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.