A Childless Mother’s Day

Alright, ladies! It’s May, and that means Mother’s Day is right around the corner.

I know, you just survived the perfect family photos displayed for your torture of fertile-families all adorned in their Easter best. Ready or not, it’s almost time for Mother’s Day. Time is not our friend when it comes to this dreadful season of waiting.

As the calendar turns to May, up goes the armor of any woman who has struggled to get pregnant (again) or that has lost a pregnancy. If you fall in this group, this month is terrible.

The entrance of Target reminds you to buy a card. Social media reminds you of how magical it is to be a mother. Doting husbands remind you of how great their wife is. Family gives you your marching orders for everywhere you are supposed to be that weekend to celebrate the women who have finally achieved the elite title of Mother.

You buy the gifts. You assembly the bouquets. You sign the cards. You do all the perfect things that a beloved, daughter, sister, friend and daughter-in-law should do.

It was advantageous of you to complete all of those tasks with your mask tightly assembled, otherwise people would have noticed how your facade was cracking or your lip quivering while you hide back tears. Celebrating those who have titles that your hope is becoming weary for is burdensome.

I had my own years of seeing Mother’s Day approaching. Here’s my vulnerability: I was seething with anger, sad to my very core, wanting to be seen and wanting to hide all at the very same time. When my husband would ask what I needed, I couldn’t answer because I didn’t even know what I was feeling.

For most of those years, I fulfilled what those expected of me on Mother’s Day, broke down when I got home and then tried to piece myself back together. Then,  one Mother’s Day, I decided I was just out. No church. No brunches. No saying “Happy Mother’s Day” while I received a sideways head bob and a squeeze on the shoulder from those with children running around their ankles. We all know the pain of those moments and I had just had enough.

What do the next few weeks hold for you?

Perhaps this isn’t the year that you will be celebrated as a mother. Listen: You are no less than any other women receiving accolades for being a good mother. This just isn’t your year.

Perhaps your child’s life ended before you got to know them. Say their name proudly this mother’s day. Own your right to be a mother. Don’t hide it in the shadows while all of the “real” mothers get celebrated. Get in there because YOU ARE A REAL MOTHER and deserve to be honored.

Sometimes joyous occasions mean that you need boundaries to survive them. Look at a fence around someone’s house. That structure is meant to keep in what you want to protect and keep out what may not be safe for you.

Before Mother’s Day weekend sneaks up on you, let me challenge you to think about a few things:

1.) What am I feeling about Mother’s Day? Not what is my sassy answer laced with every defense mechanism that I can find. What are you truly feeling?

2.) Who can help me with these emotions?

3.) What support or boundaries do I need around Mother’s Day?

4.) Who can offer me this support or support these boundaries?

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Cathie Quillet, LMFT

Cathie Quillet, LMFT

Founder of The Quillet Institute
Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Therapist
Mom to Four Miscarried Babies

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