Sunday, 8 May 2016

On Mother's Day...

I, am not a mother. (I know you know this, but bear with me.)

If you've been following the blog, you know I can't conceive children naturally (if you need a refresher, click here). I've spent the last number of years coming to terms with my infertility; and more recently, with the idea that motherhood, in the traditional (or maybe any) sense, may not be in the cards for me. I'm not being whiny or searching for sympathy when I say that - it's simply my reality. Regardless, motherhood is something I've coveted since I was little. I grew up in a generation where expectations of women were still entangled with marriage and child bearing (much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of feminists everywhere). And because I have the mother that I do, I desperately wanted to be a mom, too.

My mother - Momsy to me - is one of the most beautiful human beings I know. Usually I would join countless others on Facebook as they espouse their amazing mothers - but today, I have a little more to write than a status update should allow, and a new (to me) perspective on motherhood to share.

I am incredibly proud to call my mother, Momsy. She has not only sacrificed the world over for my brother and I, but is also one of the most kind-hearted, funny, intelligent, generous, and beautiful women I have ever met. But that's not the whole of it; I now realize my pride in my mother comes just as much from who she is outside of being my marvellous Momsy. She is a fierce supporter of her friends and family - if you fuck with them, she will fuck with you right back (she would not say fuck as much as I do, to be clear, but the statement stands). She is not, and never has been (at least it seems to me) afraid to be exactly who she is; and I aspire daily to carry that into my own life. I have watched her tenderly devote her time to caring for friends and cherished family members at the end of their life, and I know precisely where my inspiration for nursing came from. I've watched over the last number of years as my Momsy has grown in her own right - creating a life and an identity for herself (and dragging my dad into her bustling social life) - which is possibly what makes me the most proud of her, and gives me strength in moving forward on my own. How fortunate my brother and I are, to have such a woman to call mother.

It's obvious why I would emulate such an example and strive to be even half the mother my Momsy has been to my brother and I. Having spent many years clinging to a traditional view of motherhood that my own reality doesn't quite support, I struggle in coming to grips with my situation. Now, I realize there are couples who have adopted, women who have chosen to pursue artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization on their own, and blended families who would all passionately argue the idea that motherhood is not based solely in a biological connection. But I'm stubborn and I take fucking forever to work through things, so it's taken me a long time to envisage an alternate concept of motherhood not hinging on me expelling a tiny human from my vagina.

I spent a sunny Saskatoon Saturday with my mom and a close family friend who, coincidentally, was like a second mother to me growing up. As we sat at lunch sipping our rosé and devouring delicious pizza, it hit me - my shot at motherhood isn't completely gone just because I'm not going to pump out 2.5 kids and raise them in a house with a white picket fence. In my mind, motherhood is just as much about striving to be a strong, independent, intelligent, graceful, and beautiful woman as it is about raising children to follow suit. If my identity as a woman doesn't need to be tied to childbearing, then a mother's identity is still just as much about her being the woman she is as it is about her being a mother.

I'm beyond fortunate to have my own Momsy as a prime example, but I also grew up with women around me who I have always regarded as the epitome of strength and grace. As I navigated my way into womanhood, I was fortunate to make friends who astound me with their capacity for love, friendship, and courage. And now, I get to witness some of these same women becoming mothers themselves, and I get to participate in their children's lives as Auntie April, something I cherish every minute of. My version of motherhood may not look like what I pictured at five years old, but I can certainly strive to be a strong female example for the children around me. I may not be a mother per se, but I can definitely set my sights on being the best damn Auntie those fucking kids will ever have.

At some point I'll get the whole grace thing down, I promise.


P.S. - As always, there's been a song on repeat while I've hammered out this post. It's a song that is forever entwined with thoughts of my own good mother...I will never be able to say or do enough to express how fortunate I am to have the parents I do, but this song always seems to sum it up so perfectly, "I've got a good mother, and her voice is what keeps me here...feet on ground, heart in hand, facing forward, be yourself."

Happy Mother's Day, Momsy.

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