LOSSES & LESSES

Damn Mother's Day.

[This blog is taken directly from a required weekly reflection for my clinical eduction program. Some lines have been removed or edited as to not cause undue pain.}

5/10/20

The week has been trying. Slapped in the face on two fronts: It is Mother’s Day ,and my case study tapped into my grief about being child “free.”

When we were in the midst of the infertility battle, I read a book that encouraged the use of this “childfree” rather than “childless.” I like the positive psychology of this, but when you are in the throes of pain, ‘free’ is not a word that you would say describes your condition.

‘Less’ is much more fitting.

Less parties. Less love. Less anticipation. Less joy. Less giggles. Less community. Less silliness. Less firsts. Less wonder. Less of a woman. Less of a man. Less. Less. Less.

No longer feel less of a woman, but all the other lesses still apply. These are ingredients to stir into my fear of being along and forgotten. I am not a fan of Mother's Day because it throws these less's in my face.

I know I will crawl out of this hole – well more of a slight dent – come a few days from now, but right at this moment, I do not think I can. I am fortunate to be sitting with my mother and to have a good and loving relationship with her. So many of my friends cannot say the same. For this I am grateful. For this & for those who have mothered me, I will celebrate this day.

My wish is to never feel this emptiness again, but I know it is not realistic. Every era of my life has new losses related to infertility, new reasons to feel the lack. I had to leave my nephew’s wedding reception for a time because of racking sobs, for example. During that time, I was not thinking regularly about this lack of kids. Seeing my sister dance with her son broke open a dam of emotion and grief.

In my week as a whole, this topic has not dominated. When I work and give myself to helping others, I can set aside pain and fear. I can do the same when I am creating. Taken together, this week’s days were full of work that I know has impacted a person or two. So, until Friday, my thoughts were not dwelling on the topic of this reflection. Up until then, I figured my reflection would be about the way a mountain of small problems is harder for me to manage than one big disaster.

I use the behavioral chain/thought chain concept in my work often. The idea that our thoughts dictate emotion which dictate behavior. It is the basic idea that truly saved me from my recurring depression and deep grief. I know it works, and it is Biblical (take ever thought captive). I know this. And yet, on days like today, I find it most difficult to practice. Because, I am not just grieving my losses and lesses, I might be imagining slights that probably don’t exist. Or am I expecting too much from those I love?

My mind emptied of thoughts on this, at least thoughts that are constructive. I should probably end. The sun will come up tomorrow, and I will feel better, but I will still be childfree and all that comes with it.

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Valerie LK Martin

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