This weekend, The Band, we're hosting a carnival of posts about Mother's Day. Before you run away gagging, hear me out: these are the kinds of Mother's Day posts I wish I'd read years ago. Knowing that I was not alone in my struggles was a pivotal point in my life.

Today, we celebrate the tables forever missing one. Today we celebrate the mothers we've lost and the mothers we've found. We're celebrating the mothers we wish we'd had while acknowledging the mothers we did have.

This year, The Band, I'm proud to celebrate a carnival of Mother's Day posts from perspectives that aren't always storybook. Perspectives like mine. Perspectives like Jana's. Perspectives like yours.

Today, no matter where you are in your life, whether you're missing your own mom, happily celebrating with family, stuck at a table forever missing one, wishing desperately that you were a mother, or wishing desperately that you had a mother, know these two things: you are loved and we are none of us alone.

-AB

Mother's Day is supposed to be about love from your family, maybe a brunch, poorly-made children's school crafts, all in the name of showing Mom how much you love her.

Despite the day's lovely intentions, there are women who spend the day feeling pain instead of joy.

They are the mothers who never were - moms who gave up their children for adoption, moms who lost a baby in or out of the womb, women who are infertile. They have a tangible reason for hurting on Mother's Day.

They are the mothers who are.

Mothers who have the child(ren) they dreamed of. Mothers whose mothering experience hasn't gone as hoped or expected. Mothers with postpartum mood disorders, mothers with critically ill or special needs children, mothers who no longer have relationships with their children.

Their reasons for hurting are less tangible, but just as powerful.

They are the mothers who can't.

Mothers too ill to take care of their children, mothers who are addicts, mothers who lack the mental capacity to provide for their children, mothers who have discovered that they just aren't cut out for motherhood.

I fall into the third category.

I am a mother who can't. I'm a mom who longed for children; wanted them more than anything else. I'm a mom of two wonderful, beautiful children. I am a mom who despises her role as mother.

I hate daily mothering tasks and resent small people constantly hanging on me and talking to me and demanding from me. I get no joy out of playing with my kids or watching them grow. They climb into my lap to snuggle, and I feel nothing. I feel used up and taken advantage all of the time.

I do what I can to keep my dislike of motherhood from affecting my kids. I still play with them, care for them, read to them, do messy craft projects with them, sing with them, snuggle with them, kiss their boo-boos, and tell them I love them. They don't deserve to grow up thinking or knowing that their mommy hates what she does.

But it hurts. Knowing how I feel about my children and my role in their lives hurts all the time. Mother's Day is just another reminder of my glaring inadequacies and my maternal shortcomings. It's a day of pain and sadness that I mask with forced joy over a toddler-made card and a hanging plant.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who are with The Band, especially those who are, never were, or can't. I'm one of you, and you each have a special place in my heart.

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