Something of the Substance

Mother's Day is a tough one for many in the infertility community. The very name of it is exclusionary – a whole day dedicated to celebrating the Haves whilst the Have Nots stand aside and feel even more overlooked and ignored than on an ordinary day. It can be a mixed emotional grab bag of a day, navigating the Hallmark aisle to honor the women in your lives who are mothers, all the while wondering When will it be my turn? 

I've been there.

The thing I remember the most, though, is mentally forcing my way into the club, even if I didn't have my official admission ticket. I wasn't a mother yet and didn't even have a baby on the way, but I knew the mother I wanted to be, and I could feel her arms reaching wide in search of her child. I could feel the unfurling of love, the special type that blossoms in the expectant hope of one day becoming a mother. Maybe my child was not yet physically here – neither in utero nor in arms – but my heart knew the shape and feel of him or her. Maybe I redirected those maternal energies into my nephew and my puppy and my students, and while they could never replace the son or daughter I longed for, it didn't minimize the maternity in my heart. 

I wasn't a mother yet, but I knew something of the substance, and that was worthy of celebration, dammit. 

To all the mothers, whether you feel your children in your arms or only in your hearts, Happy Mother's Day.

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