One Mother’s Day many years ago I ended up having to do an open house. This was a difficult day for me to begin with, but having to work when feeling very sad added an extra element of despair. Other than my own mother I did not want to have to wish anyone a Happy Mother’s Day or answer any questions as to whether I was a mother myself.
Turns out that due to an error in a newspaper advertisement regarding the open house date and time, I had to hold this particular listing open both Saturday and Sunday. My client at the time apologized that I had to do an open house on Mother’s Day. I felt so bitter.
I kept thinking that if I was actually a mother the way I had hoped to be by then, I would have a good excuse to postpone the open or have someone cover for me. When I entered this client’s home that Sunday, there were cards and flowers around the house. I felt tormented sitting in their living room stewing over all my sadness and grief. This was a very similar feeling to when I attended a baby shower or children’s birthday party. At least when they were social events I could decline.
After the Sunday open was done my client wished me a happy mother’s day. The words stung me like a forceful spray. My mind thought, how dare you? My heart ached for the word’s to actually apply to me.
Motherhood was a club I wanted so badly to join. This feeling was not dissimilar to being in school and wishing I was good at sports or had a beautiful singing voice that would land me the lead in the school musical. Hard work would not really make me a great soccer player or give me the immense talent needed to sing those high notes; I may have been mediocre, but that was not enough.
Infertility made me feel mediocre- an underachiever of sorts. And for all the things in my life that I was able to fix with hard work and determination, I simply could not fix infertility.
The first year I celebrated Mother’s Day my baby was due to arrive home from Korea any day. He was not in my arms, but he had my heart and that was good enough. However, it was not until the next year after he has been home for almost 12 months that I received the card signed by Daddy and Min.
I have celebrated 6 years of Mother’s Days. As we begin to see the commercials on TV and ads on social media leading up to this season, I am reminded of my longing to be a mother. And I think of all the men and women whose sadness is deepened as they have nothing to celebrate and no title to bear. Or those who are missing their babies that never had a chance to live.