It's indescribable. But I'll try writing this post, anyhow...
For a long time now, my family has gathered together for a Mother's Day brunch. It was really to honour our mother. But for many years, it was a gathering I would dread. I hated going. After losing one baby, then trying trying trying for a number of years for another, then losing a second baby six years after the first baby...
Well, I'm sure you can imagine. It was a bit painful to be out for brunch where I was literally surrounded by mothers being celebrated and motherhood, the focus of the day. Everywhere I looked there were mothers and their little children, flowers and laughter and smiles and, best of all, homemade cards from their little ones.
I bit my lip, my tongue, tried to swallow my envy down with the pancakes and syrup, but it would just get stuck in my throat and I'd go home, curl up in bed and cry myself asleep into my pillow.
Eventually, I had to tell my parents I wouldn't be attending the family Mother's Day brunch. I just couldn't do it. I made a point of going separately to my mom's and giving her a card and gift that morning or the day before. They both understood my decision.
Last year was the first time in many years I attended the brunch. I was so round and ready to burst, literally as I would give birth three days following Mother's Day. I felt safe celebrating it a little early.
But today. Today was my very first official Mother's Day as a mommy finally. There was snow on the ground this morning. This, after record temperatures in April reaching 25 degree, summer-like weather. On the drive to meet my family, the sky was full of fluffy, white clouds. And I thought that is just what my heart feels like today: bright, white, fluffy, weightless, glorious, breathtaking. Like a cloud without rain. Like a cloud whose precipitation is pure and white and falls slowly and gently and quietly on a May morning such as this.
How do I properly put it into words just how I feel this day? Nursing him this morning, I made sure the tears that flowed down my cheeks didn't hit the soft curls of his hair. Tears of relief. Of pure ecstasy. Of longed for Joy. Tears for the babies I'd lost. Tears for the baby I found. The baby I have now. Smiles and tears.
I overhear people bemoaning parenthood all the time. Rolling their eyes in collusion over the burden it sometimes is, and according to some, often is, as though it is more often than not. And even as a parent now, I remain in mute astonishment towards this attitude. I wonder if I will ever get to a stage where I take this gift for granted? This amazing gift bestowed and entrusted to me. To parent the child I have. Would I, too, be one of these nodding, winking people had I not endured such a battle to have my child? Would I, even if I'd had the struggle I've had, if my baby had been colicky, not so easy, not so perfect as he's been? I admit I have a hard time imagining me ever taking this gift for granted after all the years of wanting it for so long and dreaming of it and hoping for it and having those hopes dashed time and time again.
People say, "you must be tired." "You look exhausted." And I know I do. I am tired somedays. But it's a happy tired. It's a "I'm so goddamn lucky" tired. I wouldn't trade it for all the sleep in the world. People say, "it must be hard on your own." But I know, having lived both sides now: I would rather be alone with this gift of a child, than be with somebody without this gift. If I only had those two options, I know which one I would choose. Have chosen.
I am so lucky lucky lucky. I know so many women who have struggled with infertility. Who still do. Who have had one or more IVFs in their struggle and whose IVF surgeries failed in some way. The fact that mine worked on my first attempt, resulting in the birth of my beautiful Sonshine, is unfathomable to me after all the years of failed attempts and despair, loss of hope.
This day. To celebrate this day, finally! I cannot describe it. But I will say, it feels like heaven. And I am over the moon this day.
Today, before leaving for brunch. I caught a gift outside my front window: a very pregnant robin perched on the wooden stoop in the snow. A sign, perhaps. A message...
Happy, Happy Mother's Day.