Childlessness on Mother’s Day

I’ve woken up this morning and I haven’t cried. The first time on Mother’s Day in seven years. Yay. It’s a big thing for me. I’m a bit confused. Why? Am I at peace? It’s a rarity on this occasion. I feel it’s a turning point for sure. I’m not saying there might not be tears somewhere today. But waking up on Mother’s Day feeling content and in love with the life I have is just an awesome feeling. I don’t cry all the time. In fact I’m a very happy person who laughs a lot. But days and events like today always have that tsunami of power to trigger my emotions linked to childlessness.

Waking up on Mother’s Day always stirs a real mixture of emotions. As it does for many many others. For me, it’s always about the conflict in my mind, body and soul of what the day represents to me. I’ve learnt to go with the flow with my feelings. There is no right or wrong. It’s a very personal feeling to me. I can feel how I want. I can think what I want. I am in control of my feelings.

I am very lucky and fortunate enough to have a mother I can celebrate Mother’s Day with. A woman who has always been completely selfless, so strong, so compassionate, so intelligent, so kind. All through my life she has been the one to lead the way alongside my father. Someone I look up to and admire and forever inspired by all that she achieves. It is because of my mother that I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to be like her. I still do. She is everything I wanted to be.

I am also very lucky and fortunate to have a lovely mother-in-law. The jokes about this area have never applied to her and never will. She’s kind, considerate, thoughtful and had always made me feel special as part of her family. She too is one of the strongest people I know.

I am also very lucky to be called a step-mum. I have a gorgeous step-daughter who is 23 years old. A stunning young lady who makes me feel so very proud every day. I came into her life when she was 7 years old and we have a wonderful relationship ever since. She has taught me so much in life without even realising it. A free spirit who is intelligent and so very kind. I am blessed.

I am also the proud owner of two precious doggies who are so demanding they come across like children a lot of the time. I love them unconditionally and they do the same to me. Their loyalty, love and affection knows no bounds. I feel like a mother to them. I am a mother to them. They need me and I need them.

I have so much in my life to be so very grateful for. So many I know do not have any of the above. My heart breaks for them. I can’t take away their pain but I can tell them how much I love them and there for them. And that is what causes the conflict in my mind and heart about Mother’s Day. Feeling love, feeling grateful, feeling happy, feeling lucky and feeling blessed. All these emotions of positivity and joy. But then it’s mixed with feelings of sadness, grief, loss, disappointment, pain and guilt.

I have mastered the art of allowing my thought processes to be at ease with multiple feelings at once. After all it is possible. We all have the ability to do this. I know that I can have an array of feelings, some of which are complete polar opposites, all at the same time and it’s ok. To be at one with emotions and feelings and to let it be with an acceptance is a powerful place to be in.

Since my diagnosis in 2013, the aspect of giving birth, being pregnant and being a biological mother has been at the forefront of my mind. We always wanted children but we did not anticipate that cancer would cruelly take away that opportunity. We were young and in love and wanted to be parents together. It has been a gut- wrenchingly painful and agonising situation to be in. I have howled in sheer pain and trauma at not having this opportunity. Some days it has felt like torture. Some days I have felt a failure for not being a biological mother. That I’ve let down my husband and my family. After all it wasn’t just me that lost out. This is a side to cancer recovery that very few see or hear about. It can be brutal.

The guilt I feel for the feelings I have had are still there. I have a mum, a mother-in-law, a step-daughter, two dogs. So I should be grateful right? And keep quiet. I am so very grateful for what I have in my life. But it doesn’t take away the enormous grief I feel everyday. It’s a constant sense of what could have been. How cruel cancer can be. But that I am alive and healthy and that is to be celebrated. So I deal with my grief and sadness. It is an intrinsic part of my makeup now but it does not define me. It has simply made me stronger and able to be there for others going through a similar thing. It has put me in a position where I can mentor and coach those going through similar experiences.

Childlessness, like a lot of events in our lives is a hidden grief. After all I have not lost someone. But what I did lose was a dream of what I wanted my life to be like. I had my future plans taken away from me and have had no choice but to adapt to a new course. An un-planned life. We have turned our lives into something different and still it is so incredibly amazing.

Childlessness on Mother’s Day can be unbearable at times. The hurt and pain will always be a part of me. But I know that it is far outweighed by all the gloriousness of all that is in my life. I have so much love in my heart to give. That will always remain.

Thank you to all that have played such a crucial part in being in my life. I love you all very very much ❤

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