On it not being Mothers’ Day

Five years ago, pretty exactly, we were here. And it was such a beautiful place to be.

Whereas we spent this afternoon going through all the paperwork from all our medical tests and procedures, making sure we had a full set of all the relevant results for H to sneak into work and photocopy tomorrow, for the benefit of the Riverside Clinic. And this is not a beautiful place to be. Not at all. Five years, and all we have to show for it is an inch-thick stack of doctors’ letters.

I have friends who can talk of nothing else but whether or not their four-year-olds did or did not get into their primary school of choice, and how silly and expensive the uniforms are. And I am not able to join in. And I should, I really really should, be joining in.

And then, of course, there’s the Trial-By-Drive-By-Mother’s-Day. It is not Mother’s Day in the UK. We did that in March. I’m not sure I need all my favourite social media to be plastered with variations of ‘honk if you love motherhood!’. Nevertheless, I am clearly wrong and making a private gesture of affection to, well, your own mother, is inadequate and the only way to prove you love her and love being a mother (hurrah for you) is to post passive-aggressive self-aggrandising horse-wallops about it on all the internets. Because if you just send the poor woman flowers, who’s gonna know. And if you accidentally grind broken glass into the hearts of everyone who has lost their mother, or never had a mother, or was abused by their mother, or who can’t be a mother, so what, eh? Serves them right for not being normative.

(No, really, there are people on the internet who think that if you’re not a mother, you’re not even a woman, and nothing you are doing could possibly be as worth-while as raising children, and you know nothing about love and self-sacrifice, you selfish selfish party-hopping waster. I think they might have a hard time selling that one to Mother Theresa or Susan B. Anthony or Emily Dickinson or Queen Elizabeth I or Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell or Amelia Earhart or… you get my point, I hope. *Flail-hands*)

Anyway. This post is brought to you by Bitter McTwisted The Angry Infertile and Not Enough Tequila.

So, H and I sorted through the letters, and I had a panic attack (whyever not?) and H had a moment of ‘not listening! Am made of teflon!’ which neatly derailed the panic attack because I had to stop and shout at him, and then we had a prolonged and weepy conversation about how fucked up my family was for a change, and then my mother rang to offer me moral support and millions of pounds to do this possible IVF also three nights in a health spa if I liked or possibly craniosacral therapy because that is the new acupuncture, and I felt like an idiot. And then we went through the letters properly and with tears in our eyes because, actually, this recurrent miscarriage business is really, really, really fucking horrible.

And, possibly in self-defence, I find I keep losing track of how many miscarriages I’ve actually had, and when. Things I was so sure I’d never do. Surely each and every one was burnt into my brain forever. Surely. And now I must go back through my blog and my diary and my inch-thick stack of letters, and count them all.


21 responses to “On it not being Mothers’ Day

  • L.

    How could this not be a hard day for you both? Not that knowing it is going to be makes it any easier. I am sorry it has been, and continues to be, so horrible, and that today’s twisted the knife so.

    I did see a very nice “condolences as well as celebration” post on Facebook that acknowledges the pain that can go with motherhood. I let the writer know it was appreciated, and made a stab at my own, in hopes of making it a more common theme for others.

    And, although it might have come at an awkward time emotionally speaking, I’m really glad your mom did right by you today. From the small teeny bits of her we see here, I get the impression she’s slowly coming to a better understanding of your emotions and needs, which would be nice.

    Hope you have lots of wine and a good mindless TV show to watch after today. Hope even more tomorrow goes well.

  • waterbelle44

    Abiding with you as you continue down this long road. It’s not fair and it is horrible. Wishing more than anything that the ending you want is coming soon.

  • starrhillgirl

    Clearly, neither of us are really women. Funny how I’ve been wrong about that for so long.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    It is. Really, really, really horrible. It’s not fair, and it’s no surprise at all if your very clever brain wants to protect itself somehow.

    I hope I was not among those making you feel bad on social media. I have mixed feelings about It All, but your comments are not the place for that novel. Anyway, much, much love.

  • Amy P


    It really confuses people that I don’t particularly *like* Mother’s Day, since I’m a mom (or it would if I said anything–really don’t think the girls would understand…) I’ve not had anyone to call today since 2000. Father’s Day is actually easier, because I can get Tom something. It’s not like I’m horribly depressed on Mother’s Day anymore, but I’d rather ignore it.

