I am a happy mom, which means a great emotional current has awoken inside of my body these past two years. I am visibly more emotional because my children’s happiness brings me insane amounts of joy. I am still getting used to having swells of positive emotion overtake my body, but it is a wonderful deficit to endure because it means I am a mom.
I am an adoptive mom, which means that I sometimes get emotionally dirty with my children. When the children and I discuss all things adoption, I weep. I weep for many reasons, but mostly because I cannot change their past. I can help them heal, I can lighten their emotional load, but I cannot carry their burdens completely for that would do them a great disservice in life. They will be better for it. I know that to be true, but it hurts my heart nonetheless.
I am an infertile mom, which means that great amounts of grief and sorrow will always sit anxiously inside a small chamber of my heart. These are the most difficult emotions to predict and control because I never know when something or someone is going to trigger the opening of that chamber. And yesterday, the dreaded MOTHER’S DAY, was one of those triggers.
Adam asked if I wanted to skip church and do something else this year. I assured him it would be fine. Why wouldn’t it be, right? The biggest issues I had to contend with last year were a small bout of crankiness and the decision to stand or not to stand at church. Plus, this year, the kids really knew what Mother’s Day was, and they were so excited to sing at church and have me wear my paper corsage. Like I was going to disappoint them! I figured the most I would have to endure was a couple of gushy mom talks, and a few comments about how the speakers wanted to be sensitive to those who were “not yet privileged to be mothers” or some lame crap like that. (GAG!) Plus, I had already decided that I would never stand at the end of the service as my secret honoring of those who still dreaded the day as I once did, and who were forced to stand because they were, after all, ‘a mother in spirit.’
That was a big mistake. I mean HUGE! COLOSSAL! GIGANTIC! I will never let my guard down ever again on Mother’s Day. Who knew that one of the talks was going to be about a woman who had multiple miscarriages over the past seven years, and is finding faith and strength in the journey as she and her husband figure out what their new path should be in creating a family. What are the chances? Yes, many struggle with infertility. But infertility is painted with a broad brush for good reason. There are many different struggles within, and many different treatments. But this story was my story. It mirrored my own infertility. And there is nothing I could do to keep the chamber in my heart closed. Trust me, I desperately tried for my children’s sake, and for my own.
Instead of feeling more connected to Mother’s Day, I felt like the elephant in the room. I started crying, and I couldn’t stop. It was pathetic. And I was trapped because I knew if I got up and walked out, people would see me crying and that would make it worse. So my only option was to sit in the pew and pull my hair around my face so as few people as possible would see the hysterics building up inside of me and pouring out of my eyes. *permission to laugh out loud*
After the service ended, I thought I had myself under control. I went in to teach my primary class (Sunday School for kids), and I started crying again when I saw a dear friend who recently miscarried her first child. She was bravely and gracefully facing Mother’s Day head-on in the midst of a sea of children. This time I did have to walk out. I made my way outside and I started to sob. I sobbed and I sobbed and I sobbed. It was the kind of cry that doesn’t happen very often. It was the kind of cry that I associate with things like my infertility trials and losing my grandma. You know, the kind of cry that takes you to a place where your mind does not want to go, but where your emotions take you anyway. Luckily, I found a quiet spot outside to work through my meltdown. The experience was embarrassing and annoying–not something I planned or even thought might happen. If I thought for one second that I would lose all emotional faculties in front of people, there is no way I would have went–truly mortifying!
The most significant part of the episode is that people do not understand why I was so emotional. The assumption is that my inability to bear a child is so overwhelming that I must not be truly happy with my “adopted” children. That makes me crazy! And yet, I would probably draw the same conclusion, if I was the outsider looking in. I love my children so much! They are enough! They have breathed life and light back into my soul!
That false conclusion is not why I have moments of residual mourning. It is simply, and only, because I remember! I was not crying because I cannot give life. I was crying because I have lost life. Perhaps someday, when that particular emotional chamber is released, it will not trigger an emotional spiral of remembrance. Perhaps. But yesterday was not that day.