Mother****ing Sunday

It’s not the best day of the year for the childless infertile woman, Mother’s Day. In Britain, we hold it on the fourth Sunday of Lent (i.e. today), and its roots are all entangled with Mothering Sunday, which was originally the day in Christian Europe when people who had moved away returned to their ‘mother’ church – the church where they were baptised – for a thanksgiving service in honour of the Virgin Mary. Of course, most people didn’t leave their village or town for generations, so not many people needed to do this. Later, in Britain at least, it became the Sunday servants were allowed to go home to their families for a little holiday, and that’s when it got inextricably linked to the idea of going to see one’s mother and celebrate her. When the celebration was revived during the First World War, it became explicitely about celebrating motherhood, and the original celebration of one’s first church and congregation got completely swamped.

Other countries hold the whole schemozzle in May. As the USA does this, and wherever America goes, Britain follows bleating like a lamb, we now seem to have two Mother’s Days. This one, where British mothers get their glitter-and-pasta-shape cards, breakfast in bed, and if they have sufficiently guilted prepared their partners, flowers and gifts, and the ‘internet’ one, where every fertile woman in Blighty joins in the FuckBonk memery and ‘copy and post this if you’ve ever…’ nauseating shite, for the sole purpose, as far as I can tell, of making all their childless and/or motherless acquaintances feel like a bucket of fermenting shit for the day.

So hello! Welcome to Bitter McTwisted’s Angry Festival!

(I’ve sent my mother a card. I am getting her a gift. I am grateful I have a mother I can send cards to. Look at me not letting Bitter McTwisted piss on anyone else’s day. I’m so good).

Every few weeks, H and I go out for brunch on a Sunday morning. We’re lucky – we live in walking distance of five good places to get splendid brunches, and given that I have totally, unconditionally, utterly banned H from getting his iPhone out at these meals, we actually get to chat and argue about Art and Politics and make each other laugh. This morning, H suggested we go out, as is out want, and just as I was scrambling out of bed it occurred to me: we live in Young Families Central. The last time we went out for a meal on Mothering Sunday it was like being dragged naked and screaming over a red hot microplane grater made of other people’s families (also, we got the shitty table in the corner with no flowers. Hell, yes, I’m bitter). So… we stayed in. You could say, in fact, that we skulked.

H spent the morning setting up his (technically, our, but All Shiny Thing Belong H, because though we eschew gender stereotypes chez nous with every fibre of our left-wing woolly-liberal hippy granola beings, well, I knit, and H likes fiddling with electronics) brand new can-talk-to-the-internet (it’s magic!) stereo. This caused a cascade of Things That Need To Be Updated And/Or Reset. This caused quite a lot of internet outages and non-workingness. This caused a bit of a row about the iTunes thingy H updated the permissions for on my lap-top weeks ago after I complained that it didn’t work for months, which of course still didn’t work because, remember, I switched lap-tops a few weeks ago, and the new lap-top also needed the permissions updated. Umm. Anyway, I lost my bloody mind and burst into tears, because it’s Mothering Sunday (bear with me (no, of course it’s not ‘bare with me’. Do I want us all naked together? Emphatically I do not. It’s bear, as in endure, put up with, have patience with. This is your grammarian public service announcement from blogland)).

I have an, eh, issue, shall we say, with people who allegedly know their shit telling me that whateveritis I am vapouring about isn’t a problem, or is already fixed already!, or dealt with in whatever way, while I stand there whimpering ‘but it doesn’t actually work! It really doesn’t!’. H, bless his Fix All The Things! little mind, has a bit of a record in this department when it comes to things electronic, because he really does know his shit and I really don’t. However, I do know when something’s not working, on account of not being an eejit who can’t tell the off-switch from the contrast button.

