Sunday was Mother's Day.
My father-in-law called from the other side of the world to wish me a happy mother's day. The boy reminded him that I am not a mother, and he replied that I was a mother to our cats and the dog, so "that's something..."
I know he was trying to be sweet, and had nothing but the best of intentions, but it added a piercing blow to my already aching heart.
Whenever people ask me if I have kids I feel my stomach sink a little, and a twinge of grief creeps into my heart. "Oh, your time will come!" they always assure me. Or they casually assume that we can easily adopt, if we wanted to, and I don't care to explain the costs and lengthy processes to them.
We spent the day at my sister-in-law's home with the boy's family. My mother-in-law was there, as well as my sister-in-law's mother-in-law (I know, that's a lot of "in-laws" in one sentence, and reads pretty awkwardly, forgive me!). I love spending time with his family, and playing with our niece and nephew is one of my very favourite things... but all of the mothering, the fussing over mushy cards, the hugs and kisses and celebration of the wonderful relationship that is mother-to-child, left me feeling like I'd been kicked in the gut.
Of course I would never do anything to take away from their day. I enjoy the time I get to spend with the kids, and have some fun conversations with the adults. We share a meal, laugh together, and I manage to maintain a genuine-looking smile when I'm asked, again, when we plan to start our family.
"Soon, we hope!" I answer as sweetly as possible.
It is difficult to fail gracefully. I would like to say that I have become immune to the pain of watching everyone around me having children with ease, but I haven't. I feel like an outsider.
I feel this horrible longing to have what they have, and I feel awful because of my jealousy. I am conflicted and confused. I am so happy for them at the same time that I want to scream out that I DO NOT want to hear about it ANYMORE!!!
I feel selfish and ashamed. I know that I am not alone in this, nor am I the only woman struggling with fertility and procreation... but sometimes it feels that way.
I am nobody's mother. I am incomplete.