How We See Mother's Day, and How I Approached It

For most of my life, Mother's Day has been a nice day. My mom is amazing, as is my Mother In Law, and I've enjoyed celebrating them and looked forward to eventually being a mom myself. But 3 years ago it became less enjoyable:

4 years ago we had just started trying to have a child, and I was looking forward to the next year hopefully being either my first Mother's Day, or at least being pregnant.

3 years ago we had been trying for a year, and had just learned that we suffered from Infertility. I was optimistic that Assisted Reproductive Technology could help us conceive a child, but was disappointed that we had hit these bumps in the road.

2 years ago we had suffered a miscarriage at 9 weeks of pregnancy, and were upset on Mother's Day.

Last year we were optimistic because we had 2 embryos to attempt to get pregnant with, but also tired and sad: what we had hoped would be an easy process had turned into a long journey with far more downs than ups.

And this year, we're grieving the loss of Grace, who passed at nearly 6 months of pregnancy after we terminated for medical reason after learning she had a fatal disease, and the fact that we didn't get pregnant with our last embryo. We have no idea what we're going to do next.

A friend shared the following picture with me, which reminded me that I'm not the only one that has mixed feelings about Mother's Day, and finds it to be as sad as it is happy.

I really liked this, as it acknowledged that mothers and motherhood are complex, and it acknowledged those that don't find the day or experience to be as easy, carefree or joyous as society often likes to paint it. Any time we shine a light on what is 'real' vs just the surface, I like that. This isn't of course to say that there aren't many that love Mother's Day, and that mothers don't deserve to be celebrated; I enjoyed celebrating my mom and mother-in-law very much. But it acknowledges that not ever experience with mothers and/or motherhood is happy.

As for me, I celebrated by getting my first tattoo. I never really intended to get one, but this felt right, and it felt good to get it on Mother's Day for a few reasons:

1) It was a good day for me to honor that I AM Grace's mother, even though she isn't alive, and that I 100% made the decision I did for her out of love and a desire to see her experience as little pain and suffering as possible.

2) To note that while Grace didn't get to live outside of me, she absolutely mattered and leaves an imprint and impact far longer than her brief experience was.

3) To honor my own mother. She had talked frequently about wanting to teach Grace cursive when she was old enough, and this is in my mom's (amazing) handwriting

4) To always have Grace in my arm(s). She is now there, as permanently as I can arrange it.

5) To more broadly remind me to try to act as gracefully as I can. To be kind, forgiving and accepting of my own imperfections. To basically treat myself as I would have treated Grace. I think we all struggle with that.

I hope that everyone's Mother's Day was as happy and peaceful as possible, and for those that had harder ones, for any reason at all, I held you in my heart and continue to do so.