As the team at TheWMarketplace gears up for our Mother’s Day promotions, sales, a virtual event and general celebration of all things “mom,” memories are tugging at me. Memories that remind me that Mother’s Day has not always been a good day for me, and I know it’s not a good day for a lot of other women, for a lot of reasons. Not everyone has a great, or even good, relationship with their mom. Not everyone has a mom in their life. Some of us have lost our moms too early. Some of us are caring for elderly moms who require a lot of love, patience, and stamina when all three sometimes are in short supply. There are a lot of reasons why Mother’s Day can be hard for us. But what is tugging at me is my memory of the four years I spent longing to become a mother.
From ages 34 to 38, I experienced what was referred to as “unexplained infertility,” following a painful and heart-wrenching early miscarriage. Those four years were filled with monthly hope followed by despair as my period, like clockwork, showed up and broke my heart. That’s around 48 heartbreaks, if anyone is counting. When I was 38, our son, Simon, was born, following in vitro fertilization. We were fortunate that we only had to go through one round of IVF, as it comes with its own special form of torment – so many needles, so many blood tests, so many ultrasounds, so much stress and worry and fear of “failure.” Thirteen months after Simon was born, to my surprise and delight, I was pregnant again, without any “intervention.” I had lost all faith in this ridiculous notion that you could get pregnant by having sex! Naomi, just less than two years younger than Simon, was icing on our cake and this particular life chapter was closed for me, to my profound relief and gratitude.
Fifteen years later, with two teenagers to raise, a startup to run, and a seemingly exponential number of pets, I am pretty busy. But I don’t forget my sisters who are experiencing the heartache of infertility. And I especially remember you around Mother’s Day. When your aunt tells you to “just relax and let it happen,” I grit my teeth along with you. When the seventeenth person tells you about her friend/cousin/neighbor who got pregnant THE MINUTE she filled out adoption papers, I take deep breaths along with you. When every person around you is pregnant, I close my eyes with you. When you are reading the fine print in your health insurance coverage to see if there is some way it could possibly include these “elective” procedures, I’m hoping against hope with you. When you are weighing all the different ways you can become a parent, or whether you can tolerate the emotional rollercoaster of continuing to “try” at all, I grieve and ponder and wonder with you.
I love what we are doing on TheWMarketplace to celebrate all the beautiful products and services that are such perfect gifts for Mother’s Day. So many of the women-owned businesses on the site are run by moms who are working, juggling, multi-tasking and creating as only moms can. I’m incredibly proud to promote and support these businesses and to celebrate the work that these women do. But I still see you. I still remember you, those of you who long for motherhood. Hit me up if you need a friendly ear. I won’t give you advice unless you specifically ask for it. I’ll just tell you what I wish I had heard, “I’m sorry. That sounds really hard.”