There were some pretty choice rants about Mother's Day on my Facebook feed this weekend. I found it odd that the majority were by mothers. A few felt that those of us who choose not to be mothers are slighted by the holiday and are made to feel like we are less of a woman. As someone who has made this choice, I disagree. I also saw people talking about their estrangement from their mother or about how much they miss their mother who has since passed on. There are more women out there who want to have children and can't, or have felt a loss greater than I can ever imagine. It reminded me that all holidays are fraught with emotion--veritable minefields that dredge up memories that are both pleasant and horrifying.
This Mother's Day I felt profoundly lucky. I feel blessed to have a mother I am close with, and doubly lucky because I can still enjoy the day with my grandmother. That sounds bleak now that I've typed it out, but she has progressed through her octogenarian years with the same feisty humor I have always seen in her. All three of us are flawed. Some of those flaws have been unintentionally passed down. The wit, creativity, stubbornness, and weird twist we all put on the world are qualities that have served me well. I love them very much and am glad there is a day that reminds me to thank them.
There are a lot of reasons why we decided not to have children. I have systemic lupus and have had days where I needed help taking care of myself. I couldn't imagine hearing the cry of my child on a day where I couldn't even dress myself (that hasn't happened for a very long time *knock on wood*). The hormone fluctuations that come with having a child can knock lupus patients into a tailspin. My doctors have warned me that it would be best not to have kids, but they would support me if I felt I needed to have kids. The reason why I'm totally okay with all of this even though I pictured myself with a minivan and three kids by this age? I never caught "baby fever." The biological drive to procreate didn't crush me over the head. Occasional twinges aside, I am not maternal. I love my nieces and nephews fiercely, but that's enough for me. I thought my neighbor's squalling infant was a dying cat for God's sake.
I watch mothers frantically hovering over their kids. The weight they carry is tremendous. Not only do they have to make sure their kids are safe and fed, but they also are responsible for growing them into a functional adult. Personalities and genetics can fight this outcome. Hard. And if it goes wrong, they are the people we blame in addition to the person who actually committed the crime. That is a hell of a lot of responsibility.
This non-mom encourages you all to celebrate the holiday as you wish. I choose to celebrate my mother and grandmother. This holiday was never about me, and I'm happy keeping it that way. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play video games without interruption.