I had a gorgeous Mother’s Day yesterday, which included, amongst other things, breakfast in bed, a big family lunch at our place and, after everyone had gone home, an afternoon nap. It was quite glorious and I felt incredibly spoilt by my little family and fortunate to be surrounded by our extended family.
So it is with some guilt that I admit that in with all the happiness and celebrations and gifts and cards and flowers that I had moments of quiet sadness – both yesterday and in the lead up to the day.
Mother’s Day for me is about celebrating my mother who is, quite simply, the best mother in all the lands. There is no doubt about that in my mind.
It is also about being a mother and thinking about how much I love that. But in there, mixed up with the loveliness of it all, I feel pain and sadness.
I feel guilty about it because I do feel so lucky. I have a daughter and she is wonderful. I am a mother and I am so grateful. But I feel that I am missing something – or someone.
In the lead up to Mother’s Day, I was talking with a friend about how I felt and she said to me ‘At least you have your beautiful girl. A lot of people would be so thrilled with that.’ And I am thrilled with my daughter – of course I am. Feeling sad about the babies I lost does not mean that I don’t celebrate what I do have.
I ache sometimes for what could have been. I feel ungrateful even writing this, because I know and try to understand how difficult it is for women who do not have children. I read the stories about how hard Mother’s Day and other occasions are for people who don’t celebrate – for whatever reason and know that it sounds like I am ignoring how lucky I am and being greedy for wanting more.
Those quiet moments of wonder don’t stop hurting. I think about the baby that would have come before my daughter, but mostly, I think of the little ones that would have come after. I think of the one I lost two years after out little girl was born and think about how different our daughter’s childhood would have been if she had a sibling so close in age to her.
And still with so much rawness, I think of the one who would have been three now and how our family would have been turned completely on its head with the arrival of a new baby only a couple of years ago and we would still be muddling through the toddler years.
I had a dream the other night of Mother’s Day morning with Aaron and our daughter, and another little child – a three year old. I couldn’t see if it was a boy or a girl, but there was a bundling little kid also jumping on the bed, helping me unwrap my gifts and bringing me my carefully made breakfast. I kept trying to reach out for the child so I could hug him or her, but I couldn’t. The little one kept wriggling just out of reach, not showing me his or her face.
I don’t understand these feelings. I don’t understand how I can move – almost in a heartbeat – from feeling like the luckiest mum in the world to feeling pain. But it happens and it especially happens on these days.
I hugged my girl very tightly yesterday. She is the one that my body decided to hold on to and keep; the one I was able to nourish and embrace and watch grow up. She is the reason I am someone’s mother on Mother’s Day. I truly do believe that she is so very much enough. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering ‘What if…?’