I have a problem with Mother's Day.
And it has nothing (well, not NOTHING, but not everything) to do with infertility.
This year, I noticed more customer service people wishing women a Happy Mother's Day. This is sweet and all, for those women who are actually mothers. But let's think about this for a moment. Over the years, we have improved our sensitivity when it comes to sending people blanket holiday wishes. The prime example of this, of course, is Christmas. One day, we all woke up and realized that, hey . . . there are many people who don't celebrate Christmas. You wouldn't wish your Jewish friend a Merry Christmas, would you?
No, you wouldn't. So why would you wish a woman a Happy Mother's Day when you have absolutely no idea whether she is a mother? It's presumptuous. It's obnoxious. And frankly, it's downright rude. It's not displaying sensitivity at all.
This isn't just about being infertile. Of course, I notice it because of my infertility. It's about the fact that Mother's Day can be a difficult day for many people. Think about the people who have lost their mothers - recently or not so recently. This holiday is a reminder for those people that they can't pick up the phone and call their mom to wish them a happy day. They can't pick up their mom and take her out to lunch, or send her flowers and gifts of appreciation
Think about the women who have lost children, whether it's a loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, health issue, or some other tragic event. Imagine being wished a Happy Mother's Day when your child has just lost a battle with cancer. Or when your baby's heart has just stopped beating. Maybe these women want holiday wishes; maybe they don't. No one knows, but keep in mind that it may not be easy for them to have a reminder of what they've lost.
Think about the mothers who've placed their babies for adoption. Think about what it might be like for these women to hear those words. Like the women who've lost children, we don't know whether wishing them a Happy Mother's Day is something that's helpful or hurtful. But you wouldn't say it without knowing for sure, would you? You wouldn't just assume.
And yes, think about the women who are infertile. The women who don't, and may never, have a reason to celebrate some random Sunday in May. As if we need another reminder that we're incapable of being mothers. As if we need some other reason to feel alienated as women. Wishing us a Happy Mother's Day does nothing but remind us of the empty spot in our heart that may never be filled.
My problem with Mother's Day is that we simply assume all women celebrate it. Because we assume everyone is a mother to a living child or everyone has a living mother. Because we, as a society, are so mom-centric that we can't look past these points to realize that maybe this holiday isn't a holiday for some.
Instead, it's a nightmare.