Mother’s Day – The sea of social media posts, every year brings daggers through someone else’s heart. Like the beautiful people and the rest of us.
Radiohead – Creep played last year on Mother’s Day in the car. It was a bitter sweet day hard to swallow. I wrote later that night to my Instagram followers; an adaption of the lyrics that pulled at my heart strings during the day. ‘Truth is I don’t belong here… I’m a weirdo’, And yes they are ‘so f*%king special’. Of course his skin makes me cry. We had only days before been able to bring our dear two week old Iggy Boo home, after a long and steady IVF battle. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I’ve been riddled with guilt ever since that first Mother’s Day. Once my first born, Dante arrived in our arms. Friends and acquaintances sent me well wishes and my oldest friend came to spend time with us on Mother’s Day as Hussy was away working managing a restaurant on one of the busiest days of the year. To now, being included in the celebration, what a whirlwind to swallow…
I felt like a fraud. Whilst I breastfeed my first born on that day, what’s more motherly? I didn’t feel like a Mother. I remember looking at his sweet little face and thinking, ‘You should feel like you’ve won the lottery.’ I had a dark secret that only our closet friends and family knew.
We didn’t know what Dante’s future would hold. He was six weeks old and diagnosed with significant heart defects only days after birth. Fear ran through our veins with every cough, gasp or hiccup. At the time, we were still seeing his original cardiologist who delivered the news abruptly. There had been a language barrier and this doctor had decided blunt is best so he laid on us, ‘A very, very big hole in his heart. He need surgery now and could go either way. Could be good. Could be bad.’ I still remember breaking down in the street out front of the clinic.
He didn’t exactly give us hope. I should have been delighted on my first Mother’s Day, I was nauseated by the fuss that happened around me. TV adds for everything from fragrances to foot scrubbers for mums. It felt like salt in someone else’s wounds. I remember clear as day posting a photo to the ocean of social media an image of my mum, my youngest brother & I with a caption ‘keeping up with the Jones’ I was bitter. I had doubt.
I was blessed with a grandmother, mum, two gorgeous rainbow babies… plus a gorgeous step son, a beautiful mother in law and grandma aunts that I’ve inherited through marriage. More than most. Why don’t I feel like I belong? It almost feels like gloating. I cringe with apology if that offends anyone. Kind of like those cruel April Fools Day fake pregnancy announcements that arrive on your Facebook news feed days after you’ve had a miscarriage.
Mother’s Day, like so many, I’d just want to crawl up in a ball and die. My step son would go off to his mum’s for the weekend and I was fine with that. I wanted to be alone someplace dark, where I could beat myself up. He’s never been allowed to show me any form of affection, for fear that it may get back to his birth mum. Being riddled with guilt, I’d just rather not put him in that situation, where he’s torn. My husband still makes a song and dance of appreciation. He’s always effortlessly grateful. Still- I’d rather we just skip the awkward situation for both my step son’s and my sake.
Let’s be clear, I’m not a hater. I never dismissed Mother’s Day. It’s such a beautiful day to cherish with our mothers. I certainly had no intention to ruin the glory of others and point out, ‘Hey guys, this is actually tough for some.’ Mums do deserve to be celebrated. It’s a beautiful day in a perfect life. But life can be far from perfect.
My mum who I love unconditionally is a hater, though. Although, to be fair, she despises celebrations of any kind. Well, she doesn’t enjoy social encounters; always finding a place to sit away from the table on Christmas Day because there’s ‘not enough room’. I am sure there’s a reason for it that maybe I actually know. Mum’s the type of person that absolutely despises thoughtful gifts that may surprise her. You know, where she has to pretend she likes it. Instead, she insists on cash and picking her own gift for as long as I can remember.
Then there’s my dad. Not a hater but it’s not his favourite. In a nutshell, he was basically abandoned along with his older brother by his mother after his parents separated. The most jovial guy you know. But there’s deep wounds and the hurt comes out once you get him (when the subject comes up) with a beer in hand. He’s never dealt with it, that’s obvious to me. But he’s always, for as long as I can remember, noted, ‘She will always be my mum, nothing changes that’. How does that rock me? It’s my dad, how does that even happen without damage? My dad will tell you he’s had a good life, and his foster mum, Nurse was better than a mum. He’s that guy. Between the two of them, Mother’s Day was typically never celebrated throughout my childhood, mum would call it just another hallmark celebration.
