On the Path to Mother’s Day: Messages of Hope from Across the Bridge

Small bridge in the forest

Image via Stockvault.net.

Deep breaths. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, one of the many holiday landmines scattered across our calendars, as we gingerly step between days and weeks hoping to avoid an emotional explosion.

I’ve had many different reflections of Mother’s Day over the years. In 2009, right after my diagnosis, it was still too raw. I had a post written where so much is left unsaid in between the words of the post it speaks louder than the post itself. I wrote about this scene so vividly, I still remember how bitter and pained I felt at the time.

In 2010, I took an inspired approach. 2010 was really a year of digging myself out of this infertility funk anyway, so I forged ahead with turning Mother’s Day into Me Day, to celebrate how awesome we all are. Last year, I was harder on myself. As a third Mother’s Day passed me by, I got impatient. I wanted the rest of the world to remember there are millions of us who want nothing more than to be moms.

This will be my fourth – and G-dwilling when (not if!) all goes well with our cycle this summer, my last – without children.

. . .

In the spirit of hope, I turned to some bloggers I deeply respect and admire who’ve made it across the bridge from infertility into motherhood, to send us all some very special messages to those of us – the Someday Moms – still on this side.

Believe me when I say: I know how hard it can be to read these words, to stay positive, to put one foot in front of the other on what feels like an endless bridge to an elusive destination. I see these bloggers, these women – mothers who’ve walked this very bridge – as mountain sherpa, ferrying us across the bridge, no matter how long and high it might be.

They know this path all too well, and I deeply respect and honor the wisdom they can bring to us still walking the path to parenthood and resolution.

“It takes a Village to survive infertility.”

~ Jessica from Too Many Fish to Fry

Jessica is one of the bloggers I got to meet when I went to California in March, and the organizer of the simply beautiful and necessary Faces of ALI project. She’s a sassy firecracker with a gift for words – just check out her latest piece featured on BlogHer. Jessica recently wrote a fired-up post about breaking the mould on Mother’s Day.

Jessica’s message of hope:

“I would emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with those who understand what you are going through and support you. I went through infertility alone, and I was alone parenting after infertility until I finally met such wonderful people. It was really hard to do either of those things alone.

I know we are a society that values individualism and the nuclear family, but I’m with Hilary Clinton: it takes a Village to survive infertility in any way, shape or form, and no matter how you resolve it: I think you need a village. Luckily, we have a pretty rad village here, in the ALI community.”

“Seek a good, supportive person to take the journey with you.”

~ Kir from The Kir Corner

Kir was recently featured on Listen to Your Mother Show for a special Mother’s Day celebration of writers sharing their stories of motherhood. Kir read a beautiful letter to her twin sons, here now in her life after a winding battle with infertility.

Kir’s message of hope:

“I would encourage any woman to seek a good, supportive person to take the journey with you. I always say that it wasn’t until my mom really ‘came on board’ with me in belief and Hope that the direction of my TTC changed too. I found HOPE in her words, her own hope and complete Faith that I would be a mom someday. The love I received in those moments was the difference in laying on the floor in a ball and doing all I could with what I had to chase my dreams of being a mother.

It doesn’t have to be your mom or a close friend or family, but it has to be someone that gives you the ABSOLUTE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE to keep going, to keep dreaming and when you can’t… they do it for you.”

“Practice patient optimism.”

~ Kathy from Bereaved and Blessed

Kathy is the mastermind behind Time Warp Tuesdays, one of my favorite new blog memes. Her TWT post this week reflects on Mothering and features a really beautiful commentary on how “non-moms” fit into the concept of mothering.

Kathy’s message of hope:

“When I realized which people in my life were willing to be there for me and wanted to hear about my experience, I tried to stop focusing so much on those who were insensitive and less open and able to support me on my journey. I have always struggled with managing my expectations in life and struggling with infertility was no exception. A lot of people in my life let me down, but many more helped to hold me up during the five years that my family and I dealt with secondary infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss and neonatal death.

My brother-in-law (sister’s husband) coined a term that I just love during their wait to adopt their first child. He was making a new year’s resolution the year before they were matched and he said his goal was to approach their wait with ‘patient optimism.’ Isn’t that incredible?! I think it speaks so well to the balance we need to try to maintain when trying to build or expand our families.

