“I would love to cancel Mother’s Day.”

By Jessica HaleyMay 12, 2013

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.

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Comments (34)

  1. Raahh_Raahh

    I am in my 50s and I have an Amazing Mum. She is 78 now with Alzheimers. She and I were very close and spoke daily on the phone, if not two or three times and often we would talk and comment through Larry King Live together. She lived an hour away. We saw eachother once a week for sure and spent holidays together every year. My Mum was an amazing Grandmother too helping me care for my medically fragile son. My Dad got sick and my Brother took over. 2 days after he got a power of attorney and since then, he has made my life hell again. He made it hell as a kid too but for all those years inbetween my teens and mid forties, not having anything to do with him was awesome, sadly. Anyways, he wont let me C my Mum. He won’t let me even wish her Happy Mothers Day. He wont tell me where she even lives now. I am broken hearted and I need help but nobody will help me. I need 25,000.00 atleast to get a lawyer and then he will waste her money fighting til the cows come home. It is so wrong. Today, I am just thankful that I am making it through. I am keeping myself in the house and doing very little online or even watching TV. Everytime I see the Happy Mothers Day thing, I start to cry and I literally feel my heart break.

    I am happy for you.
    Happy Mothers Day.

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  2. Heather

    Thanks for sharing!
    It’s tough – I’m a 30 something who’s Mom has been gone for 18 years and who is yet to be married or have kids.
    I think the marketing around the day makes it a bit worse.
    Its tough enough getting by on normal days where people’s moms are often around and everyone seems to have kids and a husband.
    Yet, there IS so much to be grateful for. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

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  3. heart broken kid

    I would cancel today because for the last year my mom hasn’t been much of a mom at all.
    She moved out a year ago cause she fell in love with another guy and spent 4 months trying to pursue him and when that failed she came home to my two brothers (5&9) and my sister (14). She was home for about 2 weeks then fell for another guy and left again. Now my parents and in the middle of divorce, my mother is already planning her wedding with guy number 2, and wants nothing to do with us kids unless it benefits her or is convenient for her. today i had to sit and watch as she played mom of the year and it made me sick.

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    1. Shari

      Dear Heart Broken,
      I am so sorry for the hurt and pain that your mom’s selfishness has caused in your life and in your siblings’ lives as well. I don’t know how old you are, but you have had to “grow up” because of the immaturity and selfishness of your mom. I hope that there is a woman in your life, that is a good role model, that you can look to for an example of “doing it right”. Remember, your story is not over…this abandonment does not define who you are, and it is not a failure of yours that your mom left, but her own failure to be the woman she needed to be. Hopefully, someday she will realize her mistake, but if she never does, my prayer for you is that you will find the ability to forgive (so you aren’t held back by bitterness) and become the loving and responsible person you were created to be. Please find someone to talk to you that you can trust, a teacher, family friend, your dad (though he is hurting too, I’m sure). Don’t give up, there is always reason to hope and hang on. Life WILL get better again. God has a plan for you, and He can use this pain to make something beautiful in your life. HUGS to you from a mom who cares.

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  4. Amy

    Today is hard. Thank you for recognizing it. <3

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  5. Rose

    I hear you, I hurt for and with you, and agree that these “special days” are not always positive, not always a reason to necessarily celebrate. If we did cancel Mother’s Day though, we would have to cancel every holiday. Every holiday will come with it the antecedent of the purpose of the day. And should we run from that? No, no we should acknowledge the pain as PART of the day, as a true and real part of life. Maybe not cancel Mother’s Day, but make more of a point to remember all those who are pained when the word “mother” enters their ears, for whatever reason. I agree with you, today I am watching my friend cope with today being the one month mark of her mom’s death as well as Mother’s Day without her; it’s not easy, heavy hearts abound and I want to take that away from her. But I can’t take that away, and I won’t because God is doing something through it that I or she cannot do with her own strength alone. So today, as we hurt and celebrate, enjoy and cry, let us remember all mom’s, all of those who are blessed by the women in our lives, whether we can do so with heavy and burden hearts or with a smile.

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  6. Faith

    I cried so had I couldn’t breathe as I read this because your story looks exactly like my story. Thank you for starting.

