When you’re a woman my age going through cancer treatment, you’re constantly asked at every visit if there’s any chance you might be pregnant, and regardless of your answer, they administer a pregnancy test. It seems these tests are given routinely before they proceed with almost anything – and each of my visits to the hospital or clinic is just such an occasion.
Honestly, I understand the need for precaution, and it’s not so much the weekly pregnancy testing itself that bugs. What’s annoying is that they repeatedly relay to me the negative result. They sometimes skip sharing the details of my blood counts, but they never miss telling me that I’m not pregnant. Why do I need to know that there’s nothing to know? I get it. I can’t have kids. I’ll spare the world from the terror of my offspring. Can we please just stop reminding me of my infertility every single week?
Mother’s Day has generally brought up mixed emotions for me, since I have no real mother of my own to celebrate. But looking around me this Mother’s Day as the 35-year-old woman that I am, I now think about motherhood from both ends of the spectrum – having a mom and being a mom. The former happenstance I always knew to be beyond my control, and the latter I’ve learned, in the last few years, is likewise not up to me.
Now, I understand that there are other ways to have children. Science is amazing. Kids need to be adopted. Nothing is 100 percent. And I shouldn’t prematurely mourn the loss of something that I may not have yet lost. But I know the odds are largely against me.
So, this Mother’s Day, I want to thank all of you mothers and mother-figures in my life who, despite insane schedules and responsibilities, continue to bless me with your care and wisdom. But I also want to honor the privilege of motherhood, which many challenged women like myself aspire towards but may have a difficult path getting there. I wish all of you moms memorable quality time with your families this weekend, and please hug a little one for me, because they’re way too germy for me to hang out with right now.
Oh, and if you have cute kids or grandkids, I’d love photos to adorn my hospital room!