A combination of the moon, controlling still waters within and music can tip me over the edge at any given moment-even on a good day. This year, days before Iggy’s first birthday it was Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ that was the trigger (its not even my style of music). It moved me years ago in a Pixar clip, of all things, with power to bring me to tears in seconds.
‘Help- I have done it again.
I’ve been here many times before.
Hurt myself again today,
and the worst part is
there’s nobody else to blame.’
So why this year? I’m becoming dramatic. Twelve weeks ago, I didn’t think I would see Iggy’s first birthday. It was only a few days after the shock passing of little Alby who tragically choked on a bouncy ball days before his fourth birthday. I held my babies tight and prayed for his family. Next minute, I’m in hospital with septic shock and organs shutting down. Now, I’m a bit of hypochondriac on a hormonal day (I’ll admit that). This day however, I honestly thought I was going to die. In the Emergency Room, I protested surgery. I honestly believed I wasn’t coming back. The weirdest stuff goes through your head, I remember thinking, ‘I hope he doesn’t give my wardrobe away’, ‘Will the boys be okay without me?’ Gasp. I say it so many times, when people pass on their sympathy as if we are cursed. This stuff happens, it’s just life. It happens to anyone and everyone. I’m not here to wallow, I’m here to sparkle with inner kindness and gratitude. Mindful that what we’re taking for granted right this very second is something someone else is praying for. I give myself this same advice: Stop in your tracks and take it all in.
Earlier this week, one of my oldest and dearest friends wasn’t quite right. My sixth sense was alerted and I contacted her. When I dug a little deeper, she was feeling the approaching pinch of Mother’s Day. Recently, she married her soul mate, perfect for each other. He couldn’t come from a nicer family. He’s everything if I had a daughter I’d wish for in a son in law. Her Cypriot family, however didn’t approve of his Turkish background and have shut her out of their lives. It was instant. From the moment she announced they were dating. She’s tried endlessly for the past two years to mend the family breakdown. It’s now all too much and she’s left feeling like her mother’s abandonment is forever with no chance of acceptance or reconciliation in the future.
Then there’s my co-worker. Deep breathe- her two and half year old daughter tragically passed away from an acquired heart defect last year. I can’t get her out of my mind. This will be her first Mother’s Day without her Gorgeous (as she calls her); lovely, lovely Isla by her side. I can’t even comprehend how she will be feeling, nobody could. This heart broken mumma has a son not much older than our Iggy. He’s the only thing that keeps her going. This is a woman who gets up to work in a Children’s Education Centre, with children the same age as her Isla would be. She has my most utter respect. Her Mother’s Day will never be the same, life will never be same.
To my friend, let’s call her Queenie, who I’ve spent every other day ranting at for the past year about this exact thing. She is the loving mother to her adorable fur baby, Boo-the British shorthair. Raised an only child, she suddenly lost her mum last June and now it’s only her. This will be her very first Mother’s Day after losing her darling mum.
Then there’s the friend that’s a victim of domestic violence. Torturing herself over a termination, she then gave birth to a still born. And the friends that you know that are still battling- cycle after cycle of Ivf as well as the many women you know who never got around to having children. There are my aunts; two sweet sisters of mercy (every typical Irish Catholic family had at least one) who love everyone else’s children unconditionally. ‘We didn’t mind not having kids,’ They confessed one day, ‘It was when our siblings were becoming grandparents that we realised that we’d missed the boat and it filled us with longing.’ From that day, our boys were taught to call them ‘Grandma’ also; an honorary title that they dearly appreciate.
To the sisters who, for one reason or another also ‘missed the boat’ and feel sadness, anger, despair or like they don’t belong, I acknowledge your silent struggle and promise you my Mother’s Day will never be in vain.
All women offer life in their own unique way. But that will never take away sadness.
Tink wears: Spell Designs Joplin jacket from past collections |Ivy Wilde Lennon wool cap | Tigerlily Hamilton blouse in red
Dante & Iggy wear: Suede Daze kids 70’s tees |Industrie kids pants
Hussy wears: authentic vintage shirt | Lee jeans