Oh, my sisters. I’m thinking about you all today. You’re pretty much all I’m thinking about today. Us. We who cannot help but cringe and flee from Facebook to escape all the fertility. We who have poured every ounce of our time and money and sanity into trying to become mothers but who have been repeatedly devastated by failure and loss. We who look with confounded alienation at the women in our lives who have given birth and raised children, as if they have climbed Everest or sprouted wings.

I was pregnant last Mother’s Day and celebrated it for the first time as a mother. Two weeks later my baby was dead. This year I warned friends and family in advance that I was going to be boycotting this appallingly saccharin holiday, and some took it better than others. It is difficult for people to understand that you really mean it. It is difficult for people to accept that you cannot make them feel better about how much pain you’re in. It is difficult for people to really entirely remove themselves from their own needs and feelings long enough to allow you to fully express how unrelievedly, unrelentingly, irredeemably fucking shitty this is and take care of yourself in the way that feels right.

In years past I have enjoyed meditating on my gratitude for all the truly remarkable women in my life by whom I have been privileged enough to be mothered. There have been times in my life when my need for a mother has been so great, so scaldingly, coweringly overwhelming that just a simple kind word of acceptance from an older woman I respect has sent me into tailspins of grief and unworthiness, and I have spent a lot of time in therapy figuring out how to feel worthy enough to receive love from such women. Mother’s Day has traditionally been a time to reflect on this piece of my healing and to reach out to women who have been part of the process. This year is different. Everything is different after a miscarriage or four.

What I really wanted this year was to go down to San Francisco so that I could attend a Glide Memorial service. For those of you who haven’t heard me talking about this before, Glide is a unique and marvelous congregation that not only was ok with me being an atheist, but downright celebrated it as yet one more expression of the unconditional love and radical acceptance that is their doctrine. Services are rollicking, joyous, split-you-open-and-let-you-bleed-out-the-poison blowouts, and the place is packed with spiritual Mamas who have surrounded and filled me with unimaginable love in my darkest moments. There is no one there who expects me to be graceful or upstanding in my grief. People break apart inside the music and allow themselves to be repaired and rebuilt by the love of the strangers beside them. There is hugging. There is a LOT of crying. The power radiated by hundreds of bodies all celebrating and then letting go of their suffering is the most cleansing thing I have ever known. It would have been really, really good to be there. But it didn’t work out.

So instead I’m chilling with my dog, maybe getting my nails done. The Husband is on tour in Europe, so I’m pretty much free to shuffle around and do what feels right. Later on I’ll mosey on over to my sister’s, who has been just heroically and unflinchingly ok with my boycott of this holiday and has not once caused me to feel like I’m letting anyone down by doing what I need to do to take care of myself. We’ll have our usual Sunday dinner, and the twins will snuggle me and make me laugh, and my sister will pour me another glass of wine and comfort me in the quiet way she has, just by placing the warmth of her body in gentle proximity to mine and knowing me utterly in both my triumphs and my vulnerabilities. My mother will hopefully allow me to not have to Mother’s Day her. My dog, who is by far the most popular person in the family, will give everyone joy by looking ridiculous beyond words, which he is able to do just by sitting still. And we’ll all make it to tomorrow.

I’m sending you love, my hurting sisters. We’ll all make it to tomorrow.

PS – I thought I would include the picture I took of my response to yet another marketing package from baby food corporations who somehow got hold of the due date of the baby I lost last May. It was unbelievably empowering to do this and I recommend it to everyone who has to endure this shit. Happy Mother’s Day.

miscarriage pic

18 thoughts on “Boycott.

  1. I think I need to attend Glide Memorial. That’s the thing with this journey, people just expect you to swallow your pain and act ok. As much as I’m all good with pushing myself to be positive, I also allow myself to be a complete wreck when I need to be.

    I don’t have any more of ‘do the right the thing’ in me. I’m avoiding baby shower, births and birthday parties. I feel like I’ve done my fair share over the years. No more bruising myself for others.

    P.s I think your note is amazing. ❤

  2. Molly Burke says:

    This post rocked fiercely.

  3. kerbey says:

    I have wanted to write that note myself, as well as leave it on the answering machine.

  4. knalani says:

    I love your response to the marketing company! I stopped using my gmail account because I kept getting ‘your baby is now xx weeks old’ emails from Babycenter and What to Expect…AFTER emailing them multiple times to stop.

  5. elaaisa says:

    Thank you for this post! Really, thank you!

  6. newtoivf says:

    You are awesome. That is all.

  7. lydiaseeks says:

    Um, that picture at the end is awesome. Seems like sending that off is worth lots of dollars of therapy. Love it.

    • Yup. I posted it on my Facebook page and a couple of people – people who haven’t necessarily been right beside me on this rollercoaster and maybe didn’t have the context – were seriously concerned about me. Like I’d gone all Michael Douglas Falling Out and shit. You don’t know what you don’t know, what? 🙂

  8. sarah says:

    That note is fucking badass. Well done. Also, when I was a cocky, self-assured 19 year old, I went to a service at Glide and cried my eyes out. One of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had.

  9. I know this post is old as Moses, but I just found your blog and have been reading back-you’re the first person besides me and my mom who have attended Glide! We’re in love with their mission. We’re not from San Fran, but besides my home town it is where I have easily spent the most of my life. We go as often as we can afford (far less often now with IF taking all my moneys). Anyway, just wanted to confirm that yes, Glide is AMAZING.

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