Mother’s Day feels different every year, and this one is no exception. It’s challenging to capture my feelings through a quick social media post, so I felt drawn to sit down at the computer to write more here on the blog as Skyler is content playing with his legos and coloring nearby. For now, ha.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this way as this holiday rolls around every year, so this prompted me to share my thoughts with you here today. You are not alone, and you are allowed to feel what you’re feeling. So much love to you.
While we usually attend church on Mother’s Day, Skyler and I stayed back and streamed online to be able to say goodbye to Scott as he embarks on another business trip overseas. He’ll be gone for almost two weeks and onto another one after he gets home from this one. I have been solo parenting most of the time lately, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
I have my “I’m going to lose it” moments, and I have the utmost respect for all of the single parents out there … you are the real superheroes. It’s not easy, and finding the time to decompress and have “just a few minutes” to yourself here and there is harder than ever. But it’s mornings like these (as I ugly cried from Sky’s Happy Mother’s Day message in an opening montage at church) that make seasons like this much, much sweeter.
Feeling overtaken by gratitude and allowing the roller coaster of emotions to pass through.
Understanding that you’re in a chapter of life that you longed to be in for so long, but accepting that you can equally feel that joy alongside the feelings of grief or pain from a loss. And while I haven’t lost a mother figure outside of my grandmothers yet, I do feel the losses from years of infertility resurface every time someone asks if Skyler is going to be an only child. And every Mother’s Day.
Those who are familiar with our story know that it wasn’t an easy road to parenthood. It took four years of constant prayers (with a lot of tears and heartache) and two losses before we were blessed with our miracle baby boy, Skyler in 2018. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t remember the long and bumpy road we had to get him, and I will be forever grateful that he is mine and I am his.
Scott and I both feel like we won the child lottery with him, and we are content with our little family of three … especially while living in an apartment in New York City.
We have our routines down, and we are happy to be past the days of diapers, potty training and lugging strollers along with ALL THE THINGS around the subways. Skyler is so go-with-the-flow and has become a third wheel to many dinner dates, as he’s great in restaurants and seems to adapt well to wherever we take him. We often joke that throwing another child into the mix would dramatically change our day-to-day lives. While he would certainly enjoy the build-in playmate, we wouldn’t have as much freedom to explore or travel like we would with another baby in the mix. I can kiss any “free” time I already feel like I don’t have goodbye … and so on and so forth.
Without much room to spare in our living quarters, we’ve sold or given away most of his baby stuff, but there will always be a glimmer of hope and part of my heart that wishes we could reuse those things we were temporarily happy to say goodbye to. Unlike most people, I really loved the newborn stage through the first year. I missed my sleep (don’t get me wrong), but I really miss the cuddles, the chest naps and witnessing all of the first big words and milestones. I don’t miss breastfeeding, however, even just a little bit. That was really hard for me (repeat bouts of mastitis is no joke) and something I probably wouldn’t do again.
I never thought Skyler would be an only child and always pictured him having one sibling, preferably the baby sister that he asks for every. single. day. He is in awe of the younger siblings some of his friends have and does such a great job making sure they’re okay if they’re crying and included in playtime. He would be an amazing big brother!
So here we are, now five years into this journey and it’s only natural for the daunting questions to press on. You might be wondering the same things, so I’ll go ahead and address the most popular one:
“Are you all planning on having more kids?”
Only God knows the answer to that one. We’re definitely not trying for more, but we would be really excited if it was in the cards. But at this point, the possibility of adoption is the most likely route to a family of four. We’re not sure either of us is in the headspace to go through the ups and downs of infertility again. And we don’t have that kind of time as I am thirty-eight and Scott is nearing fifty this November (whoa!).
Like most people, there are certain things on our list that we want to check off before that day arrives, if it ever did. We want to feel more settled in a home and more confident about our whereabouts in the future. It sounds silly, but going from a family of three to a family of four is a big difference when you live where we do. HUGE. We’re very comfortable with how things are and can’t fathom adding anyone or any other things into our current home as we’re constantly decluttering and purging to feel like there’s some kind of order. (This even includes taking a break from pets as we lost our dear pup back in January.)
That said, only time will tell. And only God knows that answer.
But the question and this time of year doesn’t come without all of the “should have been” thoughts that pass through as well. Thinking the siblings Skyler “should have” already had would be here with us. Thinking how different our lives would be if Skyler was our youngest of three, instead of the only child here with us.
It’s a lot to process sometimes … and I get triggered with things and questions that people casually talk about like unexpected pregnancies, pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, etc. It doesn’t always bring up these feelings, as I am genuinely happy for whoever is announcing … but every now and then it will when it’s least expected. And that feels awful.
Most of all, the question around how many kids someone plans to have is very triggering. This is a me problem, and is totally innocent from an outside party, and I get that. But even something that simple and innocent can bring up the thoughts that I shove down in order to soak in the present and everything in front of me. Enjoying today for the gift that it is without planning too much of the future.
Mourning the losses might get easier with time, but those feelings don’t ever just go away. None of it is really in our control or in our plan, when you think about it.
I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have a beautiful, smart, funny, kind and ridiculously entertaining little boy. He’s the best and everything I could have asked for a million times over. But I also can’t help but wonder how different or the same another one could be. (I’m dying to find out, so part of me is also mourning that idea!)
So yeah, that’s a peek into the truth and the longer version of the typical caption you might read on social media wishing all the hard working mothers a Happy Mother’s Day today.
Just know that I’m thinking about all of you …
Those who have lost mothers.
Those who have lost children.
Those who long to be mothers.
Those who have strained relationships with their mother(s).
Those who have strained relationships with their chid(ren).
Those who have chosen not to become mothers and get the question of why incessantly.
You are in my thoughts and prayers today and always.
Thank you for reading through this post, and I can’t leave it without wishing my mother a very Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for raising me to be the woman and mom I am today. You are a great example and I love you!
Also, wishing my mothers-in-law a very Happy Mother’s Day. You deserve a special kind of award for raising Scott, and I am very grateful for you in our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, no matter what this day means to you.
Wishing you love, peace and lots of relaxation because you deserve it.
Special thanks to Lily from Lily Raya Photography for capturing our family so beautifully in the photos above. (These were taken in the summer of 2021, which reminds me how quickly time goes by. I’d highly recommend her if you’re local to NYC!)