Some days are just harder than others. Mother's Day (and Father's Day) is one that is always difficult for those of us without children. Even before I tried to conceive, I didn't love this day. I don't like the suggestion that some people are more worthy than others. But after my losses, this day was a horrible reminder of what we didn't have, the status I didn't have, and that "no-one cared!" (A little melodrama is I hope permissible).
I know it is Mother's Day in the UK this weekend. I know how difficult it will be for many of my friends there, for women I've "talked" to on-line, and for women I don't know but who are going through infertility or pregnancy loss right now, and will find this day desperately difficult, and will feel terribly alone and isolated and forgotten.
With modern technology, it is easier now to avoid some of the hype that builds up before Mother's Day. But it is impossible to avoid it all. That little twinge of regret, that reminder that I need to press "fast forward" or "mute" to protect myself, can be painful. In some ways however I find Fathers' Day more difficult to deal with, as I freely allow myself to feel pain for my husband, when I won't do the same for myself on Mother's Day.
Over the years we have developed some coping mechanisms. In one of the first years of childlessness, we made the mistake of going to the movies. As we bought our tickets, two boys stood behind us (sick of waiting for their parents lagging behind), and the girl behind the counter looked at me and the two boys and chirped "Happy Mother's Day!" I gulped, nodded, and escaped into the dark of the theatre. We won't make that mistake again.
I don't live in the same city (or even island) as my mother, so rarely see her on Mother's Day. But as the only son/daughter-in-law combination left in the country, we make a point of seeing my mother-in-law. Occasionally we will invite them to our house for a nice lunch. Or we might go out to their house and take dinner. Or we might invite them out to a restaurant. But we always do it the day before Mother's Day. I cannot sit in a restaurant, surrounded by happy families, with my mother-in-law and be reminded at every turn that I am not and will never be a mother. So we plead excuses - prior engagements, or simply that restaurants will be too crowded - and happily go out the day before. I don't know if my mother-in-law or father-in-law have ever noticed this. They are probably too polite to comment even if they did.
And so on Mothers' Day, our duty done, we hibernate a little - but as we tend to do that at least one day on a weekend, we don't feel as if we are trapped at home, and often we forget what day it is, enjoy a relaxing day and a nice glass of wine or two.
I do remember fondly one particular Mothers' Day though. We were in Johannesburg, and our guide was taking us on a tour of Soweto, such a notorious town with such cruel memory associations from the 1970s and 80s. We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. It was full of families celebrating Mother's Day. It was sunny, everyone was dressed up in their Sunday best, there was chatting and laughter, and the good food was consumed heartily. I smiled. I was happy.
Note: Whenever I write "Mother's Day" I check. Is the apostrophe in the right place? Apparently, the founder of Mother's Day insisted that it should be singular possessive. A day to honour one mother, not all mothers. This is not really how the day is treated, but I stick to her principles in my use of apostrophes.