Monday, May 14, 2007

Better days

So I used to be in the club where you bawl through sacrament meeting on Mother's Day -- occasionally running out of the chapel to sob in the bathroom -- and then gripe about it later. You know, the IHMD (I Hate Mother's Day) Club. It overlaps with the BIW (Bitter Infertile Woman) Club, to which I still sometimes subscribe occasionally.

Here is what helped:
  1. A bishop who kept his eyes on me throughout sacrament meeting with a really compassionate, concerned look. This might seem weird. It was not weird. It was really nice. (Sally, it was Bishop W. Wasn't he the bestest!?)
  2. People acknowledging that the day sucks for a lot of people, and mentioning some situations specifically, including mine (infertility).
  3. Um, adopting kids. Just being really honest here. It's true what they say about adopting not taking away all the pain of infertility. But it does pretty much take away the pain of being excluded from the Mom Club.
  4. Focusing on my own mom, who is wonderful (lucky me, I know).
  5. Giving myself permission to ditch church on Mother's Day, then realizing that I didn't really want to ditch church. Helps to remember why you're there.
  6. Learning to be gracious about accepting a tribute to all women on Mother's Day.
  7. Realizing that motherhood is way, way bigger than me and my personal pain. See post below.
Here is what would still help:
  1. Talks that focus more on doctrine, symbolism, appreciation ... anything but lectures from men about how to be a better mother.
  2. Laying off the emphasis on pregnancy, birth and nursing. Again, just being really honest here. That's a club I'm still not in. And I can't see how it's the biggest defining experience of motherhood. It's maybe 2 years of experience for most people, compared with a lifetime of nurturing, teaching and so on that makes up the rest of motherhood.
  3. Keeping the GA quotes about motherhood to the last 5 years. Come on, there's plenty. We don't have to go back to teachings that have been softened or even contradicted by current and official doctrine (meaning in this case, recent teachings from the Conference pulpit).
  4. More, more, more about the inherent power of righteous women. More about the good women can do in the name of Christ both inside and outside the home. This is the kind of positive encouragement I need and love.
Finally, here is what I loved yesterday:
  1. Breakfast in bed, albeit served on the dusty tray that usually holds DVDs that we need to put back in their cases. Gotta love it.
  2. Handmade cards and gifts from little boys who are finally old enough to be unselfish on a special day.
  3. A talk from a young man in our ward who gave the example of when Sariah murmured, then pointed out that she was concerned about the safety of her children and remained a faithful and righteous woman. He was awfully young to have thought of this on his own, and I suspect his mom's assistance. Good for her, because I have always worried about Sariah getting a bad rap.
  4. My kids singing.
  5. Young men singing.
  6. Singing with the young women.
  7. A gift from the bishopric that wasn't messy, fattening, or prone to wilt or die.
  8. Attending Relief Society along with our Young Women and hearing a few of them pay tribute to their wonderful moms (and hearing some very funny stuff from a mom of grown kids -- e.g. the story about her daughter crying about getting a sewing machine for Christmas, so upset that the parents actually switched the gift for a shotgun, which made said daughter much happier. Quote: "So when things get really bad and we have to go back to Missouri, make sure you're traveling with B!")
  9. A really long, luxurious nap.
  10. A really sweet letter from G, who has learned at last that I don't need fancy presents, I just need to know that I am thought of and cared for. Really, if you can make any woman in the world feel that on Mother's Day, she will have a darn good day.

7 comments:

Melessa said...

Laying off the emphasis on pregnancy, birth and nursing. Again, just being really honest here. That's a club I'm still not in. And I can't see how it's the biggest defining experience of motherhood. It's maybe 2 years of experience for most people, compared with a lifetime of nurturing, teaching and so on that makes up the rest of motherhood.

You are absolutely right about this.

Keeping the GA quotes about motherhood to the last 5 years. Come on, there's plenty. We don't have to go back to teachings that have been softened or even contradicted by current and official doctrine (meaning in this case, recent teachings from the Conference pulpit).

This is good advice on all fronts when it comes to giving talks in church and one of my biggest pet peeves in general. If we don't want those outside the church to use old material against us, it would help if we steered clear of it too.

Heidi said...

ITA! Good post! I feel uncomfortable at church from a lot of the "how to be a better mom" from excluding the adoptive/infertile women! not cause I'm one of them, but I seem to be attracted to them as friends - and my heart aches for the trials you've gone through in your lives, but I love your positive spin on it! kudo's to you & your little dog, too. hee heee heee hee hee!

Eve said...

Fabulous post, Ana, and truly excellent suggestions. You've really hit all the bases.

SalGal said...

I heart Bishop W.!!! I miss his pool. Why don't more bishops have them? Especially here? He was an awesome man. :)

I also vote that nursing is not the penultimate experience of motherhood, and would really like to know what was given that isn't fattening and doesn't wilt or die!

I'd like something other than a guilt trip from the pulpit on that day as well.

Sorry, those weren't in any spectacular order. SO glad you enjoyed your day!

(((hugs)))

MaryRuth said...

Man I needed this post this weekend. Thanks!

I belong to both clubs that you mentioned. And I'd be more than happy to give up my membership.

Thanks for your kind words.

I haven't been to Sacrament meeting on Mother's day in six years... but this year I got asked to speak on Mother's day. At first I was a little bit surprised that my Bishop wasn't more sensative than to ask ME (she who skips church on Mother's Day) to speak. But I'm so glad that I agreed to do it. It was very healing for me.

I talked about Righteous Women in the Scirptures and then talked about the strong women in my life and the impact they've had upon me.

It made me reflect a little bit differently... instead of what I don't have (children) on to what I do have (amazing women in my life).

Maybe my Bishop knew what he was doing after all :)

And I also learned (once again) that when we do hard things they make us stronger.

But again, happy to give up my membership in the clubs.

c jane said...

I just came here from the Segullah blog and as someone who is still in that infertile club, I'd like to say THANK YOU for this post! It was funny and true.
And perhaps I could add to your suggestions: stop with the Armies of Helaman story on Mothers Day. Though it is a great story, it's becoming trite when we hear it year after year as if no one thought of it's connection to the holiday at hand.

Signed, Club Member,
c jane

Jennie said...

i, too, am a member of the clubs... thanks for such an incredible post!