Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Day by Any Other Name

I apologize in advance for this post. Whatever literary brilliance I may have been possessed of prior seems to have deserted me these last few weeks. You cannot force profundity - believe me, I've tried desperately the last couple days! I simply could not let this weekend pass without having said something however.

I dislike Mother's Day. I cannot say I completely hate it because I was fortunately blessed with a fine mother and an equally lovely mother in law, and for this at least, the day holds true. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones - not only do I have one, but TWO amazing and wonderful maternal influences in my life. From reading around the net and comparing with friends, I see that others are not so fortunate. Because of these two women, and their mothers and mother's mothers - those whom I was blessed to know and those whom I only heard stories of, I cannot completely write the day off. In theory, I cannot fault it either. Practical application however, is what leaves me to shudder when viewing the calendar's turn to May. I have spent too many of these particular Sundays bleeding literally or figuratively with the loss of my babies and more than a few feeling the frustration of yet another failed attempt from a procreative standpoint. In this regard, the day brings the antithesis of what the greeting card juggernauts would have you believe it to entail. My mother in law lost her firstborn at birth on March 24, 1967. What was to be her very first Mother's Day with a child of her own rolled around just weeks later. She has mentioned that day - being at church and hearing them ask the mothers to stand and be recognized, and wondering if she should stand or not. I think of her. I think of my friends and family who have lost babies - my sister whose only son, my nephew, died of SIDS when he was 2 months old, my sisters in law who have also dealt with recurrent pregnancy loss; my good friend Loribeth who has had to learn to live with a double loss - not only the loss of her sweet Katie, but also the loss of the parenthood she wanted. Other women I have encountered in the IF blogosphere who have not only endured the unfairness of infertility, but had the bitter injustice of pregnancy loss and stillbirth heaped upon them as well. Because I have been in similar moments - I know that we do not need yet one more day that serves up more reminders of things gone horribly wrong - to point out our failings. We have plenty days enough that aren't nationally recognized and billboarded to death that do that for us already.

The other issue I have with this day is also this - rankling at the gross commercialization aside; those we appreciate, those we love, those we admire, those important to us - should we not be telling them this already?

As a postscript - I will note that the last two years I have noticed that no longer does the church we attend ask only mother's to stand - but any woman age 18 and older. What do you think? Women's Day.


loribeth said...

Thank you for the shoutout, my friend. : ) I totally agree with you on all points. I think asking all the women to stand is a nice, well-intentioned gesture -- but it's still kind of like trying to put lipstick on a frog. We all know it's still a frog underneath the makeup, & it won't turn into a handsome prince no matter how many kisses we give it. ; ) Am I mixing my metaphors here??

CLC said...

It's a nice thought to ask all the women to stand, but everyone knows who the day is really for. Like you, I have good maternal influences. So while I appreciate them, I don't think I will ever enjoy Mother's Day again in my life.

BCC said...

Meh. Not too terribly impressed by the idea of asking all women to stand and be recognized. If it were "International Women's Day" and the concept being celebrated was womanhood, then I'd feel differently. The point is to recognize mothers/mothering/motherhood. Having been both a woman and a mother, I'm very clear on the distinction. I'm all for including women who've lost their babies - even if the baby in question was a late period/possible early miscarriage - and who long for motherhood in their hearts. But, by default including every female who has ever had a period? That's a trivialization and a step too far, methinks.

JuliaS said...

Trivial or considerate - in the case of this particular congregation, it was meant to be a thoughtful consideration. There are many women who attend this particular church that have lost babies and women who have fought infertility successfully and not successfully. The categorization was made more general so as to not exclude, like you said, "women who've lost their babies - even if the baby in question was a late period/possible early miscarriage - and who long for motherhood in their hearts". It was simply easier to say "women 18 and older" rather than moms, wanna be but can't, are but lost their babies, etc.

This post was in no way meant to imply I wished to start a movement or that this was the answer.