I feel incredible blessed and grateful to finally be in a place where I do feel that our situation is mostly resolved. I do hope that those still waiting and in the trenches to build and expand their families can find some hope in that.

However, I also realize that not everyone will ever get the dream they have in mind for their family. They may never be able to bring home a living child and/or may choose at some point to live childfree after infertility; there there a SO MANY different ways that we can and may choose to get to a place where we feel that our infertility struggles have been resolved.

“Celebrate Mother’s Day from a child’s point of view.”

~ JW Moxie from The Smartness

Y’all know how much I love my favorite gangsta, the great JW Moxie :) Not only is she an infertility survivor and mom of 4, she’s my go-to gal for all things surrogacy. As a teacher, she’s rockin’ the Teacher Appreciation Week with a much-needed post on the ways teachers should be appreciated as people.

JW’s message of hope:

“When I was in the trenches, on Mother’s Day I would focus more on reflections of *my* mother. I would celebrate Mother’s Day from a child’s point of view, instead of mourning the fact that I didn’t have a child.”

“Cultivate stillness.”

~ Lori from Write Mind, Open Heart

Lori is the soon-to-be-author of The Open-Hearted Way to Adoption, her first book coming out next year. She just celebrated her five-year blogoversary and has an absolutely necessary and empowering post about the outliers in the crowd during Mother’s and Father’s Day.

Lori’s message of hope:

“I believe there is a yin and a yang to resolving infertility. If you are an overachiever like me, you tend to be good at the yang, the masculine, the active, the DOING. And, if you’re like me, you are not so well-acquainted with the yin, the feminine, the receptive, the BEING. It wasn’t until I was able to practice both – doing what I could and allowing the rest to unfold – that things shifted for me.

It’s really hard to do in a time of high-stress and anxiety over your entire future, but if you can cultivate stillness at such a time, you will be all right no matter what.”

“Keep it the size of one day.”

~ Mel from Stirrup Queens

I’m sure y’all know who Mel is, but if you haven’t made it over to the Mother of All ALI Blogrolls, go do that now. Mel is author, mom and infertility community beacon and I’m so honored to share her words of hope for Mother’s Day here in my blog space. Mel’s Mother’s Day advice post is a must-read today.

Mel’s message of hope:

“I would tell people that it’s one day so keep it the size of one day. You don’t have to let Hallmark or restaurants or other retailers dictate how you spend the day. Celebrate your mother if it helps, cry it out if it helps, spend the day watching old House episodes if it helps, go for a long run if it helps: but always remember it is the size of a single day unless you allow it to inflate or deflate in your mind.

I cannot thank Jessica, Kir, Kathy, JW Moxie, Lori and Mel enough for their messages of hope and inspiration. I wish each of them a wonderful Mother’s Day tomorrow.

And to each of you – to us on this side: we’ll make it, too. A blessed day to you all.

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Comments

  1. Mel says

    Love that you’ve rounded up this advice and know that others will probably chime in with more great advice in the comment section. Wishing you an easy day tomorrow — which is just as much a Sunday in May as it is Mother’s Day.

  2. Justine says

    Perfect … and had it on my list of things to send you something too, but … well, I guess it was not a good week for me to offer advice. Especially given the still-recent rift in the community, I love the idea of the bridge, of the sherpas, of the guides … I hope that others can accept us in that role. Thanks for sending this message of hope, Keiko.

  3. Kathy says

    Awesome post Keiko! I believe that it will bring hope to those waiting to journey over the bridge. Thank you for asking me to share a message here, I feel honored to be included and hope that my words are helpful, comforting and hope-filled for those still waiting to become mothers or parent another child. I also hope and pray that by next Mother’s Day (or another one very soon) you will be on the other side of the bridge sharing your own message of hope and holding your child(ren) in your arms. xoxo.

  4. Lori Lavender Luz says

    I am surrounded by very wise women, indeed. I love the way you summarized each entry into its essential meaning.

    You can pull this post out again in 4 weeks and masculinize it for all the Someday Dads.

    What a beautiful gift you offered to all the Someday Parents out there.

  5. Christine says

    Love this! I hope it wasn’t too bad this year. I remember all too well how awful it can be. Also wanted to make sure you had my new blog address: http://multimama.wordpress.com/ (formerly Write Baby Repeat). Hope to see you there! Loving your new site, too–I hadn’t seen it till now, I’m so behind! Congrats!