I also have an issue, of the huge, never-to-be-resolved, variety, with many doctors who, since I was fourteen, have told me my problems with very irregular periods, severe menstrual pain, and that awful lump I was sure I could feel in my lower abdomen, were variously, normal, all in my head, caused by constipation, and nothing to pester a doctor with. And so I lost my left ovary to a dermoid cyst or teratoma the size of a motherfucking grapefruit, that twisted, ripped my ovary in half, and gave me septicemia. Since then, I have had doctors who dismissed my increasingly-painful-even-on-the-pill periods as ‘not possible’, doctors who dismissed my weight-gain, acne and hairy upper lip as caused by my being lazy and over-eating, doctors who dismissed the fact I didn’t menstruate for nearly a year after coming off the pill as ‘one of those things’, doctors who kept telling me the reason I couldn’t get pregnant was because I was fat (and nothing to do with, say, anovulation and a collection of polyps all bleeding away like Iguazu), the reason I couldn’t stay pregnant was because I was fat (and nothing to do with, say, a blood-clotting disorder), and who when Clomid made me anovulatory said ‘huh’ and made me try Clomid again, even though it made me anovulatory, and doctors who didn’t bother to check my FSH/oestrogen balance on the right day of my cycle until I’d been in treatment for six motherfucking years (which proved my ‘fatness’ wasn’t, actually, fucking up my ovulation at all), doctors who insisted visit after visit that IVF would not help me get or stay pregnant, and all the while, time ran on, time ran out, I am 37 in May, and if, oh, if only someone had paid me, actual me who lives in this body and who has always been saying ‘this isn’t right’, some respectful attention, do you think I’d be nearly 37 with no children and seven dead ones and one ovary and a pelvis full of scar tissue and a womb agonisedly bloated with cysts and scars and misplaced endometrium? Not one of which issues had a motherfucking thing to do with the size of my arse?

So, yes, I lost my mind, I screamed at H, I cried. Mothering Sunday is a triggery bitch.


30 responses to “Mother****ing Sunday

  • korechronicles

    The toughest of tough days. And there is such pitifully little to offer in support. Pain and grief smoulder for years and years and it takes so little to fan them back into full conflagration. Sending you and H love and a calmer day ahead. xxx

  • Jo

    I hate Mother’s Day with a passion. We announced pregnancy #2 on Mother’s Day two years ago (just a month before that one went to shit), and that was pretty much the ONLY Mother’s Day I’ve enjoyed for the last decade. (Side note: I, too, have a mother and I am hugely grateful for her presence in my life). I plan on posting a pithy, witty, FB status the Friday before MD this year (I’m still trying to think of one), and then avoiding it for the rest of the weekend. Because you are exactly right — it is nothing more than a “look at my gorgeous family, my kids are my world, blah, blah blah” debauchery fest. It’s every other day on FB, times a million. No thanks.

    I hate that no one listens to you regarding your medical issues. I’m not familiar with how healthcare works in the UK, but I’ve learned enough from reading your blog to believe that national healthcare is NOT nearly as great as it would seem. Are there private sectors you can visit to help you possibly get some answers?

    Sending much love and hugs,

    • May

      I have a running joke about my benighted uterus’s ability to ruin public holidays – not that any of us need any help in resenting Mother’s Day. I’m sorry. That sucks very much. And, yes, I did go through my FB hiding every single thread by a parent that mentioned the word ‘mother’ on Sunday. Take that!

      Private sector, for me, was just as obsessed with my weight as the public sector, alas – though they did diagnose my clotting disorder. Dr Spouse’s comment below is also very wise on the NHS, and how it works. And I have read so many blogs by USA bloggers who have had very similar issues with misdiagnoses and not-listening doctors, so I think that is alas universal regardless of the way the health system is paid for and administered. Infertility is under-researched, poorly understood, and not very well treated world-wide, even if a person does have thousands and thousands of dollars or pounds to throw at the problem.

      Hugs to you too.

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Oh. Dear. Fortunately my family thinks it’s all bosh anyways. My MIL is very into the Hallmark Holidays but mercifully I am not required to participate. And my spouse does the bloody dishes every night anyways, whether it’s Mother Anything or not.

    Dr. S and I had a spat in the middle of the hardware store today, regarding bathroom renovations. I think there’s something in the air today.

    • May

      Heh. Air is full of Spat, probably caused by solar flares, or something.

      My mother actually gets quite hurt if her daughters forget Mother’s Day, so I suck it up. (Not that she wants presents and flowers and STUFF, bless her. She just wants even a phone-call or a hug and a kiss. I tend to give her a gift to assuage my own guilt for resenting the whole effin’ day so very EFFIN’ MUCH).

  • wombattwo

    Mother’s Day is a pile of shite. I dislike it immensely. And that’s one of the reasons I’m not on FB anymore – I couldn’t work out how to delete the annoying ones and keep the funny and intelligent ones without someone getting upset.
    Um, I feel I want to offer you a bucketful of gin. And hugs.

