For those of you who don’t speak Friends, it’s time you learn, but I’ll recap for you anyway, bless your hearts.
In the final season of Friends, we see story lines wrapping up. In this episode, Joey decides he’s ready for a mature relationship rather than a string of casual one nighters. Rachel sets him up, but it doesn’t work out because JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD. We also see Chandler sand Monica travel to Ohio, as a young woman is considering them as adoptive parents for her child(ren). *spoiler alert*
As a comical plot twist, the adoption agency mixes up applications, and the birth mother thinks she’s considering a doctor and a reverend, as opposed to the advertising exec and chef that are the Bings. Roles are assumed in a desperate attempt to be selected as adoptive parents, hilarity ensues, but honesty convicts and the Bings come clean. In a last ditch effort, Chandler makes a plea to the birth mother, on behalf of his wife:
When the time comes, I’ll figure out how to be a good dad. But she’s already there. She’s a mother, without a baby.
Everything in life has an applicable Friends episode.
You’ve likely connected the dots that this is my Mother’s Day post, and that I connect with Monica (and this episode) on a deep level. I’ve read a lot of these posts geared towards “my people” this week/month. I’ve yet to come across one written from the current perspective of “my people”, though. Everything I’ve found has been written by someone who used to be me. Someone who’s walked this journey, but has found their happy ending on the other side. Or it’s written by someone who didn’t have trouble at first, and is now struggling with secondary infertility. Or it’s written by friends of “my people” who admittedly have no idea what we’re feeling, but take an educated guess, and tell us that they love us, and encourage readers to be mindful of those who may be extra sensitive on Mother’s Day.
So here is my post, in the midst of infertility, with no pregnancies or children to speak of, but desperately clinging to the hope that there will be, one day:
I know so many great mamas. There’s the one that raised me, and the one that raised her, and all of her sisters and sisters-in-law. There’s the one I got via paperwork when Mister and I promised to do life together. There are several “neighborhood mamas”, as my dad likes to call them. Mamas of childhood and teenage friends that loved me and invested in me and listened to me and weren’t afraid make mind or call me on my foolishness.
Then I have my generation of mamas. The aforementioned childhood and teenage and young adulthood friends that are now loving and investing in their own children. To see these men and women find their Helper and grow their families brings joy to my heart. I love these people dearly, and I rejoice with them. That’s how love works. When those whom I love are happy, it makes me happy.
And at the same time, sad. Frustrated. Angry. And fight as I might, bitter.
I have learned to guard my heart. I have learned, through trial and error, what my emotional and mental health can take, and where the line is. We’ve guarded ourselves by withdrawing, some what, as painful as it is. I have a select few friends who blur the line between “friend” and “family”. These are my closest confidants, my besties, my “persons”, if you speak Grey’s. Their children are my nuggets. I don’t have nieces or nephews right now, so these nuggets are the closest thing to tiny-humans-I’m-related-to that I’ve got. I love these little monsters as much as a person can, and I love spending time with them and snuggling with them and spoiling them as much as their parents will let me.
Past these besties is my emotional and mental line, and I am learning that it’s ok to have a line. By guarding my heart, I have leaned that I can be satisfied in Him, and He can keep the bitterness and hurt at bay. I cannot be surrounded by all the children all the time, as adorable and fun as they are. It is physically painful, and I’m likely to burst into tears with no warning and make everyone feel super uncomfortable really quickly. No one wants that.
Mother’s Day is a wonderful thing, and all of these great women absolutely deserve it. I enjoy celebrating the women that have (and continue to) invest in me, and well as celebrate my generation of mothers, as they help one another figure out how to keep all these tiny humans alive and well adjusted enough to be functional and contributing citizens. Last year on Mother’s Day, I was pumped full of hormones, fresh off my second “NOPE” round of IUI, and wasn’t.having.any.of it. This year, I am better. I am finding balance, finding my limits, and guarding my heart.
I am optimistic for our future, but my hope in our future is found in Him. My battle with bitterness is far from over. I wake up daily and make a choice. I make that choice again usually within an hour. And again at lunch. You see where this is going. I don’t always win. Sometimes the frustration and anger gets the better of me. By finding my satisfaction in Him, I am winning more battles with bitterness. By advocating for my health and the health of 179 million other women that suffer with endometriosis, I am channeling my frustration into something good and productive.
I love Mother’s Day, and all of the mothers in my life. To you and yours, a very Happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate every woman in your life that is completely comfortable with spit-shining your face and smacking you upside the head when you deserve it.