn't need to tell him about what happened. I may have told him years later but I don't remember. He was gone most of the time for work and we wanted to travel so I agreed with him about not wanting kids but I felt sad inside both times I miscarried. I didn't tell anyone because I didn't know how to articulate it.
Around the time we got married, at 31, I began to have that strong pull. I did want to have a child with my husband, and I shared it with the people closest to me and they urged me to talk to him but he reminded me of all the reasons "we" didn't want kids and I said ok.
Without going into too much detail between being 32 and 33 I wound up getting a total hysterectomy. The loss was profound. Even if you don't want kids at the moment you still want your choices. I had no one to talk to about this loss. I became hooked on pain medications and it was the first time our marriage hit a bad spot. I actually think possibly some of what's happened could be related to this but I can't know without my husband telling me.
I cleaned up, moved to Oregon, to specifically be around my toddler nieces. Over the years I brought up adoption or fostering but I continued to have health issues and my husband still worked for long periods of time away. Predictably my nieces, after a serious talk, were not ok with this idea and I don't think my husband was either but he said "Do whatever you want". Not exactly a loving home.
Now I have loads of nieces, nephews and young friends. I get teased about being the "cool aunt" but I do my fair share of parenting as well, especially as they get older. I want them to make good choices and lead happy lives and like I did with my siblings I want to protect and help them as much as I can.
I never thought I would be single again, and it's not beyond the realm of possibility that I still might have found the opportunity to have a child had I not been butchered by that doctor a decade ago but now probably isn't the time for a kid in my life. Oh wait, dating... everyone has kids!
I can tell you this is not a thrilling prospect for me. I'm not always a fan of other people's kids. I don't want to be a step parent. I've had enough of those to be pretty positive on that, and those guys might say they don't want more kids now but what if they change their mind. There's probably two guys out there without kids. Every year this kid thing gets more painful. It's hard to spend time with someone and their child. It's an incredibly lonely feeling and it unearths all this buried pain.
So now you are the first people I've ever told my whole personal story to. How I haven't wanted, had, wanted, couldn't have, and didn't want kids. I suppose if I ever find another therapist I should discuss it but what's the point? Maybe I should have adopted, maybe I should have told my husband, maybe I shouldn't have had an abortion. I think I wouldn't have been a great mom anyway but I know I'm a great aunt and friend and I need to keep my peace with that.
Not all women find Mother's Day joyful, some of us find it very sad for so many reasons. It's ok for you to be happy but it's ok for me to feel my loss as well.