    • May

      We should share the gin, I think. And a large box of truffles.

      And there’s a reason why I am exceedingly PICKY about who I friend on FB. Too many inane people being inane, in my very own family even. Shall I care about their miffedness if I don’t friend them? Shall I buggery. There’s a lot to be said for not seeing them very often otherwise, eh?

  • Rachel

    It is absolutely clear that your fit was justified. A tad unfortunate that it went towards H rather than stupid doctors/stupid lucky people/facebook, but still totally appropriate. All I can say is that I hope next year’s Mother’s Day is different than this one.

    And for the record, despite the additions of babies I still entirely dislike this holiday and we stoically do absolutely nothing on it, regardless of the presence of both my mother and mother-in-law.

    • May

      Yes, indeed, poor old H. I have some make-nicing to do. Hi, H!

      As mentioned, I can’t ignore Mother’s Day, because I really don’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings, and I know she does Have A Sad when my sisters forget, but I am so not doing the full-on taking-out-for-lunch hoopla, hell no. Card. Gift. Done. Retreating to Bat Cave for full-on sulk.

  • Kylie

    Oh dear. Mothers day generally ranks with valentines day in terms of being a holiday where the sole purpose seems to be to allow the haves to flaunt this in front of the have-nots ( of whatever variety).

    And wig outs over electronic fixings- totally justified. Some days I think it should be included in the marriage vows, promise to love honor and never touch the computer without express permission and careful effort to maintain the setup exactly the way it should be.

  • a

    Are you a youngest child? Because I recognize the “no one ever listens to me, even though I am quite fucking frequently correct in my observations and predictions” feeling, which I attribute to being the youngest. I am generally regarded as fairly intelligent (i.e. I have a vocabulary and I’m not afraid to use it), and yet people feel free to dismiss me on a regular basis. This often results in unfortunate happenings that could have been prevented. Also, we never go out on Mother’s Day – it’s not worth the traffic.

    Sorry your day was so crappy. Hope your electronics work now.

    • May

      Funnily enough, while I come smack bang in the middle of a large crowd of half- and step-siblings, I am the oldest of my mother’s children, and was always considered to be the most responsible, sensible child of the set. Which meant, basically, I could be reliably told to do things, but not, you see, that my opinion on anything was relevant, especially if it was something along the lines of ‘this is sucktastic and we/you/they shouldn’t do it’. It also didn’t help that my ex-step-father was excruciatingly sexist and therefore according to him all that came out of a girl-child’s mouth was ‘Weeedleweedletweedlewheeee’.

      Electronics all better. I must now be nice to my husband.

  • Dr Spouse

    I’ve posted briefly myself, but I forgot to say that I did send my mother a card, which my brother did not (“I don’t bother with those things” – I feel this is like saying “I won’t buy my children a birthday present because I don’t bother with birthdays”).

    My understanding of the whole infertility on the NHS or private in the UK is that you can get lots of places to do you IVF privately, and very very well, but they do almost nothing else – they don’t do the initial investigations (or they will only re-do them), they certainly won’t treat you for pregnancy loss (and frankly I’d rather have large teaching hospital at stone’s throw with efficient A&E, than small private clinic an hour away, if I’m actively miscarrying). The consultants in the NHS are world class published researchers, but the family doctors tend to be jack of all trades and master of none, which is where the system breaks down. I also would not necessarily refer myself for other types of medical difficulties (e.g. the joint problems I’ve had or the migraines I get) to private specialists, as they are not world class published researchers, but tend to be junior doctors moonlighting.

    (and, erm, sorry love, “as is our WONT”. I wouldn’t have brought you up on it but you did go on about bare/bear).

    • May

      Yes, exactly, on the NHS v private thing in the UK.

      (And, oops, how embarrassing (I AM BLUSHING). To correct, or not to correct?)

    • May

      Oh, and I also meant to say, I’m with you on ‘I don’t bother with those things’. This is very much my sister’s attitude – she never remembers Mother’s Day/ Father’s Day/ assorted birthdays, and yet, the silly moo is always bothered when people forget HER birthday, and she was bothered last year when her child forgot all about Mother’s Day. I had to take myself out of the room and shake myself very hard to stop myself from laughing right in her face over that one.

