Life often takes unanticipated twists and turns. When something doesn’t go the way we expect it to, we try to reassure ourselves that there’s a reason things didn’t go our way and that in time that reason will be revealed in some sort of grand a-ha moment. God, I really, really hope that’s true.
Despite our best efforts to remain hopeful seekers of clarity, that doesn’t always stop the “what ifs” from taking over. Sadly, today started as a “what if” kinda day for me.
Like, “what if” the baby boy who was born on August 21, 2011 had been able to come live with us? “What if” the birthmother hadn’t lied to us and everyone else for her own personal gain? “What if” she’d done the right thing after being arrested for fraud, instead of using her baby as a bargaining chip — a decision that resulted in her baby needlessly ending up in the social services system? “What if” I’d tried harder to build a relationship with her and not given up so easily? “What if” I’d listened to my gut instincts when the whole relationship with the birthmother was, in hindsight, one, huge, waving red flag after another? And “what if” she’d never seen our online profile in the first place to target us for her insidious plan?
What if…? What if…? What if…?
I know I’m not the only woman having the Mother’s Day Blues this weekend. Not every mom-in-waiting has had to experience the pain of such blatant deceit and fraud like my husband and I have –adding insult to the injury of struggling with infertility for years…to be “so close” to the joy of parenthood only to have it ripped from our arms in a moment. To be stupefied, wondering how a mother could do that to her own child? To be struck by anger that someone “like her” could even get pregnant in the first place. To be left empty and confused shaking a white-knuckled fist at God screaming words like “unfair” and “why me?” And obviously, nearly two years later, to be still searching for peace and closure, and praying for the strength to forgive the woman who became a very significant “twist and turn” in our life.
No. Fortunately that special kind of experience doesn’t afflict every unintentionally childless woman. But I do know that the confusion, soul-searching, anticipation, frustration, hollowness, envy, and ambivalence on the journey to mamahood, which sometimes feels more like a trek over a mountain range of nails (oh yeah, and you’ve got a boulder on your back…and you’re barefoot!!) is commonplace–whether you’re still trying to become pregnant, or somewhere strapped-in on the adoption roller-coaster ride. And coupling those feelings and emotions with a day like Mother’s Day is sometimes enough to bring any mother-trekker to her knees.
As I strive to pull on my big girl panties, put everything into perspective, and carry on, I realize there are all sorts of losses that can make this weekend difficult for women and mothers: the loss of a mom, grandma, aunt, or sister; the devastation of miscarriage, or the loss of a child; and the solitude for women who have abandoned their quest for motherhood.
At this point, I’m sure you’re all reaching for a bottle of booze to drown out your depression (fortunately, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere) and wondering, “Jesus…how much more Debbie Downer can this post be???”
I guess the point is, despite any sadness and pain and “poor me” feelings I have about Mother’s Day… I’ll still celebrate it–just like we all do, even us moms-in-waiting. Because we celebrate to acknowledge our wonderful mommy friends and family members, to keep alive the memory of the moms that are no longer with us, to reignite the hope and dream of the moms we want to become, and to love the children in our lives who, whether we realize it or not, have already created a little bit of a mom in all of us.
Sure, there are a ton of “what ifs”. Maybe, just maybe, I’d be the proud, frazzled, and even more-gray-haired-than-I-already-am mama of a toddler right now celebrating Mother’s Day weekend like so many others…probably telling my husband that he’s on-duty all day and that I just want a day off to go be with other moms, sip some wine, and pamper myself with a nice pedicure and a massage!! That’s the way that usually goes, right?!?!
But I’m not there yet, so instead I’m going to use this weekend (and a very long, soul-cleansing, and endorphin-inducing run) to celebrate the amazing moms I know, seek a little bit of clarity and peace, and remind myself …
I already am a mom. I just haven’t found my child yet.