“How was your Mama’s Day?”

A grandparent asked me this at a home visit yesterday.  I quickly mulled over possible responses (Well, my mom’s dead, and despite thousands of dollars and the most invasive reproductive technology available, I can’t have a baby…so, yeah, it was awesome) before responding with a lame, “It was fine,” and quickly changing the subject to how her Mother’s Day was.

I don’t remember if this woman had ever asked me directly whether or not I have children.  Maybe she just assumes a woman of  a certain age, wearing a ring on her left hand, does.  Especially one who chose the profession I chose.  And, of course, she couldn’t know about my own mother.  She was just trying to be polite–probably–but it was one of those moments that stung.  The assumptions.  The invasiveness of a question that seems, on the surface, so innocent.  Not having the “right” answer.  I wonder if she noticed my moment of hesitation.  I wonder if it occurs to her that other women might not enjoy a day when mothers are placed on a pedestal.

At a home visit today, I noticed a bouquet of flowers on the table and intentionally bit my tongue.  Without my asking, this mom went on and on about her Mother’s Day: the flowers, the card, getting her nails done, the dinner, the cake.  Granted, this is a mom who has a cognitive impairment and tends to repeat herself.  But it was a bit much.

I had thought, by Sunday evening, that I had escaped unscathed.  That I had survived with relative peace a day that, in the past, has been anything but peaceful for me.

But Mother’s Day didn’t end on Sunday, apparently.

You know what?  Not gonna let it get me down.  At the suggestion of the lovely ladyblogalot, I’m gonna cheer myself up with song.  I read a few lines in Buddha’s Brain that I just loved:

As the sense of groundlessness grows, each apparently individual thing seems a bit like a cloud that you’ll fall through if you try to stand on it. At first this is pretty unnerving. But then you realize that the sky itself–the totality–is holding you up. You are walking on the sky because you’re sky. It has always been that way. You and every one else have been sky all along (p. 221).

With that in mind, please to enjoy 80s pop in all its glory.

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12 thoughts on ““How was your Mama’s Day?”

  1. 😦 I’m sorry about those comments. It is amazing that people forget how painful days like that can be for a lot people besides those who are infertile. I’m glad it’s past though! That song just puts you in a mood no matter what 🙂

  2. Infertility is one of those things that just doesn’t seem to cross anyone’s brain as something they should be sensitive about. Then again, anyone who has lost their mom at a young age would also have some issues with these questions. Triple crappy that you fall into both categories. Glad you’re trying not to let it get to you.

  3. Mother’s Day sucks – it’s so hard. I still have a hard time with it now that I am a mother because it reminds me of all the horrible, sad mother’s days before my son was born. I just can’t shake it, and I don’t think I ever will.

    I can say this now, and mean it. It is just a day. It is just a stupid Hallmark Holiday to generate sales. But man alive, it’s a Hallmark Holiday that makes a lot of people feel shitty.

    I’m sorry that those surface-level comments were so hurtful. People have no idea what wounds they could be opening with inquisitive questions like those. And – I honestly think that people ask those stupid questions a lot of the times so that you will respond with, “how was yours?” People like to talk about themselves, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why the question was asked in the first place. But – I could be a little jaded 😉

  4. At least you found a nice song and a nice passage for that day. And, reading that passage and hearing that song made me feel cheerful. So, hugs for a crappy day and thanks for the uplifting energy.

  5. Uhg. I hate those kind of assupmtions, because it always feels to me like the wilful denial of any kind of reality different from your own. It isn’t only the infertile who struggle with those days…Anyway, I’m sorry you had to experience that, but it sounds like you carried yourself with grace (not that you should always have to!).
    80s pop never fails to raise my spirits 🙂

  6. It sounds like it was very challenging day but that you handled it with strength and grace. I’m still singing “Be still” in my head…another soothing thought.
    PS: What profession are you in? I only ask as I myself am in “transition…to something different”. You can email if you’d prefer to not post it (well_intentioned@yahoo.com)

  7. This year, I realized that Mother’s Day sucks for a LOT of people: infertiles, the childless by choice, women whose children have died, women who have miscarried, women who gave up a child for adoption, anyone raised without a mom or with a shitty mom…. The only people who enjoy it, I’ve concluded, are those with relatively perfect lives.

  8. Ditto! It’s a terrible day. Father’s Day isn’t as rough (IMHO), for some reason. Excellent reason to listen to Katrina and the Waves, though!

  9. I said “Happy Mother’s Day” to a visitor at the museum I work for on Sunday (she had both of her children with her, so no assumption on my part). She quickly responded with “Oh, and you too….” I have children now, but the Infertile Woman inside must have cringed because she countered with a weak “…if you have kids”. I hate infertility so much. How it still hurts forever.

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