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  7. February

    With all my love to you~

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  8. Anonymous

    Thank you. My reasons for hating Mother’s Day are far different than yours; my mother was abusive and had a drinking problem for most of my childhood and uses the day as a guilt trip as to why I should be a more loving, devoted daughter. Meanwhile seeing all the Facebook posts by people with loving mothers just makes me want what I never had more deeply than I would on any other day. But regardless of the reason, it gave me comfort to see that I’m not the only one who would rather this day not exist.

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  9. thank you

    this is really stunning, courageous, and tender. thank you for exposing your pain, connecting with and comforting so many more than you could imagine.

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  10. Anonymous

    Thank you! Thank you for remembering us. Thank you for stepping up to help pick up those who are still in pain. It would be so easy for you and honestly, I could not blame you for choosing to just turn away and do your best to forget all the pain now that you have this beautiful baby bringing you joy. However, you chose not to do that! You chose to stand in the gap with your compassion and understanding. I really appreciate it and TWLOHA for giving us a voice and a place of understanding to turn to today such a difficult day for many of us. My closest friends don’t get it unfortunately. They think I should be grateful I survived, put the pain in the past, and move on. Then should the time come and I “still want to have kids can adopt”. It’s that simple they think. They just don’t get it. Never did. These were the same people whose showers I sat through etc. just like your story. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. Aaron

    Thank You

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  12. Katie

    You nailed it on the head with this statement “I would cancel it for every family where Mom is no longer around and the pain outweighs the joy.” That’s my situation, and it breaks my heart every year. Thank you for understanding.

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  13. Arielle

    I have a constant fear that when my fiancé and I are ready to have children that it just won’t happen. I’ve never been on the pill and I’ve always taken very good care of myself but there is this lurking thought in my brain that sometimes might be secretly wrong with me and I won’t know until it’s to late. This post really gave me a great outlook on that fear, that as long as you believe and keep working for what you want that you can get it. Such a great post, thank you for this!

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  14. Michelle S.

    Wow. My friend posted a link to your post on Facebook, and I read it and nearly started crying. My husband and I are stuck in the same position, though I’m 37, which complicates things further (he has retrograde ejaculation due to a botched surgery a few years back). We have been trying so hard to get pregnant. I try to hold back my tears and remind myself that someday it will happen, because I’ve always known I would be a mother. Yet I look at our finances and know that having a baby naturally would be do-able, but anything else just costs too much. There is no way we can afford adoption. We have gone through a few rounds of IUI, but we can only afford that every six months or so. Now I need to start the fertility drugs, and I am afraid that our doctor will tell us that IVF is the next thing to try, and that is definitely something we cannot afford.

    I, too, have an amazing mother and many wonderful mother figures in my life, and I try to make this day about them. However, I simply cannot find myself liking this day, because it is just another reminder, in my face, about what is impossible for us right now.

    So thank you for understanding. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

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  15. Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this. It was helpful to know that I’m not alone today.

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  16. Daughter

    I try at all cost on days like today to forget her… To not remember that she’s supposed to be around and to not remember that I didn’t buy a card, or flowers, or a spa gift card… Not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t. Because cancer took her. Because she left before I planned it would happen and because for the rest of my life all I’ll have left is my missing her. And today is hard. So so so hard. But today I get to silently celebrate her legacy. Her memory. I love you mom, miss you so bad.

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  17. Anonymous

    I haven’t celebrated Mother’s Day for the last 12 years. My Mum died when I was 10. But I always get a little something and spend the day with my Dad, who had the responsibility of raising two girls on his own. So he’s kind of a mum too lol! Even after so long I get a bit down about this and I have to say 1 paragraph in I was crying. So thank you for your honest words.

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  18. Lisa Mende Design

    Thank You for writing this. When life is good we forget about all those around us who are hurting. Mother’s Day is especially hard for me because it was on that day 4 yrs ago we recovered my son’s body from a river where he had been lost since friday before while kayaking. I have three other children but the loss of one on a day we are suppose to celebrate is just too much.

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  19. Loree

    Love this article! Though I enjoy celebrating my own mother and sisters who are moms on Mother’s Day. It’s nice to know others have a hard time and dread Mother’s Day. ..I felt like I was reading my own words.

