The history of the holiday is quite interesting. It was founded in the very early 1900’s by Anna Maria Jarvis. It took a few years to get the idea off the ground but it quickly was a success and widely accepted prior to getting out of hand (i.e. a shit ton of commercialization). Eventually, Jarvis wanted the holiday banished due to the over commercialization as well as have it removed from the calendars as a national holiday, which she was unsuccessful.
Please note this is my interpretation of what I read from the History Channel website on this topic.
Meanwhile, today in the United States, most people gift their mothers with flowers, cards, trinkets and other meaningful gifts like fabric when there is a pandemic that is causing a shortage.
Now is the point where I share my take on the holiday, and you may want to take a seat. Should you have any preexisting conditions like neck or back problems, I would say that you should not read further as this may be too aggressive and cause harm.
As I sip my diet coke (a few and far in between delicacy that I rarely treat myself to), and would like to share that I agree with honoring the people that birthed us. Totally get it, stamped and sealed with approval. But, much like Jarvis, I feel like it is a very overly commercialized holiday. I think that others could have a feeling of obligation to purchase gifts for the woman in our lives, other than purchases made due to the genuine desire to do so. Personally, I would more appreciate a “gift” that is fully heart felt, than one that a person feels that they “have” to buy.
To be frank, I am not the biggest fan of this holiday, nor am I a big fan of any holiday in general. I personally struggle with Mother’s Day for everything that it is, which I feel is the day to lavish love, attention and gifts on people who have had babies.
What about the people who are infertile? The ones going through numerous IVF treatments? Couples that lost a child due to a complicated birth? The ones who keep trying, one miscarriage and then another? Being a person who suffered from infertility, this holiday is inexplicably hard.
Dealing with infertility myself, each month when there was not a pregnancy, some thoughts that crossed my mind included: What did I do wrong? Am I being punished for something? Does God not think that I would be a good parent?
Warm tears ball up in my eyes and when released they run down my face as I remember the day that I found out about the truth in my inability to conceive, diagnosed as infertility, defined as “not getting pregnant despite having carefully timed, unprotected sex for one year.”
I was a married 23 year old, who had just had my first endometriosis surgery and the news was a surprise. Dreams of being a mom were squashed. Devastation does not begin to describe the feeling. Following the surgery I was informed I had in fact severe endometriosis that was attacking additional organs outside my uterus and ovaries. Every few years I have had a surgery, leading to a total of more than a handful when counting. Between surgeries I diagnosed with early onset uterine cancer and then a few years later total hysterectomy.
With each portion, it hurt, it ached, it ripped out my heart tossed it on the ground and stomped on it with stiletto heels. In addition, rejection for having a barren womb, only made the feelings exponentially worse.
It’s hard to celebrate a holiday for a role that you were never able to be. You see the cards and want to rip them. The flowers behead them, the balloons, pop them. It makes me feel like a grinch, one who hurts horribly during a time of the year that is supposed to be a day filled with love and appreciation.
In a strange turn of events called Life, I was blessed with two step-children. To them I am Michelle. I have been in their lives for 11 years now. They have helped to mend my heart. Because of the children I understand the reasoning behind the holiday, the flowers, the gifts and trinkets. Just to be with them, see the smiles on their faces, that’s the gift to me.
The children are old enough to know the part of my story regarding infertility. They were in my life when I was having surgeries. At one point, while recovering from a surgery, she looked up at me and asked, “why do you need to be cut”. Insert flowing tears and a heart being twisted and torn.
Now, due to their ages, they are understanding of how I have mixed feelings about this upcoming holiday. They are even more kind and loving because they know that my heart still hurts, although they mean more to me than nearly anything in the world.
Again this year, much like many others I will not been able to spend the day with my mother. Living on separate coasts causes that to happen. Throw in a pandemic and there’s no chance in hell I will see my mama in person. This saddens my already hurting heart. But I can not imagine what it would be like to not have her voice on the other end of the phone.
Love. Love hard. Whether it is a national holiday or not. Love and be kind. You have no clue what someone is going through that very millisecond you pass through their atmosphere.