Waiting for My Mother’s Day

As someone who struggles with fertility, I actively dread Mother’s Day each and every year. The only solution I’ve come up with? Just stay off social media for the whole freakin’ weekend.

I always liked Mother’s Day. As someone who grew up with a very present, very caring mom, it didn’t just feel good to give her a whole day to honor her; it felt right. Owed. Plus, I enjoyed it. Going to brunch as a family, giving my mom extra hugs, macaroni crafts and cards that said “I LOVE YOU” in big, bold Crayola colors…it was happy.

But this year? I am dreading Mother’s Day with a vigor and intensity that rivals my feelings the night before taking the SATs. I think I’d actually RATHER take the SATs than go through Sunday, this year…

As a 31-year-old woman with a bit more perspective, empathy and worldliness than I had at 6, I realize that Mother’s Day isn’t saccharine for everyone. It’s not all pansies and floral dresses; it can be really painful. For anyone who has an abusive mother, an absent mother, no mother, a dead mother or conversely has lost a child or desperately wants a child…Mother’s Day feels like a sucker punch from society. Like we are all failures in achieving this idyllic American life painted by Edward Hopper. We are not loved enough. We are not good enough.

One of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, wrote a very controversial piece back in 2010 about why she hates Mother’s Day. It’s a powerful piece and has gotten a lot of comments over the years; from people who share her view to people who believe her to be negative and bitter. But she makes some great points. That this Hallmark Holiday perpetuates society’s belief that parents are intrinsically more valuable people that those without children.

For me, this year is painful because I desperately want to join the ranks of this esteemed Mother’s Club. And the idea of watching old sorority sisters and high school classmates and pretty bloggers all smugly posting photos of their wildflower bouquets and runny eggs is just too much. It’s too personal and raw and hurtful for me this year.

So I already decided I am staying off social media ALL day Sunday. I don’t care how bored or how gluttonous for pain I am feeling. Instagram. Facebook. Twitter. They are all OFF LIMITS. Sure, I’ll call my Mom and Mother-in-Law, but no way am I opening one app on my phone or I’ll accidentally cry at a little girl in pigtails clutching her mom’s hand. And I’ll wonder “Why not me? When is it me?” and it will be so intense and Brad will feel so helpless and it will be just too, too much. So no. I am not participating in life this Sunday. I can’t bear the thought of seeing all the #blessed hashtags.

To all the other wannabe-mama’s, and the were-mama’s, and the I-don’t-have-a-mama’s and the I-hate-my-mama’s…we got this. We are not alone. We are enough.

Elyse Ash is the founder and CEO of Fruitful Fertility. It took her and her husband Brad three years, two rounds of IVF and one frozen embryo transfer to see their first positive pregnancy test which brought them their daughter, born in March 2018. Elyse lives in Minneapolis and loves poetry, hockey, social justice, Beyonce and pretending she’s into yoga.

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