I wrote this 10 years ago but it still perfectly expresses how I feel. Mother’s Day is fraught with all sorts of weird emotions and I’m so lucky to still have my mother, who loves me and a daughter I adore. Most people don’t get both and so I feel undeservedly lucky each year these two things happen. I send out love and peace to those who are lucky enough to celebrate with joy, and to those who face the day with bittersweet memories or anger. Or both. Because we’re human and complicated and never quite end up with the perfect greeting card life that we imagine.
Originally published Houston Chronicle ~ May 2006
“Don’t buy me anything for Mother’s Day. Every day is Mother’s Day.” ~A direct quote from Nelda Dusek (my mother)
You wouldn’t know it from looking at me but I have a rare blood disease.
It’s called Antiphospholipid Syndrome and there isn’t a lot known about it other than it can cause blood clots, strokes, and miscarriages. I didn’t even know that I had it.
My husband and I had gone to the doctor expecting to hear our baby’s heartbeat and instead were told that it had died. We were devastated and I didn’t leave my house for a week. When my second loss followed in the next year I demanded that my doctor test me for everything in the books. That’s when I found out I had this strange disease which can worsen during pregnancy and makes carrying to full -term nearly impossible without treatment. My doctor recommended baby aspirin to thin my blood but after a third miscarriage it was clear that I needed something stronger to give me more of a chance. They moved me to a blood-thinner that I had to inject directly into my stomach 1-2 times each day. My stomach became a patchwork quilt of bruises. Six months later the pregnancy test finally turned pink. I upped my dosage of daily injections and made fast friends with other sufferers on the high-risk BabyCenter message boards. I cried with them as they continued to miscarry and felt jealous but hopeful as a lucky few gave birth to little miracles. I watched a best friend go through many rounds of failed fertility treatments and watched her support me even though it must have been torture to see my belly grow bigger every day. I had such severe morning sickness that I was put on a drug typically used for chemo patients. When I was about 7 months along the baby stopped moving and I was terrified. I drank sugary orange juice, listened to loud rap music, desperate to get a response. When she finally moved I was so relieved that I laughed and cried at the same time. During labor I didn’t really mind the pain. I was just so scared that she was going to die that it was all I could concentrate on. The moment I heard Hailey cry in the delivery room was the first time I allowed myself to believe that I might actually be somebody’s mom.
People always tell me that the 500+ shots I had to take to have Hailey will one day make great guilt material and that I should demand rubies every Mother’s Day, but I don’t see it that way. I did all of that for me…so that I could be allowed to be Hailey’s mom, to be the one to kiss her boo-boos, to comfort her when she’s teething, to get woken up at 3am and to see that smile that no one else gets from her but me. Every time I check the BabyCenter message boards I’m reminded that I’m one of the lucky ones.
I’ve realized that my mom was right all along. Every day that I’m allowed to be a mom is Mother’s Day.
And now, the weekly wrap-up:
Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):
- I made this shirt to wear at the grocery store so that no one tries to make small talk with me and also I often get to go to the front of the line. Works well in all scenarios for introverts.
- Things I would wear to my own funeral part 19.
- If you read my last book you’ll understand why this makes me happy.
- Hunter S. Tomcat has 100 toys but this is what he chooses to play with.
This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Renee Charytan’s book called If You Give a Mommy a Glass of Wine. a satirical parody for all the imperfect mothers out there who work hard, try hard and occasionally make mistakes. It’s like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but with more booze. And who can’t use more booze? Check it out here.