Never Being Called “Mom”
I woke up this morning needing to write. That’s what happens when writing becomes more than holiday cards, letters, texting, emailing, business reports and grocery lists. It goes well beyond that for me. It has become as necessary as breathing.
Within my writing my truth arises. It is not only a way expressing myself, it allows me to be myself.
I’ve always been far better at communicating what is in my head and my heart by way of writing. It’s almost expected there be an “Alison card” whenever a birthday or special occasion is celebrated.
Today is one of those special occasions. It’s Mothers Day. I won’t be with either my own mom or my mother-in-law, both are out-of-town. So for today I feel what I need to write is not about them, what I need to write about what this day means to me.
I don’t have children. Medically speaking, I couldn’t have children. I have thought endlessly about what a wonderful father my husband would have been. I dream of what could have been if we were able to widen our family. But the truth is I wonder if subconsciously I ever wanted to have children.
I can’t validate this last part other than, now with 20/20 hindsight, I’m able to connect dots and consider how my addictive lifestyle might have contributed to my infertility. At the time, being drunk and thin was more important to me than anything else. It’s not out of the realm of possibility I subconsciously did all I could to avoid getting pregnant because that would have required me to stop drinking and gain weight.
But, having children was what society told me I was “supposed” to want, what I was supposed to do and I’d be less of a woman without that experience.
There are medically proven reasons I was unable to get pregnant. I’ve poured over those reports and the pages of notes I took during many doctor visits. I know the medical facts as they were uncovered, but what I don’t know is how much alcoholism and an eating disorder contributed to the inability to get pregnant.
But I kept trying until one day, my doctor looked me in the eye and said, “Look, I could keep removing the cysts (polycystic ovarian syndrome), but how many surgeries is your body able to take. We’ve already done eight of them. I think you might be well served to talk with your husband about whether or not you are ready take the next step to alleviate what is causing your ongoing pain and other reproductive health issues.” What he meant was a hysterectomy. I felt the wind knocked out of me. That seemed so final. But at same time, it felt relieving as the emotional pressure lessened.
That night my husband, my knight in shining armor, held me as I sobbed uncontrollably. I wasn’t sure I was ready to accept what closing that chapter in my life really meant. As those tears fell, out poured my profound inability to fully acknowledge how my addictive lifestyle might have contributed more than what was medically proven.
It has been over eight years since I did indeed take that huge step yet each Mothers Day I still find myself grieving. I grieve for what wasn’t. But I also grieve for what my part in that might have been.
There are all kinds of consequences I’ve had to face as a result of my addictive life. Each carrying a level of intensity unique to the situation. This one however, the inability to get pregnant, carries a very, very deep impression on my heart.
The grief for what could have been saddens me, specifically on this day.
However I do realize deep in my soul that while I may never hear someone call me Mom, I am able to express my ability to nurture each time I am honored to help another women forge her own recovery destiny. Maybe in those quiet moments, I can finally feel what it means to be called a mom.