Updated: May 7, 2021
For this blog to be helpful I have to be transparent. So here is where my heart is for Mother's Day that is coming up.
I usually feel like a fraud on Mother's Day. It's a day you celebrate your wonderful mother or your kids celebrate you and personally I've always felt like there wasn't much to celebrate.
As a daughter I was not close to my mom. I took care of her in her last years but I have to admit that was probably my husband, my children and my church pushing me to do so and this darned desire I have in me to do the 'right' things. But I never had a mother like you expect a good mother to be. My childhood was rough and alot of it was because of her choices. I always viewed her as weak for putting up with things she put up with and I vowed not to be like her. There were years that went by where we talked briefly every few weeks and only saw one another on holidays and birthdays. That was fine with me. My dear husband did not understand that when we started dating, after all he is definitely a mama's boy. But when she moved near us and it fell to us to watch after her, he understood. She was definitely bi-polar and I m sure she had crossed the line into schizophrenia but that part was undiagnosed. All of her depression and anger came out on me. With my children she was the goofy grandmother that taught them naughty songs and had fun with them. At church she was seen as a quiet sweet natured woman who complimented others. I did not see that side. So when Mother's day rolled around I would stand in the card aisle reading all the cards not to find the one with the right sentiment but to find one with little or no sentiment, just a simple Happy Mother's Day. Even now with all the people posting about how much they miss their moms in Heaven, I just skim by the posts and feel like something is wrong with me because I don't. But I have figured out that it is a good thing that I have never been very sentimental or emotional because if I had been I would never have survived this life. I can say though that before she passed, thanks to some good counseling and Christ moving in to heal alot of my broken places, I grew to understand she was not a weak woman, she was very strong to have made it through the life she lived and we grew into a friendship toward the end of her life. I can say there is no unresolved feelings there. And I am very glad that she had my children and our church family to be goofy, calm and loving to.
At the tender age of 16 I became a mom. I was a little scared but mostly happy because now
I could create the family I wanted. He was not going to grow up like I did. I was going to be the mom I always wanted. I think I started out good. He made it through his infancy alive. :) Then at the age of 18 I became a mom again. At that point the dad came home from the army and I discovered I would be raising two kids, myself and him with little support. But I was determined we would make it. Being their mom was the most important thing in my life. I was young, unexperienced, had no good example on my side of the family but I was committed to having the perfect family.
When I found out I was pregnant again at 19 I cried and cried and cried. I remember the day. I had gone to work and received a phone call that my oldest was sick and needed Tylenol. I had no idea how I was supposed to buy Tylenol! We couldn't afford anything. How was I going to take care of THREE children! I refused to consider abortion. Then a 'helpful' friend of my husband referred us to an adoption agency. Out of desperation I agreed to put this baby up for adoption. I had no idea what I was setting myself up for. I was not that close to all of the family for awhile and no one else knew we were putting the baby up for adoption. My second had breathing troubles at birth so when I came home from the hospital without a baby they assumed he hadn't made it and I refused to talk to anyone about it at all. What no one could have prepared me for was the over whelming grief. My womb was empty but so was my arms and a piece of my heart had broken off and went with him. The marriage split up but he made some changes and we decided to give it another try. I became pregnant again at 21. (Yes, I knew how to prevent that but honestly there was never a chance, fertility was not the problem. If he looked in my direction and I wasn't already pregnant, I got pregnant.) I was devastated. I knew instantly that I could not keep this baby after giving the other one up. I also didn't trust the changes that were made was going to last. So we gave baby number 4 up to adoption also. At that time I was further from my family and again we didn't share this with anyone else. I couldn't have. There was no one in my family I could have asked to take them because they hadn't even raised me right! I couldn't have turned to my husbands step family because that would have caused trouble in every direction. And honestly, I had never been able to escape the reality of my life so at least they had a chance. I always felt guilty I raised the other two. But again my womb was empty and so was my arms and another piece of my heart broke off.
It made mother's day hard. I was a fraud for years. I tried hard with the two I raised and I made sure they grew up differently than I did but it was still a struggle. Still I stayed silent about the adoptions. People would tell me what a good mom I was and I'd think 'if you only knew...'. I'd be asked how many children I had and I lied and said 2 while i cried inside. Still I stayed silent. Until I started dating my current husband. I told him because I knew one day the boys would show up. It took another 15 years after we got married but they did show up. One at a time. I got to meet them both and find out they had mothers that loved them and that they loved. I got to see the handsome young men they turned out to be. The oldest stepped away from us after a little while and I know the huge breakdown I had contributed to that but there was nothing I could do to stop it. The youngest is forming good relationships with his siblings and that is wonderful to me. But still as Mother's Day approaches I feel like a fraud. However I am no longer a silent fraud, I lay it out for the world to see in hopes that someone may be helped.
And I have stepmom baggage. Let's face it, they call it blended families because it sometimes feels as if we are all in a blender being chewed up and spit out! It's difficult enough to parent teenagers that you have sweet infant memories of but those you don't have the memories to hold you through you have to rely heavily on prayer. My daughter and son didn't make the beginnings of stepfathering easy on my husband either.
Then there is the parenting of the adult children. We still worry but it's not up to us anymore. We have to watch them find themselves, struggle in relationships, struggle to raise their own families and have other personal problems I won't even go into! We wonder how in the world they will make it then we realize all that we had made it through by the time we were the age they are now and we know it will somehow be okay. I don't know how but I know it will!
So let's face it. Being the daughter of a mother with mental problems is hard. Being a teenaged mom is hard. Giving birth is hard. Losing a child by miscarriage or adoption is hard. Being a stepmom is hard. Having adult children is hard. (But being an empty nester is kind of a good reward, that and the grandchildren. :)) So I see you. You think the struggles you are going through are unseen but there are those of us who see you. And we are here for you if you need a shoulder to lean on for a few minutes. Just long enough to take a good deep breath and get courage enough to jump back in because as hard as it is it is also very worth it.
Even with all the hard parts I am blessed. I am blessed that I got to resolve things with my own mom and learn to see her as a friend. I am blessed the two children I raised are doing well and figuring things out. I am blessed because they love one another deeply, they know that I love them and they love me. I am blessed because I did get to meet my two sons and see the men they have become. I am blessed because I gave birth to 4 intelligent, talented, kind and very attractive children. I'm not just bragging, they really are. I'm blessed because Pokemon Go gave my stepson and I something to bond over after all these years. I'm blessed because I have a wonderful husband that loves me despite all my bluntness, trauma and quirks. I'm blessed this Mother's Day and I'm sure if you look around enough you will see that you are too.
Live Loved y'all and have a Happy Mother's day!