It’s been a couple years since I wrote my “Other’s Day” post. Since that day, I’ve heard from so many people about their own challenges with fertility and confusing relationships with traditional motherhood.
Uncertainty around becoming a mother and/or the inability to make it a reality is a lonely feeling. Even though more women are opening up about their decision not to have kids, the pressure (perceived or otherwise) is still very real.
While I’m solid in my choice to not be a mom, it doesn’t mean I don’t think about and second-guess it.
A couple days ago, I was with a group of young women and one had recently made her pregnancy “Facebook-official.” Everyone who saw her was like, “Congrats, girl! So happy for you! You’re going to be such a cute pregnant lady!”
Though I’m nearly five years past my pregnancy losses and infertility circus, there are unexpected moments that still pop up and sting. This was one of them. It caught me off-guard. I’ve been around dozens of pregnant ladies in the past five years, but something about this experience triggered me. Being with this bubbly gaggle of girls made me mourn the hopeful early days of pregnancy.
Even though I’m settled in my decision not to be a mom to a human, I still feel sad sometimes. I’m sad I never got to meet my babies. I’m sad to not understand the depths of motherhood. I’m sad to not experience parenting alongside someone I love.
Just because you are clear on what you want doesn’t mean you can’t also feel sad about it. You can feel both things at the same time. Lots of things in life are this way. It’s kind of a nightmare.
Here’s the other thing…grief is sneaky.
That’s one of grief’s primary jobs. Grief is like Sugar Bear from the Golden Crisp cereal commercials in the 80s. Remember him? He was all chill and smarmy and seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Just like Sugar Bear, grief casually lurks around the corner, then shows up unexpectedly and encourages you to eat big bowls of sugary cereal.
I suppose this is what happened the other day. Memories of anger, disappointment and sadness are buried inside all of us, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve felt them. Sometimes they simply show up and SugarBear you. I find it’s often an invitation sit down and ask yourself some questions.
Why Other’s Day?
When I first declared Other’s Day, it was to soften the grief and confusion that comes with Mother’s Day. I hated hearing strong, impressive women reflect on how their lives somehow weren’t full enough, or their potential wasn’t met because they weren’t mothers. Especially when I saw the brilliant things they were doing and the amount of time, love and wisdom they selflessly poured into everyone around them. As celebratory as Mother’s Day is, it’s rife with opportunities to compare yourself to other women.
I also have friends who are unsure they want to be mothers and worry they’ll disappoint people if they aren’t. On top of this, the decision feels like a race against the clock. This feeling sucks and there is no easy answer, but my advice is to build your life based on what YOU want, not what you think you’re supposed to do or what you believe other people want for you.
Even if you are solid in your decision, there will be moments that jostle your resolve.
I share vulnerable things about myself to help ease the loneliness you might be feeling. I write what I write to remind you you’re ok exactly where you are. And honestly, I also write it to remind myself.
Which is why I’m writing today.
In case you need the reminder: It’s ok to want motherhood, but to admit there are other things you want more. You are not a disappointment. You are not selfish. You don’t need to judge yourself or feel guilty. Wherever you are is ok.
Today I celebrate the incredible mothers in my sphere – I don’t know how y’all do it. And if your path to motherhood is twistier than you imagined, I’m rooting for you. And if you’re missing your mom today, I hope you find special ways to keep her close in your heart.
I’m especially giving a big shout to my fellow “others.” Keep bringing your jewels forward, shining your light and sharing your love – you have no idea what lasting impact you’re having on the lucky ones in your path.