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  20. Becky Lewis

    Mother’s day and Christmas are probably the 2 hardest days of the year for me because technically I guess I am a mother but I do not feel like I am a “Mom”. On September 16, 2008 our beautiful daughter was born sleeping at 37 weeks causes are unknown. We had been married and trying to get pregnant for 10 years when we had her and our world came crashing down. So because I gave birth to a baby technically I am a mother, but because my daughter is not here with us where I love and take care of her and be a mother to her I do not feel like a mother. I am lucky that my family remembers me and my daughter on the special days as if she was alive but it still does not change how I feel in my heart or change how it hurts to not have her here. Mother’s day is very hard for on women who do not have children, or who have children but they are not with them because they live far away or have passed away or are just not around for various reasons. Maybe a new day can be created for these special people to celebrate them and call it Woman’s Day.

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  21. Connie

    I appreciate your blog. I’m a mother of five children, ages 6-26. My oldest, a girl, has and is breaking our hearts. On and off for the past five years, she has cut herself off, coming back when it is convenient for her. Why? A stupid guy. Not the kind of guy you want your daughter to bring home. She’s shacked up a couple times, once for more than a year and yet we didn’t catch on. Last year, she planned a wedding in Colorado and eloped. She has yet to tell us she is married, although we are well aware. Our other two older children have supported their sister, engaging in lying as well. ;/ We are a nice Christian family, we never abused our children, we never gave them cars or other lavish gifts….so it breaks our heart to have our daughter(s) badmouthing primarily me. The last time I saw my daughter was on Mother’s Day last year, and it was a BAD day.

    On top of my children’s poor attitudes and behaviors, I am the product of two evil people who abused me in all ways imaginable. I have strived to look at Mother’s Day as a day to allow my children celebrate me as a mother, trying to put away my emotional hurt from 25 years of abuse. This has never been easy, and I just want the day to disappear!! The past few years, my older children have turned Mother’s Day into a painful day. This year, the card they gave me read: “Mother’s Day is a chance for us to treat you like a queen. A queen with really lazy subjects who don’t listen very well.” How accurate this card is!!

    So I have a very horrible past, have tried to look at Mother’s Day as a day for me – and my children have taken that away from me. It’s far too painful of a day!

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  22. Anonymous

    I understand the issue that many women who have tried again and again to conceive have with Mother’s Day. I understand that it hurts. But I also think that most women who are desperately trying to conceive, thinking its the only way that they can be a mother, have got it wrong. ADOPTION is a beautiful way to become a mother. There are so many children in the world wishing that they could have a mother, and what I CANT imagine, is the pain they feel when they hear about people complaining about “never being a mother” because they “cant have kids”. There are two sides to every story. Giving birth isn’t the only way to be a mother.

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  23. Zoe

    The reason I hate mothers day is because it reminds me of all those time of my childhood when I had no one to call on that day because she abandoned me. Now that she’s around it reminds my of the lack of relationship we share and how she’s still neglectful. It’s hard.

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  24. Amy

    Thank you for reaching out to comfort others and share a different perspective. Your tenderness touched my heart <3 (I feel a little less alone today)

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  25. NeedHope

    thank you for writing this. i needed to hear i’m not alone in hurting on days like that… when i needed her most, my mom was not around. when i was hurting, her words and actions slapped me in the face. technically she was “there” but her absence caused me to feel so rejected and alone. and on mother’s day, i watch happy homes rejoice… and it hurts. it’s good to know i’m not alone.

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  26. Kalyn

    Thank you for writing this article. For years I have had trouble with Mother’s Day. I am 18 years old and this Sunday my mother will have been gone for 17 years. As you can probably see, May is just hard let alone Mother’s Day. She passed away so long ago that I don;t remember her a all. Sure, I have stories and pictures but when it comes to mothers day and everyone is posting about their wonderful mother’s all I can do is take flowers to the cemetery and love on the wonderful grandmother who raised me. It is hard, but together we can all get through it. I always feel like nobody else understands my pain, and people always say “you don’t remember her anyway,” but you do. Thank you for understanding, thank you for being happiness in this hell of a month. Thank you for your understanding, it means more than you know.

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  27. Melody

    This is as honest and beautiful as the love that created your son. I’m so proud that you have not forgotten your struggle, and are encouraging others who are silently going through the same thing. Landon will grow up with a story that he can be proud of. I know since all of us miracle babies get tired of hearing our moms say it when we are little. But in time, we grow to appreciate what our parents have done for us. I thank you and all the other women who are fighting for our existence. Mom’s like all of you deserve to find wholeness in a child’s love. We’re the most fortunate children in the world to have Moms that love us so deeply.