  • manapan

    Hugs for you both.

  • a

    Ah – counting them all. Not a good way to spend any day. Sorry you have to do that… 😦

    But I’m glad your mom is being supportive (and I hope it continues to be in the most useful way possible)

  • Jo.

    Absolutely. I wrote about it, too, and got blasted for it. But Mother’s Day truly is salt in millions of wounds, and it is time we stopped allowing mothers to insist that we are not real women until we become mothers.

    Thinking of you today.


  • Womb For Improvement

    I genuinely think anyone who has difficulty conceiving should write a blog or diary (well done for both!). I have found it massively useful when checking dates, medications, the order of things.

    But, the horrid side effect is that ‘five years ago … we were here’ post. Bringing back all the hope, optimism, what should have been.

    Take care, and good luck with the Riverside Clinic.

  • Phil

    Or even *hug*

  • Bachelor's Button

    Oh goodness. It stings. We had our little boy (after just over five years of miscarriages) using ivf with intralipids. I lost count of my miscarriages too and had to listen to all that baby talk for all of those years. Even now I find that I don’t relate on the same level with those to whom motherhood came easily. Stay strong. Hx

    • Bachelor's Button

      Oh and I lost two prem babies, who I visit – well their graves, on mothers day, so it is always a bitter sweet occasion and will remain so despite the arrival of little w. but I figure that we are super women to go through what we do! Not real women? Bah! They don’t know just how much womanhood defines us! X

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Oh, lovey. I’m so sorry. The paperwork becomes sedimentary layers of shit, viewed from the side. Enormously illustrative.

    I’ve …lost count. John was enormously relieved to discover that this happened, because he could stop feeling guilty about the fact that he’d actually lost count some time ago.

    I can send you chocolate-covered lichen? Or is it lichen-covered chocolate?

  • wombattwo

    We don’t do Mother’s Day. If my daughter chooses to buy me flowers, I will be delighted, but I’d rather she does it because she wants to, rather than out of a sense of obligation on a ridiculous “holiday”. I still don’t like it, and it’s weird because somehow I’m expected to like it now, but I can’t and don’t forget the years of horribleness and those who are still there. Big hugs from here.

    I still can’t look at our letters by the way. They’re hidden away, not to see the light of day till I feel braver. When will that be? I don’t know. And it’s weird because we had planned to Not Think about fertility/infertility/treatment for at least a few years, and get back to living our lives, but the spectre of those years, and the seemingly irreversible damage it has done to us hangs over our marriage. Depressing.

    Staring down the barrel of IVF after many miscarriages is a truly horrible place to be, and I send you all my love, and prayers, and hopes that it will go well for you. And if you need whisky, we seem to have a cupboard of it that expands weekly. And I don’t drink the stuff. That goes for you too, by the way HFF.

  • Shannon

    Facebook is to be avoided on Mother’s Day. And Father’s Day. And Valentine’s Day. It seemed particularly rife with people mooning over their mums, extolling their motherly virtues and changing their icons to photos with their mums, photos which have not weather the Polaroid test of time well. You can be a mum and still feel like an ass on there, particularly if no, thanks, you’d rather not join a meme screaming that you have the Best Mum In the World, Mum, Ever, I LOVE YOU!!! because, well, you don’t. I hate Facebook on those days, as much as I hate it on National Infertility and Loss Day (we all remember, in our hearts, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We don’t need an icon with a candle on it to remember the losses, the IVF, the tears, thanks), September 11th, yet another American shooting, or (god forbid) an election or any of that. Seriously, Facebook should be for random shite and George Takei. And yes, you should be part of the team talking about 4 year olds and uniforms and I am one of many who would give you an organ, just in karmic exchange to make it happen for you.

  • HAT

    well this year Mothers Day was also Fibromaylgia awareness day. and I have a friend who eats all the room on my facebook news feed with her posts about the disease. which i also have, along with other crap.
    i was glad i just hid any posts about motherhood that others posted. Hidding posts is my favorite thing.

  • Sheila

    I don’t have half the history you have but to go through all my letters would have me in floods of tears for days. I can’t begin to imagine how tough it must be to have to got through them all again. Big hugs and lots of tequila.

  • Sol Solntze

    This won’t help at all, but it is vary rarely that I post an amused little anecdote about my kids without taking a second to feel like kicking the universe on your behalf. Because I want yours to be there too.

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