An open letter to mothers and mothers-to-be as Mother's Day approaches
As America prepares to celebrate another Mother's Day, we know that for many of you, this is a day of joy and celebration. This day will bring you flowers, gifts, fancy dinners, lovely cards, and treasured memories with family. For some of you, this will be your first Mother's Day. You joyfully and blithely post your happy news and ultrasound pictures on every social media forum, on every news board. You live on your cell phone, or on Skype, calling every family member, friend, acquaintance and breathing, conscious human you can possibly think of in your world. Of course, we understand that you are happy and excited. We would love to be happy for you, to share in the expected social response of "Congratulations!" or a variant thereof.
Only, we can't. Not in good conscience.
We can't tell you what we truly think or feel. For one thing, you wouldn't understand. For another, you wouldn't care.
Mother's Day is a happy occasion. Everyone is supposed to feel just the way you feel. And if we can't, we should keep quiet and suck it up.
Mother's Day is our most dreaded holiday of the entire year. If we are lucky, we can just stay home, or go somewhere (Good Luck!) without children for a distraction. If we are lucky, we will just feel hollow, or perhaps experience a dull ache in our empty hearts. If we aren't, we might cry, or rage, or want to be alone. We might have that meltdown we scheduled for ourselves last May.
We recoil at seeing ultrasounds on our Facebook timelines. We loathe attending church, especially if we are forced to endure baby parades with gritted teeth and painted-on smiles. We dread hearing the inevitable first "icebreaker" question of, "So how many children do YOU have?", because when we answer, you look at us like we are freaks, and refuse to talk to us any further. We hate seeing pictures of your growing bundle of joy, whether in the womb or out of it. We despise your smugness, your gloating comments, your self-centered attitudes of entitlement and implied verification of your value as a woman. We, the infertile and bereft, are beings against nature, hated and spurned by God, criminals, outcasts. We, as women, have failed in our Prime Directive to populate the world. We do not, in your opinions, deserve to walk this Earth.
We have prayed just as long and hard, if not longer and harder, for God to bless us with just one child. We have endured just as many months and years of waiting eagerly for any hopeful sign of pregnancy, only to be consistently and bitterly disappointed. We have forced ourselves through endless rounds of injections, pills,artificial insemination, in vitro treatments and every other tortuous method ever devised by clinics. We have poured thousands of dollars into a single "maybe". Insurance has refused to help us. Sperm banks have sent us letters of regret that they have failed to find a match for us. We do not have the abundant income, or opulent lifestyle, which seems to be required by Social Service agencies, for adoption.
Are we less faithful and trusting in God than you? Have we not followed God's law to the best of our ability? Are we less nurturing, or less able to be good parents, because we are not able to give an attorney prohibitive sums of money for adoption, only to lose everything because the birth mother changes her mind at the last moment? Do we not offer love and family as much, if not more, than you?
Why should God answer your prayers, and not ours?
Please don't gripe about cramps or uterine discomfort. At least you have a uterus. One in good working order. Some of us have had to have early hysterectomies because of cancer or other life-threatening conditions.
Some of us have had traumatic miscarriages. Some of us have had children born with severe birth defects, or who were stillborn. Why are YOU getting to have a healthy child, for which you are completely ungrateful? Who CARES if you have a boy or a girl? Can't you appreciate the great blessing you have been given? Apparently not. All you apparently care about is what color to decorate your nursery. Bitch.
Some of us have recently sat by our child's hospital bed as our child suffered through pain, endless torturous procedures, and chemotherapy. We lost our child anyway. Does that mean that God loves you more than us?
Some of us lost at least one child in automobile accidents. Some of these were caused by drunk drivers, who walked away with barely a scratch. Are we horrible people? Does God hate us?
Some of us woke up to find our child dead in the new crib, in the lovely nursery we spent months planning, decorating and completing. Are we cursed? Are we being punished? We should at least be told of the great crime we have apparently committed.
Some of us are trying to cope with our child being kidnapped. The living hell that is now our lives is something about which you apparently care nothing. Screw you. Oh, we forgot. You already have been, at least once.
Why do we spend years and years living lives in faith and service to God, only to see YOU brag about how you and your BOYFRIEND are expecting another child? What's the point of being kind, loving, compassionate, merciful and all the other characteristics God expects from His followers, if you are going to sleep around, get pregnant as often as you can, and continue to squeeze every possible dollar out of the Welfare system? Why does God give women children who turn around and drench them with gasoline before setting them on fire, or women who just abandon their babies in dumpsters, tied up and suffocated in plastic bags? Why bother standing for anything remotely virtuous, when we get nothing? We are asking the age-old question of, "Why do the wicked prosper?"
We're still waiting to find out.
We're still feeling like freaks, outcasts, monsters. Thanks to you, we relive each painful day of our loss constantly. You won't let us forget.
We're still working on forgiving you for the pain you cause every time you flaunt your fertility, or post happy family pictures. We are trying to forgive your smugness, your gloating comments, your unthinking, inconsiderate denigration of our sorrow and loss. You're happy and excited; ergo, every being in Creation should be happy for you and congratulate you. Everyone is obligated to respond in the way YOU think they ought. We're working on trying to get past a pain that cannot be lessened, much less conquered. You won't let us.
We know the Prince of Darkness rules this world; and it's a logical conclusion that all acts of indecency, injustice and oppression are rewarded. There's ample evidence of that. But somehow, that answer doesn't make us feel any better.
All we can do is to let you know how much pain and loss we have. We live with it. We are mired in it. We can't get out and move on. Maybe if we were not reminded of our pain and loss every day, we could forget, if only for a while. Perhaps then, forgiveness would be easier.
In the meantime, some of us still believe in prayer. If there is a God, and if God ever listens.