Mother's Day

"There must be a baby in there." She said.

"There is. Just hit my fifth month today" Said I.

"Your first?" She said, looking around at Mr. Spit and I, as we came out of the restaurant on a crisp end of October day. One of those Alberta days when you realize that the best of summer and even fall are behind you, and you begin to anxiously await the snow to cover up the brown and grey world.

"Yes, I said. Due at the end of March. I can't wait".

"That's wonderful. You positively glow. I saw you rubbing your belly, and I thought, a baby is the only reason I know of, that women do that."

It was my first tangible inclusion into the world of mother's. We talked about her children. 30 and 28, she could hardly believe it, the time had gone by so quickly. We talked about hopes and dreams, cloth diapers, not knowing the sex and about the fact that I was still barfing most of the time. It had gotten so there was a Sunday routine. I would sit in church, just off the aisle. Around about the time that the worship music started and the kids were heading off to Sunday School, I would excuse myself from the service and go and loose what little breakfast I had managed to choke down into the church washroom. Occasionally a voice would come in -

"Are you ok dear?"

"Oh yes", I would assure them, between retching. "I just a bit sick. I'm used to it." I would always assure them, remind them, after two years of infertility I would barf from now until the day the baby was born, if that's what it took. It seemed such a small price to pay for a child to carry.

That Sunday was a rare day, in which I lost 'first breakfast' and I could bear the thought of 'second breakfast' as we had come to call it. A rare day in which I could easily identify what I wanted to eat.

I thought about this little interchange as we walked into that same restaurant. Probably on the same circuit of restaurant, library, running errands on a Sunday that we had been on that fall day.

I thought about what was supposed to be - a baby in a bassinet and me exhausted from near constant nursing. I thought about a baby that should have been a month and screaming for dinner as I lay awake last night. I thought about how tired I should have been, and how mournful I am now, at 3 am.

I awoke - thinking of Mother's Day. So Dear and Yet So Far asked how we will do Mother's Day this year. And my answer is stark, but not simple.

I am not.

I am not doing Mother's Day. I am not thinking about it, I'm not going to a restaurant, a card shop, I'm not expecting a gift, I'm not preparing for it, I'm not going to church that day.

This was my year. After years of infertility, a body that wouldn't behave, friends who got pregnant at the drop of a hat, who sail through 40 week soap opera pregnancies, and don't even have the decency to suffer even a tiny bit during the process: this was my year. This year I would join the ranks of women who lugged a baby into church. This year I would prove my worth at being a woman.

Last year, for Mother's day I wound up giving a presentation at a gardening show. Already in the process to conceive Gabriel, we assured ourselves, 'God willing and the creek don't rise', we were going to have a baby for the Mother's Day, Father's day season. And we could actually make plans for this year - we decided we weren't actually going to celebrate Mother's day or Father's day with the child to be.

I've actually never liked anything about it. The dogs bought a card and a gift for each of us (Yes, we are "those kinds of people".) But, honestly, it was a place marker, perhaps a hope marker. A thing we did to remind ourselves that the present wasn't the future, and there would be a child, one day.

Indeed, it is a fitting irony. I hadn't planned to celebrate this day I want to pretend doesn't exist. No, that's not quite honest. I don't want to pretend, I don't want to hide. I want to ban the day. I want to prevent the sun from rising. I want to move time and space past this wretched day, and brush off my hands and proclaim myself done.

"What is the meaning of this?" I want to scream. "Why? Have I not undergone enough pain this year? Was it not enough to give a miserable pregnancy to a woman who was overjoyed? Was I in some way ungrateful?"

"Was I, in some way, not thankful enough? Was it not enough that I vomited every single day, with a smile of my face? Was seven years of marriage not long enough to live without a child? Was it not enough that our friends have not one child, but two or even three? What about this do I have to get right, such that I should not have to suffer this one day?"

Is it not enough that Gabriel is dead, that I should have to suffer through a day all about Motherhood?

It was enough pain to be admitted to the club, but fail to pass it's only entrance test. I'm not doing Mother's Day this year. I didn't get to join that club. Mr. Spit and I joined the dead baby parent's club. We get to celebrate on December 10th. We get to celebrate on June 28th. We get to celebrate on March 21st. We get to celebrate when we remember, suddenly, as we walk up to a restaurant, that we were parents, once.