  • Carole

    I’m so sorry you felt bad. Though I have to admit, I never felt all that bothered by Mother’s Day in the infertile years because I felt it was about MY mother. And frankly I kind of still do. Perhaps it helps that I live in the Netherlands. They still have it, more or less, in May, but it is against Dutch nature to make a big (read “expensive”) thing about this sort of thing. So I get the “thing made in school” item and then entirely normal Sunday is resumed.

    The “whoosh” of time wasted must ring very loudly, but you are still ONLY 37. There is still time to come. I was 39 before my innards got their bloody act together, but they did in the end. Keep the faith!

    • May

      I’d be perfectly happy with Mother’s Day if all it involved was making a fuss of my own mother. Alas, it’s such a big freakin’ deal in Britain these days, and alas alas every single place I go, work, friends, other places on the internet where my friends hang out, are all FULL of people talking about Mother’s Day, how mothers are the best, how their own children did this or that, how only a mother knows the meaning of real love, how you’re not really a worthwhile human being if you’re not a mother (I WISH I was kidding), on and on and endlessly bloody on, until you have to shut yourself in your room and refuse to come out until the end of the week.

      I shall keep the faith. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Pamela M Tsigdinos (@PamelaJeanne)

    It’s the Monday after the awfulness — so I hope today already feels 100% better than yesterday.
    BTW: Visiting your blog always feels like coming home. I simply adore your writing style — how you put it all out there..
    I’m also amazed, May, that doctors could be so completely dense. ox, PJ

    • May

      Ahh, I am so flattered I don’t know what to do with myself. Thank you so much for saying so. You’re far far too kind.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    I have nothing smart to say, or even funny. But I send you much love and a shared disgust at those FB chain-statuses. If people must be so inane, can’t they be bothered to at least use their own words?

    • May

      I went for passive-aggressive emotional blackmail on FB this year, and ended up instigating a massive group hug. Which was nice. On the other hand, someone I actually thought I liked, decided to post a status about how becoming a mother makes a ‘girl into a real woman’ and ‘teaches love, empathy, and strength’. Ummm. No. Even dysenteric amoebae can reproduce, and I don’t see any of them coming over all Mahatma Gandhi thereafter. I wasted minutes on end debating whether to post something snarktastic about Mother Theresa and in the end bottled it and pressed ‘hide all posts’.

      • bionicbrooklynite

        WTF. Hide all posts is the better part of valor, I guess.

        I had no idea I was only an ersatz woman all that time; it was made firmly clear by the upperclasswomen and my professors at college that I was done referring to myself as girl at age 17. If anything, this mothering gig has me wondering what’s become of the love, empathy, and strength I used to think I had. I’ve located unknown stores of bad temper, though.

        Unrelated: Ersatz Woman should have her own comic book.

  • And now for something completely different « Nuts in May

    […] now. I feel rather better having got all that off my chest. I should rant more often, really I should. You wouldn’t believe how much more […]

  • Twangy

    Oh May. You’re right. There’s a particular kind of sadness and frustration which happens when you DO actually do everything right, and you do follow instructions like you were told and the other party repeatedly doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, and fails you, and for what it’s worth, I do see that.
    Wishing you peace and calm.

    (“Bare with me” – NO, really? Heh! At least it makes a pervy kind of sense. Unlike “Without further adieu” (heard oft times of late) which is just surreal.)

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Ah, May. You are so, so entitled to that anger. (Not at H about the technogeekeryupdates, I hasten to add – although nothing gets me angrier quicker than hard-and-software (except possibly being interrupted just as I’m about to eat. Don’t get between Ann & her food is the household motto) and iTunes in particular is a total bee-yatch and the Row Potential thereof: enormous.) Bitter McTwisted has Several Excellent Points to make, alas.

    Sucky, sucky day. Sorry, sweetheart.

  • thalia

    Lovely May, I just found this. I totally remember the awfulness of mothers day in the midst of infertility,and the anger about your treatment is entirely justified.

    Given that anger, what can we cook up to bash the heads of your various specialists against so that you can get on and have that baby? Enough of the misdiagnoses and the not listening. It’s time for the big guns.

  • manapan

    Late hugs are of little consolation, but I offer them anyway.

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