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Monday, May 9, 2011

A complicated Mother's Day

As Mother's Day approached this year, I had a flood of conflicting feelings come surfacing...

Gratitude for my own mother, for the blessing of being a mother myself, for those in my life who make me want to be a better mother.

Guilt for not measuring up.

Joy that comes from having two boys as mine.

Heartache for those who are still faithfully seeking out motherhood and might be having an extra hard time.

Satisfaction at where we've been and how far we've come in our own journey.

Inadequacy in falling short so often.

To name just a few.

And, with the day before Mother's Day being Birth Mother's Day, I was working on a couple of gifts to express our love and gratitude to Ben's birth mother, Tracey. I am in debt to her for the role she played in making me the mother to the sweetest blue-eyed boy.

As I was going through photos and videos from the last year, I inadvertently came across the video of Hugh's birth, which holds its own powerful emotions that still overwhelm me. Two miracles, each coming to us in their own unique way.

Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief, not quite sure how we got to this place. But, here we are with more joy than we know what to do with. And, I feel guilty about that. I really do.

That's when I realized Mother's Day is really a complicated holiday. (Am I the only one who feels this way??) I've had years when I've disliked it so much I've wished I could cancel it somehow or skip over it or plaster it with Nutella (but, I wish I could plaster everything with Nutella). Then, last year I finally had a baby in my arms, living proof that I was indeed a mother, which obviously made it a much more festive holiday than years past. This Mother's Day, I figured, was bound to be even better, having both my arms filled with my two boys.

That was until at roughly ten to eight in the morning. I was cracking an egg into the pancake batter when I heard a crash. There was my little Hugh lying on the floor with our end table laying on top of him. We think he was reaching for the clock that was sitting on the table (which normally is up on top of our bookshelf) and in his reaching he brought the table down on himself.

I felt awful! He screamed, and I mean screamed like nothing I've ever heard. Then the bloody nose started. I was trying to stop the bleeding, but he would jerk his head from side to side trying to keep me from touching any part of his nose. We were worried that he might have broken his nose. The lump on his forehead was already starting to form, so I was trying to ice it with a bag of frozen corn. Oh, and I was shaking like crazy, wanting to fall into a puddle of my own tears. I tried to have Marc take over for a minute while I composed myself, but that made Hugh even more upset. It was high-adrenaline for about a half hour. Then, the crying slowly stopped, we offered him some Tylenol, and he fell asleep cuddled in my arms.

I was relieved that later, after a good, long nap, he was happy and seemingly oblivious to the trauma of the morning -

I am grateful beyond words for the blessing of being a mother, with all the ups and downs. I love my days with Ben and Hugh more than any other way I've spent my days previously. I just hope one day they'll forgive me for all the ways I'm surely going to mess things up.

And, I'm realizing that somehow I've got to figure out how to celebrate Mother's Day without all the conflicting and complicated feelings that seem to come with it now. I have to believe there are others out there who feel the same. Anyone?


Allred Mom said...

Yep....Mother's day is filled with lots of complicated, conflicting feelings. I also used to feel like I could go without it. I hated hearing all the wonderful stories of what the other people were doing with their mothers, as I sat without mine. Then, I became a mother, and I thought I could enjoy it. But, then I hear all the stories of what I should be doing and never felt that I measured up to that "perfect" mom. Yes, it definitely is a day that is complicated and conflicting!
Fortunately, even with mistakes, I get hugs from my boys, and realize that I haven't completely failed! :)

Mandi said...

I definitely go through moments when I feel guilty about not measuring up, but then I try to remember that the only person I should be measuring myself against is me. I really try hard not to compare myself to anyone else, because our perceptions of everyone around us are only their projections of how they want to be seen - we never get the whole picture, ever. So ultimately all of the "perfect" moms and "perfect" families are mostly illusion. I just try to do my best in every moment, and the definition of best changes all of the time, depending on our circumstances.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

Pretty much everyone has the conflict. My best strategy for dealing through the ups and downs of Mother's Day through the years of infertility and Motherhood is to keep my expectations REALLY low- then it always ends up better.

JessicaP said...

Megan - I'm pretty sure Isaac had that exact same injury at almost the same age. Coffee tables can be vicious. As a nurse I'd seen lots of blood in my day - but the sight of HIS blood put me into complete freak-out mode. Motherhood is an adventure of the highest hills and the lowest valleys, I think that is what makes it so beautiful.
But yes, for those who want and deserve motherhood so much and haven't yet received it, my heart aches for them every year.