My first two Mother’s Days sucked… They sucked hard and I know I’m not the only one to share this sentiment.
Their stories might be different but I know many woman don’t have the breakfast in bed, loved up, Mother’s Day advertising would have us believe we deserve.
My first Mother’s Day saw me waking up ridiculously early, perhaps I never even slept.
I tiptoed to the bathroom to avoid waking my sleeping husband and just broke down on the floor, next to a discarded towel and the toothpaste lid no one could find.
I have a ridiculously good memory when it comes to things like that…give me a number or a name and I will forget it while you’re relaying it to me. Give me an emotionally charged moment or a story and I go Rain Man on you.
Like that night, a night, two months before I found myself lying on the bathroom floor like an emotional bath mat.
That night is engraved into my being; the day my son would be born prematurely and then as cruel coincidence would have it, would die prematurely the next day.
That day I remember with unnecessary accuracy. I remember the printer blinking behind the woman who was admitting me to hospital – she needed to change the toner I believe – I remember the dreadlocked man who left the building as I entered. I recollect the concern of the doctors and nurses, the hushed tones and the reluctance of everyone, but my husband, to make eye contact with me.
I nearly lost my own life during that ordeal, they prepared my family for the worst…but while my parents got their child – broken, battered but resuscitated – back from the ICU. I never did.
I left the hospital a week later, this sad incomplete person… my Godmother and husband came to pick me up while my parents waited for me at home.
I can’t recall where my car was at this point, my car – like my house – mocked me with its baby readiness; the stupid sun shades and car seat, the dumb*ss baby on board sign.
The baby room was similarly mocking; little outfits, little accessories all little jabs into my heart.
Here two months later as I tried to pull myself towards myself I felt like that room, like that car; ready and waiting for a baby that just never came.
My breasts held milk that no one would drink, my stomach destroyed by an emergency vertical c – section now sported the stretch marks of a mother but alas no baby.
I felt like I entered a cycle race but was robbed of my bike mid way through, forced to walk that last stretch carrying a mixture of shame and pain.
Now here I was on my first Mother’s Day, no one to take silly selfies with or to playfully curse for sleepless nights…a mother without a child makes no sense to me. My life, made no sense to me.
I spent the day trying to be happy for my mom, trying to hide my tear stained face and waiting for the appropriate moment to climb under the blankets and sob.
The following year my Mother’s Day sucked again. A different “suckage”, but “suckage” none the less.
This time around the crib had been filled. The baby on board sign wasn’t some cruel prank; I had a living breathing son, Aidan. The problem was that someone else was no longer living or breathing.
My Godmother was diagnosed with cancer in the months leading up to my Aidan’s birth. I remember her being given six months to live on the day I was told I had six more months before I would get to hold my son – how’s that for cruel.
She tried to hold on to meet him, but by the week I was due she could no longer see and her body was deteriorating fast.
She was buried the day after Aidan was born by emergency c – section. I couldn’t be at her funeral because my son and I were fighting our way back to health in hospital. My uterus was damaged after the previous year’s ordeal and he was born with water on his lungs that needs to be drained.
He spent his first week of life fighting for his little life just one bed away from where his brother lost his life.
So when my second Mother’s Day rolled around, my second mother was no longer there. I went through the motions, but a deep cloud of sadness hung over me making everything feel stupid and superficial – and not in an entertaining way like on the Kardashians.
My last two Mother’s Days were so much better. Apart from adorable cards and warm hugs from my son and thoughtful gifts from my husband, I spent the days honoring amazing mothers in my life. Not just my own who is truly amazing by the way.
I took the focus off me and decided to do something nice for someone else. From helping grandchildren make usable gifts for their grandmothers to sharing parenting books with moms I knew would appreciate it. I took Mother’s Day back.
This year I’m planning on putting together a little treat box for the NICU nurses, the women who mothered my kids when I was confined to bed. Some tea/coffee and rusks for those late nights maybe, I’m still deciding.
If you would like to do something similar, you can join in an amazing charity organisation called Cape Town EMBRACE.
They are asking moms in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban to give one hour of their own Mother’s Day to do something as simple sit with a new mom and make her feel less alone and let her know that she is not alone in this overwhelming moment.
Because even when my days were darkest I always had someone – not everyone is that lucky though.
Imagine women gathering at public birthing facilities with the sole purpose of reclaiming Mother’s Day as a day for ALL mothers, starting with our country’s newest moms.
This could be super awesome…and for those of us not in the three main cities they have eb kits available to help us set up our own little meeting.
Please join the facebook page guys, everyone deserves a Mother’s Day that does not suck
*Embrace sponsors #MothersDayConnect