This Woman’s Work
The morning after my first emergency surgery to remove my first ectopic pregnancy from my right fallopian tube, I awoke to Maxwell’s version of the incomparable Kate Bush song, “This Woman’s Work.” The song had just started and it immediately brought me out of the “was I dreaming or did that nightmare really happen” fog. Snapped into the sadness of my reality that I had just lost my first hope of a baby, the song was more than apropos. “Pray God you can cope,” the song starts. Tears, sobbing ensued. Forever. This song will remind me of that morning, of that experience, of that despair.
I am one of the lucky ones. In the end, after a six year battle, I took home the top prize in the priceless In Vitro Fertilization lottery – boy and girl twins. I am one of those women who has lived to be a mother. I have always wanted it, dreamed of it, knew I would be incomplete without it. Yes. I think being adopted had something to do with it. I think my spirit knew that becoming a mother myself was the only way in which I would be able to find peace with my own mothers, both my Korean mother and my American mother. There were different reasons, perhaps, for needing to find peace with each of them. Yet, we are a triad of women who are intimately connected. I am grateful for both of my mothers. And I am especially grateful for my precious son and daughter, without whom I would not know the meaning of motherhood; nor the purpose of the sun and the moon.
On this Mother’s Day and on every Mother’s Day since wanting to be a mother, I think of Bea and the other childless mothers who have lost their sons or their daughters. All of the countless mothers around the world who have lost children because of war, hunger, disease, adoption. Whatever the cause of the loss, I think of these mothers. I think of how much they must wish to be able to feel the arms of their child wrapped around them. To hear their laughter, to see their smile again. And I can not imagine it. Truly, can not imagine it. I send love and light and hope to these childless mothers. Your courage to go on is inspiring. I am in awe of you. Mother’s Day is for you. Somewhere, I know, Antonio is smiling upon Bea, and all of the other children are smiling upon their mothers.
On Mother’s Day, I think also of the women who are in the battle. The women who long to be mothers but who are not yet. I remember how painful Mother’s Day used to be for me. The sharp, stabbing reminder that it was. You are an outsider. You are not one of us. You are not a mother. I think of the sadness that I experienced during my battle to become a mother as another limb that grew from me. This limb still exists. Do you see it? I hope you do. And I feel it. Being a mother has not made the limb go away. My battle to become a mother, like all of our personal battles, has become a part of me. I am grateful for this extra limb for it has taught me compassion in a way that I’ve not been taught before. To the women in the battle, I give you love and light, and perhaps most importantly, hope. Hang on, even if there is just a thread of it, you must have hope. Without hope, the dream is lost. You can do this.
On Mother’s Day, I think too of all of those who have lost their mother and their grandmothers. How fleeting the time was. How much they must miss her words of wisdom, her caring ear, her immeasurable love. Mothers are irreplaceable. Their absence is profound. To the motherless sons and daughters, I give you love and light and the level of kindness that can only come from your mother.
On Mother’s Day, I think of those who have no memory of their mother. Memories keep a loved one alive to some extent. Physical contact sustains us and our first physical contact was with and through our mother. To have no memory of the person who carried us in her womb and labored to deliver us can be debilitating. I speak from experience. To those who feel debilitated, I give you light and love and wishes for a peaceful journey.
This Mother’s Day, I take pause to remember all of the heartache and despair that so many feel on this day. You are not forgotten.