Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

    In addition to the warm sentiments directed to their own mothers, many people take time on Mother's Day to express the joy they receive from their own experience as a mother. I know plenty of these women. They are so excited to spend Mother's Day with the children that made them a mother. Even on a regular ole day of the year, they will gush over how amazing their role of Motherhood has been. Hard, yes, but so fulfilling! So wonderful! They can't remember what their life was like before their children were in it. And they can't imagine their life without them. They are so thankful for their children for placing them into the role of Motherhood.

   I am not one of those women. I know them, and I love many of them. I think they are wonderful people. And for a while, I was jealous of their enjoyment of Motherhood. I assumed that the post-partum depression was the obstacle in my way from that ethereal maternal experience. After all, when most women were endlessly kissing their tiny baby's faces, I was contemplating adoption. But almost two years later, the PPD is behind me and has been for almost a year now. Now I know that truly, it's just not who I am. 

   I remember what it was like before Perrin. I remember it vividly and fondly. I remember the pure selfishness with which I lived my life and absolute freedom I had. And I can easily picture what our lives would be like if he wasn't here. I can name the trips we would have taken and the things we would have done. Sometimes I find these thoughts entertaining, just because of the stark differences in those images and our reality. And sometimes, on the hard days, I find them incredibly painful as I find myself again questioning whether or not we made the right choices in our lives. 

   I do not like Motherhood. I do not find fulfillment in the ideal. When I don the label it feels stuffy and ill-fitted. I do not experience the romanticism that I know to exist for others. But I do like Perrin. I love Perrin. I love him fiercely. And whether I like it or not, I am his mother. And Joey and I owe it to him to raise him up in the love and kindness that every human deserves. Perrin is such a wonderful person. So I don't mind being his mother. But I don't like being a Mother. This distinction is subtle. But to me, it is a glaring disconnect.

   So this Mother's Day, I want to clink glasses with all the women who don't feel the warm fuzzies. The ones who find themselves embarrassed or confused by the emotions they feel on a day honoring Motherhood in the abstract. Especially when for so many women, the reality of their own motherhood is anything but honored. Because I truly believe you don't have to love Motherhood to love your child. And you don't have to be fulfilled in Motherhood to be a damn good mother. There is no one right way to mother a child. So for anyone else who finds today especially painful or disconcerting, just know you are not alone. These feelings can be complex, but there is no shame or guilt in them. And the more we can be open about them and speak our own truths, the more the idea of Motherhood will reflect what motherhood actually is. 

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