May 08, 2005

Yesterday Evening

. . . we went to mass. It's our new rhythm, so I can go to T'ai Chi class on Sunday mornings.

As we walked in I was handed a prayer card with the legend, "blessings to you this Mother's Day" on it. As mass ended we were told that the cards had been given to the mothers in the parish, and I was embarrassed. I do look like a mother, of course: I'm more than old enough.

The Annual Ritual of Humiliation happened then, with the mothers in the church standing for a special blessing. I placed the prayer card in the little rack in the pew that holds the hymnals and misselettes. My husband retrieved it as the prayer went on and on: bless mothers and grandmothers and birthmothers. Finally: bless those who are trying to become mothers. I was crying by then, but only my husband could tell.

I simply cannot see why this is necessary: this is a holiday invented by commercial interests. Why would a church buy into it? That's just my head talking. In reality it's a fine thing to do: thanking people who do a job that's difficult and ofen underappreciated. But my heart aches.

I'm not one of those infertile women who cannot even go to family gatherings if children are going to be present. I still like being around children. But every now and then the pain catches up with me. My former roommate is pregnant now with her second son, and it seems, yes—unfair. This pregnancy is all my friends want to talk about, probably because some of them don't understand why anyone would want to have kids at all. But pregnancy is something I'll never experience again. When the baby comes it'll all be water under the bridge, but at present the whole thing still twists a knife in me.

As we leave church my husband takes the prayer card I had tried to get rid of out of his shirt pocket. "Happy Mother's Day," he tells me. "This should be the last year you have to remain sitting."

"Next month," I respond, "let's find out when, exactly, they are going to celebrate Father's Day, and just ditch church that day. I don't want you to have to go through this." I blink back tears. "At least they remembered birthmothers: this weekend has to be even more painful for them."

Posted by Attila at May 8, 2005 09:07 AM

I am sorry for your grief. My wife and I went through a long, increasingly-desparate time before the birth of our first child.

For what it's worth, while listening to a Teaching Company lecture series recently on the "Old Testament," I learned about the story of Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel. You'll find it at 1 Samuel, chapters 1 -2. You might find something there to reflect on.

Posted by: Peter Sean Bradley at May 8, 2005 10:42 AM

Twins. That is what we got for our trips to the fertility clinic (which my grandmother hilariously called the "fertilizer clinic" - possibly the best malapropism ever). We were blessed, even if when we found out, I almost hit the floor.

I do not know your situation, of course, but my wife has Turner's. We thought that there was simply no way, and then there was. I'll say a prayer for you tonight.


Posted by: DeeDaGo at May 8, 2005 11:10 PM

Three IVF cycles. No dice. They brought up donor eggs, and at that point I said, "let's just adopt."

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 9, 2005 09:19 AM

I'll tell you, my wife had some difficulties with Donor Eggs. Very compassionate, very real understanding of what it meant. I will say two things - that the twins are for us, the result of faith in action, and that they are enough in and of themselves.

The reality of them made the rest of it very clear to us.

So i think that I am probably not helping your situation. But our situation is one that we thank God for constantly - even when the older one has to be bodily carried from the restaurant tonight. The younger one and I enjoyed the desert.



Posted by: DeeDaGo at May 11, 2005 09:56 PM

Don't say that: you're helping quite a lot. I just happened to arrive at a different decision, for reasons I find difficult to express.

I'm hearing a lot lately about how everyone gets the baby (babies) they're meant to have.

Actually, our experiences with IVF are probably what led me to think about twins, since I knew multiples were a real risk when we were going through the in-vitro cycles. And I decided I rather liked the idea. People tell me I'm crazy, and that's okay, too. I probably am.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 11, 2005 11:30 PM

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