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  28. Patsy

    This year my mum went on one of her benders lasting the whole mothers days weekend. It was a shame because we couldnt do anything we had planned for her. Cooking sunday dinner for her and the family and taking her to the cinema to see a movie she had been looking forward too. But of course it was mothers day and it was her day so she could do what she wanted irrelevant to our feelings and we were being selfish.

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  29. Nico Francisco

    A friend of mine asked me to check thia site and i found this great article. I didn’t really want to but it seems like God was directing me to somewhere that’ll make me feel that someone out there can feel me. Right after having a fight with my mom who called me after 4years and chose to reject me again.

    I wish my mom could read this. I wish she can realize than what she’s losing is 4 great kids.. That if that guy will leave her someday and all of the things she thought he had, we, the real things, will pick her up and stand beside her despite of everything.

    I’m proud to find a mom as passionate as you. Thank you soo much. You are a blessing to the world.

    –Nico ( nicoleanne. [email protected])

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  30. Chris G

    Thank you for writing this piece. I am the father of a stillborn son so I have these similar feelings about Father’s Day. For my wife and I, our loss happened a little over a year ago so I am way more aware of these two days this year than I was last year. I appreciate how you went beyond just parents who have lost their child. I just started writing a blog in my son’s honor earlier this year so I am working on my own piece for Father’s Day. I came back to this post because it has stuck with me since I read it. It’s helping me shape my piece for the blog. Thank you!

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  31. Abby Rose

    I would cancel Mother’s Day for all the child abuse survivors who were either abused (verbally, physically or sexually) by their mother or were not protected by them. The pain and betrayal I feel even just thinking about my own mom makes me cry. I am 53, mother of 3 fantastic adults, I broke the cycle of abuse with my own family and I resent my own mother for not being strong or courageous enough to do the same for me. I have not always been Abby Rose but I am reclaiming my life and personhood. I did not have the drug and alcohol issues but at age 49 I finally came to the realization and was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and I DID survive hell and am reclaiming heaven. Hopefully one day I can have a love life with my husband of 30 years that is not full of flashbacks, and trauma from my childhood. When I think of what was taken from me I wish to cancel Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, all references to holidays are about the extended family. No, I love Christmas but not because of getting together with my sibblings (haven’t for years now) I love it for the birth of Christmas and the colored lights that cheer me and my inner children up so much. Yes I would cancel Mother’s Day so as not to be depressed when it comes around.

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  32. Sonya C.

    Thank you for this post.

    As a wife who struggled with fertility issues for many years and finally, at 36 years old, gave birth to a healthy, beautiful son via IVF and an egg donor, I understand the struggle of infertility and I thank you for writing this.

    As a mom who lost my beautiful 10 year old son on April 19, 2016 only to have Mother’s Day smack me in the face a few short weeks later, I understand the feeling of wanting to cancel Mother’s Day altogether and I thank you for writing this.

    As a now 47 year old mother who hopes to one day find the strength and courage to adopt a child who needs to know the love of a mother and a forever family, I thank you for writing this.

    My son was my only child and the center of my universe. Two months after his 10th birthday he had symptoms of a stomach virus. Then suddenly and unexpectedly, my son passed away from an acute illness leading to cardiac arrest. A silent killer. I was told countless times from a very caring ER doctor that there was nothing I could have done. Unfortunately, that doesn’t take the pain away and that doesn’t bring him back. I can now add grief and trauma to my daily list of struggles including depression and anxiety.

    I am seeking the help I need, grief counseling twice a week EMDR Therapy for the trauma of seeing this happen in my home, yoga classes to calm my mind, journaling and reading my Bible. But this ache, this is an ache that will never go away. This is a pain I will always endure.

    I will always be a mother to my son, now my angel, and I am thankful for the ten plus years I had with him on this earth. It is not lost on me that so many do not ever have that opportunity.

    I may or may not eventually be a mother to another child who desperately needs a mother’s love in their life. If this happens it will take time and lots of courage.

    Mother’s Day will always be a difficult day for me as it will for so many others. For recognizing this and writing this post in honor of so many – grieving mothers, people grieving the loss of their mothers, women who long to be mothers and children who need mothers in their lives, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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  33. Pingback: How to avoid Mothers Day disappointment - Connecting Essentials

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