Mother’s Day is always bitter sweet for me, and for many others who have either lost their mother, or a child, or who haven’t been able to have their own child. As a mother of three, I feel very blessed. As a woman who lost the person who guided me through my childhood, teen years, college and early professional years, the pain never goes away. My mother eased me through life with all its trials and tribulations, and since her death, I have never been the same.
Some mothers provide just the right comforting words and advice at just the right moment, like mine always did. For some women, friends, sisters, or other relatives substitute as that mentoring role model; but for me, there was no one else in the world that could listen to everything that was on my mind and react appropriately. So when I began the journey to have a daughter four years after my mother’s death, I had no one to talk to. At the time, my sons were only ages four and six and I loved them and my husband dearly, but they weren’t capable of listening to my emotional rants about needing a daughter and responding in a helpful way.
Through the ups and downs of years trying to have a third biological child and then moving on to adoption, only my husband knew the depth of my despair. He was supportive and encouraging, but as most women know, a man’s tolerance for emotional chatter is not the same as a woman’s. I kept my torment to myself. I could have chosen to talk to close friends at the time, but it was risky given that I was concerned about the story getting around giving my children false hopes about a sibling. I preferred to keep them in the dark about our extensive medical and emotional journey.
My journey through infertility and adoption occurred well before social networks became the “friend of choice” for women looking for a supportive ear about issues their husbands or partners aren’t able to deal with. Feeling all alone, I chose to remain silent and kept it all to myself. Today, I am amazed at the number of people in the situation I was in eleven years ago. They post in Facebook groups, write blogs, and tweet about it. There are countless valuable articles posted every day through online magazine sites like Adoptive Families Circle, HuffPost Parents, and Creating a Family. It is truly amazing that complete strangers are listening to others about important issues and some of them have remarkable, helpful things to say.
I’m not advocating that we air all our dirty laundry or tell our deepest, darkest secrets to our Facebook friends, but it’s amazing to be able to connect with women all over the country, and the world, who may be in the same situation or have advice for those who are. Some of stories, anecdotes, and suggestions I have seen in various places on the internet are quite remarkable. The occasional humorous perspective on life-altering issues through some personal blogs can be a welcome relief as well.
Through my blog, I was fortunate to meet another adoptive mother who had also just written and published a book about her adoption journey and our connection has become a welcome friendship. Together, we have collaborated and helped each other promote our books, commiserated about many parenting issues, and supported each other emotionally from opposite sides of the county. She is funny, interesting and a talented writer. I hope we can meet in person someday. If I had the benefit of the multitude of special interest groups and people that exist online today back when I was suffering emotionally through my efforts to have a third child, I might not have kept it all to myself and felt the need to express myself years later in my book.
Patty Lazarus is the author of a new book about adoption titled “March into My Heart: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption.” www.marchintomyheart.com