I should love today, right? I’m in the “Mom club.” I have the most precious one-year-old on the planet, and yet, still, I would love to cancel Mother’s Day. It is ridiculously impossible to explain that feeling when I was raised by the most amazing mother, and in the other room lies my beautiful, sleeping baby. But today, I wouldn’t cancel it for me; I would cancel it for the ones that sit heartbroken.
I would cancel it for the moms who miss their children so badly it hurts to breathe.
I would cancel it for the children who bounce from foster home to foster home with no true understanding of what a mother is.
I would cancel it for the women who want nothing more than a child to call their own but are met with constant failure and defeat.
I would cancel it for every family where mom is no longer around and the pain outweighs the joy.
I dreaded Mother’s Day for years. It was a constant slap in the face, reminding me of what I didn’t have. I wanted to be a mom so badly. I was jealous of every baby bump, of every mother with a stroller as far as I could see. I would want to scream when I heard parents complaining about their terror of a child or lack of sleep. I made up excuses as to why I couldn’t attend baby showers and avoided conversations at social gatherings because at some point I would hear one of these statements:
“Pretty soon it will be your turn, Jessica.”
“Still can’t believe you don’t have a bunch of kids running around.”
“What are you waiting for? You love babies.”
Ugh. The worst. I would smile and either lie, change the subject, or say something entirely sarcastic just to avoid a complete breakdown. Deep down, I knew those comments weren’t intentionally said to ruin my day but one by one, they would pile up reminding me that if you are a 20-something, with the college degree, the husband, the house, and two dogs, you are obligated to reproduce in the appropriate timeline. Well, wouldn’t that be nice?
We thought it would be as simple as “trying” and then surprising everyone. That works great if you actually get pregnant. After 14 months of trying, I broke down (literally) to my family and then managed to scrounge up enough courage to go to the doctor. I went. My husband went. I got tested. He got tested. Repeat. No success. Repeat. No success. Ovulation kits. Ultrasounds. Fertility drugs. Chugging cough syrup because some nurse said it would help. Make your husband buy $50 deer antler spray because one time you met Ellen Pompeo in a parking garage, and somehow you started talking to her about your uterus, because “Meredith Grey” couldn’t get pregnant either. She tells you to buy a certain book and the deer antler spray. You do both. Moral of the story? If you want a baby, you’ll try anything.
Each Mother’s Day, the feelings I tried to hide on a daily basis were amplified. My heart was bitter, and my mind was consumed with not understanding why I couldn’t have a child. I would secretly search “#infertility” on Twitter in hopes that someone was feeling the same way as me. I would wonder why I always imagined a full home if that wasn’t the way my life was supposed to be. I also wondered why pregnancy tests were never BOGO at Publix because, geez, I have bought a lot of them.
My journey to becoming a mother continued in a way I never dreamed. My husband and I poured our hearts out to the world and were met with the most heartfelt response; both financially and emotionally. We were then blessed with our precious IVF miracle last April.
He is perfect. He is the kid that makes you want ten more. But no matter how wonderful he is, he doesn’t take away the pain I felt for so long. I don’t want him to either. I want to remember every tough night, every negative pregnancy test, every injection, every defeat—because if I don’t, there will be no one to pick up the women who think they can’t fight another day. There will be no one to tell you that if you want to be Mom, you will. And there will be no one to say “I get it” and truly mean it.
Today might be a wonderful day for you and your loved ones. If it is, enjoy every moment of it. Hang out a little longer, hug a little tighter, and take notice of the ones around you who might be having a hard time. I know your story might not look like mine. But sadness is sadness no matter what has caused it. So, if today is hard … I get it. If you hate today, I get it. There is no canceling Mother’s Day, and there are women who deserve to be honored. But for those of us who have a jaded look on what today brings, let’s find a way to make it through. Together.