Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. It’s funny…there’s only been a couple of Mother’s Days that weren’t awkward for me since Joey and I got married. I feel like we got a pass for the first couple of years since we were just married (and one of those we spent in Texas, so we didn’t have the added baggage of everyone we knew asking us when we were going to start a family). By the time we moved back, though, the expectation was already there (from church folks, not our parents), that we’d be starting a family.
I had a colossal chip on my shoulder about it for most of those years; we didn’t know if we even wanted kids, and here I was having to field questions every Mother’s Day…or gently correct folks who wished me a Happy Mother’s Day because they just assumed that all women of childbearing age are mothers. I fiercely defended my “motherhood” of my kitty, Shelli (and still do to some degree since she struggles so badly with anxiety, which requires a lot of care). I’d answer women who asked me when we were going to have kids with, “I don’t know if we even want them!” (mentally adding, “so THERE!” afterward), watching their utter confusion at a Christian woman who may not want to “be fruitful and multiply.”
Two years ago was the first time in a long time that Mother’s Day wasn’t awkward for me; we’d just started trying, and while I wasn’t a mom yet, I felt like it was going to happen any time. I remember sitting in the choir, not being able to stand up with the women who were already moms, but thinking to myself that surely I would be able to next year.
And then came a year of unsuccessful trying and a failed round of fertility meds. Last year was just too raw. I skipped church and we had a lazy day around the house. I didn’t want to deal with the sadness and embarrassment. Sure, this was my thirteenth childless Mother’s Day, but this was only the second one where I really wanted to be a mother, and the first one where I had to deal with the fact that my body was failing me. We celebrated our own mothers, but stayed away from other folks who might ask me uncomfortable questions otherwise.
We skipped church again this year. I don’t blame them for the big deal that they make on Mother’s Day. Moms should be celebrated and fussed over; motherhood is a noble calling, and women who must make sacrifices every day for their children’s sake deserve a day where they are publicly honored. But it’s awkward for me at church, especially now that our journey is public. I don’t want the pity from people who know. I don’t want to have to sit down while just about every other woman my age stands. So I didn’t. We celebrated our mothers on Friday and Saturday, and on Mother’s Day, we headed out to Brevard, NC, for a six mile hike in the mountains.
And it was glorious. We did the Pink Beds Loop Trail; although it’s listed as “moderate,” I’d definitely call it an easy hike, save for the sheer distance of it. I mis-read the commentary on HikeWNC’s website, so we didn’t make it all the way out the Barrett Branch Trail to the waterfall, but we will definitely add that in the next time we go.
I’ll post a separate review of the hike in the event that anyone wants to see the pics and read about that without wading through my infertility ramblings:)