This year will be my very first mother’s day without my mama in the world.
Sadly she lost her battle with ongoing illnesses last October. Although it is still a shock to lose a parent, there was also some relief knowing that she didn’t have to deal with her overwhelming health issues any longer. When she was alive, our relationship had not always been easy. We had our ups and downs over the years. At times I think we were so alike that it caused us to clash.
She was vibrant, loud and full of life, and at times I remember feeling completely embarrassed by her outgoing nature- especially as a teenager.
She taught me so much about the world and how to be a great person. How to love openly and whole heartedly. To live life and be able to laugh even when life threw everything it had at you. One of the most recent happy memories that we shared was when we tried on wigs together throughout her cancer battles. We had tears rolling down our faces and were getting some very stern glances from the lady managing the store. It may have seemed strange to some people, but that was just what we were like. Afterwards we went and shared a bottle of wine on Southbank, with the wig stuffed in her handbag and sent photos to the other members of our family.
In the last few years we had developed a deeper understanding of our relationship, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to thank her for being a wonderful mother to me, especially throughout my childhood.
I know it would have been one of my biggest regrets had I not done this before she died.
That first Sunday in May is also a day that takes me back to the darker years of my life when I was so desperately trying to become a mother myself. Years spent on the IVF roller-coaster – living each month in the hope that this time our efforts would be a success, and I would at last fall pregnant. During that time mother’s day was a day of complete and utter sadness and dread for me. I found it so difficult to be happy for other mums, when all I desperately wanted to be one myself.
There was an aching in my heart that I simply cannot describe no matter how hard I try. It was like a piece of me was missing.
So now five years on, I am blessed to be called mama by a gorgeous and spunky little human being who came into my life through an open adoption. Every day she calls mama is a blessing in itself as I fought so damn hard to have her in my life.
The day for me however is also shared with another mama who does not have her child with her on this celebratory day. Our daughter’s birth mother does not have the joy of seeing her climb onto the bed on the morning to present a cup of coffee and gift, and the biggest squeeze and kiss on the nose.
You see for reasons that we may never fully understand or know about, she chose to give her child another life. One that she couldn’t provide for her at the time of her birth. Each and every day I know she thinks about her child. I know that there is a piece of her heart that is missing too. No amount of time will ever make that go away. I will always be open to sharing this day with my daughter’s birth mother, and every year I think about her throughout most of it.
It’s such a bitter sweet moment for me. I feel such happiness because I get to love and enjoy this amazing child, but I also experience a deep sadness for her birth mother because she does not.
There are also women in my life who are very special to me that are not mama’s for varying reasons, and I also know that this day can cause them a twinge of sadness. Yes they are happy with their lives and careers, but they don’t get flowers on a special day for being amazing at their job. There is no special day for “couples without kids”- now there’s a new marketing idea!
We have other friends now trying to conceive and experiencing the extreme highs and lows of IVF and trying our best to support them through their sadness, disappointments and sometimes success!
So I will think about all of these people this year and every year on mother’s day.
The journey for me was long and difficult – but all worth it in the end. Not everyone’s story is the same as mine, but they are all worth celebrating. Not just once a year on a day with a special name – but each and every day.
There were times when people used to make comparisons between my mum and me. It used to make me upset and I would often get really agitated and defensive. I found the older I got, the more accepting and embracing I became of our similarities.
Since becoming a mother I see so much of my mum in myself – positive and negative. And even though my daughter is adopted, there is no escaping the fact that I am raising her and she is without a doubt my child. She is so like me in personality and nature it is ridiculous. People say all the time how much she even looks more and more like me every day.
She is vibrant, loud and full of life – and I couldn’t be prouder.
Thanks mum – I wonder where she gets that from?
Love Chrissie xx
Chaos to Calm Consultancy would like Wadawarrung of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging -particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents who walked before us supporting and connecting their children to the earth, water and community. Always was. Always will be.