The Parent Bloggers Network is running this Blog Blast thingie (sponsored by LightIris), where everyone gets to answer the questions above. (You can get in on the fun yourself, up until the end of the day today.) Well, nowdays it hurts me to even see that question, but somehow I just can't walk away. So here goes.
My daughter made me a mom. In ways big and small, in my own eyes and in the eyes of the world, she made me a mom.
My son made me a different kind of mom. Today, I am a mom who loves with all my heart a child who gives the best hugs in the world, and one who never did and never will. Today, much like I could a year ago, I can describe in excruciating detail the amazing blended colors of my daughter's eyes. But today, every time I think of those most unusual eyes, I also know, with the knowledge that makes me want to howl, that I will never get a chance to discover the color my son's eyes would have been.
I was never big on Mother's Day. We didn't have one in the Old Country, and it took some getting used to once we got here. But this year, I am particularly ambivalent about it. In fact, I think it makes me mostly sad.
This year, I am sad for all my sisters in grief who will not be seen and acknowledged by the world as mothers this year. Those who had to make that most excruciating of choices to let their children go, and those who had no choice at all.
This year, I am a sad for all the mothers of living children, who, getting the cards and the presents this Sunday morning will miss, dreadfully, the card, or a hug, or just a smile from their kids who don't get to give them one, who never will.
This year, I am sad for all the women out there who long to be mothers, but who, through the circumstances of biology, life, or money are not.
The shrink I see is actually a very nice woman who is doing research into better ways to help bereaved parents. Unfortunately, because I am seeing her as part of a study, I only have two more meetings with her. Also because this is a study, I have to fill out questioners every week, consisting of rating my agreement or disagreement, as of each week, with a number of statements. One statement, that up until now I have always marked as "neither agree nor disagree" is "Being a bereaved parent means being a 'second class citizen.'" I think this week I will circle "agree."
The founder of LightIris is a well-meaning man named Kevin, who is documenting his month of wearing a pregnancy suit in an effort to gain empathy for what moms go through. Sorry, Kevin, but there is no suit that will give you empathy for what some of us go through. There is no suit that will make you understand how little wearing a pregnancy suit has to do with being a mother. I suppose I should be glad that for Kevin, and most other people in the world, our experiences are so foreign as to not even register on their radar of what motherhood means. And I am glad.
But I also want to, need to, speak up for myself and other bereaved mothers. Why? I don't know. Perhaps in the vain hope of making our experiences part of mainstream conversation about motherhood. Perhaps because I wish we could find a way to honor all mothers without making some of us feel left out and hurt. Perhaps because there is nothing else I can do for my sisters.
So what is it that makes me a mother? This year, it's straddling the two worlds, loving both of my children, and seeing the fullness of what being a mother means.