Mother’s Day: Disenfranchised Grief
All of this week, I have been going through the motions at home, at work, and everywhere else that requires my participation. My heart hurts. My head hurts. I feel like an imposter feeling a sense of sadness and bereavement about people I do not know too well. These are deaths in the extended circle of family and friends. When I post on social media and people say “I am sorry for your loss,” I feel like a fraud. I want to say “It is not my loss, not in that way…” but I stop short because I have no clue what else to say.
Amid the torrent of sadness and loss, advertisements for Mother’s Day break up the monotony. The bright lab-grown white and emerald set from Helzberg Diamonds annoys me. Yet, I linger. I wonder who is celebrating. I wonder who is buying. It hits me with a force that amid all the loss, there are moms (friends included) who are celebrating being a mother for the first time. I really want their day to be special.
It also hits me with an equal force that amidst the pandemic there are lots of people in my circle who are struggling to create a family. When the pandemic hit, lots of things came to a screeching halt that is now easing into motion. I hark back to the early 2000s when my life revolved around the calendar. I would mark off days when I was fertile. I would mark days I needed to take medication, give myself shots to prod my ovaries into producing more and more.
With each cycle that failed, I would mourn the loss of that which was not. I also would mourn the fact that I would have to wait a month, sometimes two for my body to reset. The anxiety, the impatience, the sense of lost time all hit me with force again today.
I am thinking of all the women who have lost babies, born and unborn, the ones who have traded their notions of becoming a mother for a child-free life reluctantly. I am thinking of the mothers who have placed their children in other women’s arms to be raised away from them. I am thinking of the mothers whose children were taken from them by forces beyond their control. I am thinking of all those who have lost their mothers over time and especially over this last year.
I see you. I see your grief. I acknowledge your pain.
I am thinking of all my friends, people I know in passing who are dealing with this sort of grief in the run-up to Mother’s Day, wondering, waiting, hoping that it will be soon the one year when they will get to be called mother.
I am holding you close. I am mourning with you. I see your grief. I acknowledge that pain.
In the middle of a pandemic when nothing seems like it will ever go back to what it was, this grief too gets buried under the immediacy of everything else.
I am holding you close. In my heart. In my mind.
Mother's Day Motherhood Becoming a mother Grief Mother's Day Motherhood Phantom Grief Suspended grief
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