If I have learned anything throughout my own infertility journey and recovery I have learned that we are all parents. But most likely, we will be the men and women who feel invisible these months as Mother’s and Father’s Day are upon us again. This will be my third Mother’s Day since ending our infertility journey without the desired result of children. This Mother's Day, I will not be woken up at the crack of dawn by my little ones surprising me with handmade cards and pancakes in bed. I will not get a bouquet of dandelions picked from the yard. I will not be acknowledged by the majority of people in my life as today being any different than any other day.
My previous Mother’s Day mornings were not that much unlike every other day. I was woken early by Gertie's growling tummy, Gracie's cold nose and Bosco's gentle snoring. I spent the day with my furry children and my husband, not unlike any other regular Sunday but all the while knowing that Mother's Day will be bittersweet for me the rest of my life.
This Mother’s Day my husband, Chad, and I are skipping town for a long weekend trip to spend time together in the beauty of nature (and also a spa of course). My goal is to stay off social media and I will definitely be staying away from children friendly activities because this year I want to really take care of myself; honoring all the complicated gray of the infertility and loss journey.
I will spend the day allowing myself to feel the anger at how unfair it can feel that I won't ever get the joy of my children making this day all about me. I will spend my day allowing myself to feel the sadness at the lifelong costs and losses of infertility. I will spend the day at peace with my recovery and my work in accepting a childfull life. I will spend the day happy with my enough moments, my struggles and my light.
I will spend the day thinking of those three tiny souls in heaven never meant to bloom here.
And, I will honor myself this day because I am a mother to many.
I will remind myself, as I want to remind all the mothers and fathers out there, to take care of ourselves, especially this Mother’s and Father’s Day. Make sure you receive care, from your loved ones and from yourself, because it is only through filling ourselves up that we can truly give and care for others.
Never to forget the fathers of course, I would like to pass along a message you simply cannot escape from when it comes to me, no matter what version of a father you are.
Talk about it.
Ask for help.
Break your silence.
And, if it counts for anything, I give you all permission to not have to be the ever strong husband.
I wish I had been able to communicate this more clearly to Chad as we were going through our own infertility journey. To be able to assure him that he didn't always have to be the ever strong man, never showing too much emotion and being stoically strong while I lost my sanity.
Even though it may be scary at first for us to see this authentic vulnerability from men, to actually see behind the armor of a man's strength, is truly what we want and need from our partners. And, even though this is counter intuitive to how you have been raised and what our culture says, I believe this authentic vulnerability from men is what will make marriages and each of us happier and healthier versions of ourselves.
Especially as you are fighting through infertility and loss and even more so after, no matter your ending.
I hope you get through these days together, turning towards one another and honoring the feelings of all the feels. I am assuming time helps this day get easier eventually, in the meantime do the work, speak your story and rise ever upward.
This post is a combination of two older posts submitted to the incredible Share Newsletter this month. Don't forget when you purchase Ever Upward through our online store, $5 of the purchase price goes to support Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support.