Officially Childless Mother's Day #6

This is my 6th Mother's Day where I knew I would never have children. Looking back in time, there were so many hopeful Mother's Days, and devastating Mother's Days, but I can tell you honestly -- it really does get better. There were so many times when I didn't believe that could ever happen. 

I mean, I do still have self-care around the day. My guidelines are pretty similar as when I was in the raw times: 

1) No social media. I mean it. NONE. You can think that you'll be okay but it is way too easy to go down a voyeuristic sad spiral and it is overwhelming. No thank you. I probably won't go back on until a few days pass because the spiral keeps on spinning for days. 

2) Do something nice for yourself. We had our requisite Sunday blueberry pancakes and bacon, and then I finished an IEP that I've been behind on for my second to last meeting of the year, we had tuna melts for lunch, a zoom with Bryce's mom and stepfather, and then took a really long walk. I tried to plant things, but I'm not 100% in both arms (more on that later) and the blackflies were literally swarming my head and feasting on me, so nope. I felt like I had a good balance of getting stuff done and restorative things. 

3) Go for a walk somewhere you won't be bombarded by families. Easy in my neighborhood, where a walk around the block looks like this: 

and a longer walk looks like this: 

Even so, as we were heading home and had two choices, we looked down one way and saw a family with a dog and a small child on someone's shoulders, and chose to go the other way. Why face that if we don't have to?

And that is basically it! I celebrated with my mom yesterday in the driveway (with tons of uninvited blackflies), a combo my-birthday and her-Mother's Day. Oh yes, that was key in the before times -- celebrate with your family on a different day if you can. It makes a difference. 

That's the other thing -- some years my birthday is immediately followed by Mother's Day. It felt like a one-two punch for so long. Reminders that I was getting older (either even less fertile or less appealing in the adoption process), paired with reminders that I wasn't a mom (and eventually would NEVER be a mom) seemed a cruel combination. But my birthday didn't bother me either this year -- other than that I can't say I'm half of 90 anymore. Half of 92 just doesn't have the same ring to it. 

We actually went to a fancy restaurant, but on a Thursday (less busy) and in a little side room with no other people, and even when we went to the bathroom we went away from the bar and so NEVER PASSED A SINGLE OTHER PERSON. Which is good, because this is my 3rd Pandemic Birthday and my county in NY is a High Transmission area and the CDC is "urging" people to mask but do most people mask? NOPE. But we do, and hopefully I continue to avoid it. Ugh. Whoa. Major sidebar. Here is my birthday dinner pic: 

This is 46! (Well, Bryce is 48)

I guess what I want you to know is that this day can be so, so awful when you don't know if you'll ever be a parent, and devastating in the early days of KNOWING you'll never be a parent. But it really does get better. Not in a "everything's awesome and it doesn't hurt at all" kind of way, but in a "this used to feel like a horrific injury and now it's just the little lingering ache of arthritis and only when the conditions are just right." Which is a great place to be, actually. 

Here are my resolved without parenting Mother's Day posts, going back to the very first: 

2021: How I Spent My Mother's Day

2020: Soothing the Mother's Day Ache (this and earlier are from My Path to Mommyhood)

2019: Mother's Day Past, Mother's Day Present

2018: #Microblog Mondays: My Un-Mother's Day and Coming Up On Mother's Day

2017: Huh, actually I never wrote a dedicated Mother's Day post this year of crisis. Probably because a) May 8th Bryce called the adoption agency to say we were done and we officially ended our journey, and I spent Mother's Day frantically writing all my stuff for National Board Teacher Certification. Mother's Day was sandwiched between making the final call and packing up our nursery, so I guess I decided to write about other things. 

The last thing I want to leave you with is that I've noticed a lot more sensitivity around the day, at least in the public radio classical stations we tend to listen to. We heard a lot of "honoring the mothers, physical and spiritual" and other caveats that acknowledge that not all women are physical mothers. The opt-outs for emails about Mother's Day seem to be decent, although they go to my "promotions" folder in my inbox to die most of the time so I didn't see them firsthand, only heard about them from others. And then, on Friday, the evening custodian came by to chat when I was still there at 5:45 (Friday evenings are actually a great time to get shit done, no one's there), and asked about weekend plans and then said, "Are you a mom?" and when I paused and said, "Well, no. No I'm not." HE then paused and said, "That's okay, I'm not a dad either." It was a lovely moment of connection and I appreciated that there was no assumption made. 

So, Officially Childless Mother's Day #6 is almost over and I'm just so grateful to be in the place I am today. I hope that brings you hope if you're still deep in the swamp of sadness. And if it was a pretty good Mother's Day for you, too -- well cheers to us! 


  1. Cheers to us indeed! lol Sending hugs too, for this wonderful post, and for the photos. You look great!

  2. The way the conversation with the custodian went made me smile. I really love this post for the way it highlights your journey of journey. And I always love seeing the faces of you (happy belated birthday!) and the handsome Bryce.