Its Mother’s Day weekend, and I have a baby now.
I love being a mother to our boy. I think he’s perfect. Nothing about our journey has been easy. I am his favorite person in the world (to be fair, I have the snacks). He is fat and squishy. He is ours, and we are his, and knowing him has been the greatest joy and hardest thing we’ve ever done. Creating him was complicated, delivering him became an emergency, and his first weeks were a mental game I underestimated.
Its the best. 10/10 would recommend.
This will be the first Mother’s Day in four years that we will go to church, and I won’t dread it.
Over the past four years, we’ve actively avoid church. Especially on Mother’s Day. No one was ever rude to us, but the culture around a good ole Southern Baptist Mother’s Day was a hard pill to swallow. It almost always involved some sort of mass assembly line baby dedication. Mamas and Daddies lined up on stage with varying sizes of drooling pink squishy babies wrapped in white and lace and bows, often times accompanied by their less than impressed siblings. Baby pictures and scriptures plastered on the big screens, with a pastor making introductions, praying with each family, and thanking God for the blessings bestowed on a fruitful and fertile congregation. That’s all well and good, and I’ll just bypass my (likely jaded) theological musings on “baby dedications” and the Fertility Prosperity Gospel for now, but it was exhausting.
Even going to church on a regular day was hard. We didn’t feel like we fit in anywhere. Try finding a small group or “Sunday School” class that doesn’t focus its application and teaching on parenting for married couples 22ish – 45ish. It doesn’t exist. Passing by the nursery and children’s classes, navigating family oriented fellowships, it all got to be a lot to handle for us. We were (and still are) actively trying to create a space sensitive to the needs and circumstances of families like ours, but because of the the culture of secrecy and often (unwarranted) shame that often accompanies fertility and loss, thats still a work in progress.
Since getting Truitt here and in figuring out what life looks like as a family of three, we’ve recently found our place back in The Church. It looks a lot different than what either of us were “raised” attending, but that’s probably a good thing. Even still, I find myself mentally preparing myself for tomorrow. This year I have my son to hold, I am finally in the “in” club. I’m a mother, however I am ever on guard. I know so many of my friends that are still hurting, still struggling. I know there are many I see and don’t know their story. There are many that are avoiding the Mother’s Day service just like we did. There are those that are “powering through” just to put on a brave face, just like we did, to prove they aren’t defined by their struggle, but its exhausting.
As awesome as Mother’s Day is, and well deserved, it can suck. I would also like to add all of these feelings on behalf of my husband. He was always meant to be a daddy. I got the biological issues of infertility, he got all the baggage that comes with it. I still sometimes struggle with the fact that he married in to this hurt. But thats another post for another day after a little more therapy, maybe.
Even though my Instagram has turned into an “Ode to Tru”, even though our infertility journey is on ice for right now (frozen embryo joke lolololol), even though I’m in the “mom” crowd this year: I still see you. I know you’re looking for a place. I know you’re searching for what your mama-journey looks like, how to best be the mother you are in your heart without babies in your arms.
Celebrate your mamas. If you’re a mama, love your babies, and have a nap. If you don’t have your mama here any more, honor her. Thank your extra mamas – the neighborhood mamas, school mamas, bonus mamas.
If you’re skipping church tomorrow or find yourself mentally and emotionally exhausted, know that you aren’t alone.
He heals the broken hearted.
And brunch is for everyone.