“Mother’s Day is always a struggle for me because people believe I am not a mother. I mean I know that Mother’s Day is really to celebrate your mother but these days it is about celebrating your children because people are busy putting up pictures of their children and wishing each other happy Mother’s Day, and I find it hard,” the woman said.
She delivered the words haltingly as if it was a struggle to put them into sentences and as if she was searching for the right things to say.
She is in her late forties and many assume that Pam (not her real name) is not a mother. It hurts her because even though she does not have a child today she did give birth to two children.
“Sometimes is like I want to scream and at other times I get so vex. Why people must just assume? And then sometimes it gets to me and I would go home and cry because they don’t know the pain I go through,” Pam said quietly.
We were having this conversation just days before Mother’s Day and she explained that it was even more difficult for her now since her mother had passed.
“Sometimes I does feel like not getting out of me bed on that day. To tell you the truth, sometimes I just don’t because it is not easy. I spend too many Mother’s Day crying,” she said.
“My first child was a boy and he was big when he dead. It was sudden and you know they say you does get over it… But that is not true I am not over it and I never will be over it. And what hurts more sometimes is that people who know my son dead would make comments like I don’t have children. My son is still alive in my heart.”
Her eyes closed as if she was recalling an image of her son, she went on: “I still remember the day he died like if it was yesterday. I still remember the hour when I get the news and I does never forget how I feel when I first see him dead. It is something you never forget and is something I don’t want nobody to go through.”
She went quiet.
I shifted uncomfortably, not sure what to say. Pam’s pain right at that moment was almost tangible. I wanted to weep for her.
Pam’s eyes closed; mine remained opened and I stole small glances at her.
I was beginning to feel guilty since I had introduced the subject of Mother’s Day triggering Pam’s conversation on this painful issue; I knew she had lost her son but had momentarily forgotten.
“The pain is there but it is like you learn to live with it. You go to work, you go out and you do normal things and you have fun sometimes and is like the pain not there, but then it just comes back, like in your quiet moments. And how I could forget now when Mother’s Day is next week?” Pam began talking just as suddenly as she had stopped.
“I was pregnant with my second child but she died at birth. So you see, I had two children and people would still say ‘you is not a mother.’ How they know I am not a mother? I carried children just like them. How they could say I am not a mother?” Pam’s questions were rhetorical.
“My son woulda married and have children by now. But I can never have grandchildren. I could only imagine. Girl take care of your children and enjoy them because you never know what the future holds,” Pam said philosophically.
I wanted to stop her. I want to tell her not to take the conversation down that path but I hesitated. In fact I did not know how to stop her, so I nodded in agreement.
She continued: “I still living you know, girl. I still enjoying life it is not like I want to dead or something. But the pain is real and sometimes it is hard and I get really hurt when people just say things like I don’t have children. Like I don’t have to go home early because I don’t have children. I had those days. I was working when my son was small.
“I don’t talk about the baby that dead at birth, because you know why? The hurt is not the same like my son. He grow and turn big and he dead sudden. Is not like he was sick or something; it was sudden. Today he alive and tomorrow he dead, just like that.”
Then maybe because she felt she had said enough, or she sensed I was uncomfortable, Pam just changed the subject, moving right into the mundane business of what she was cooking the next day and how she sometimes found it hard to come up with a menu.
I quickly joined in, welcoming the change to a light subject matter as I found myself deeply affected by what she had shared. That night, I stayed up late thinking about how painful Mother’s Day, which at the time was just two days away, would be for Pam.