Mother’s Day is the day to celebrate the wonderful mothers and mother-figures in peoples’ lives. For most, it’s a very happy and joyous day, but for some this day can cause a lot of pain and sadness. As a woman who has experienced many years of hurt triggered by this holiday, I can honestly say that I, for the most part, don’t like Mother’s Day.

Now before you shout mean things and dub me as the worst mom ever, please try to understand my point-of-view. For seven long years I struggled with infertility. Mother’s Day served as a heart-breaking reminder that I was not a mom, although I wanted to be with every bit of my soul. I would have given every last dollar, in fact we almost did to the reproductive endocrinologist, to have someone call me mom. There was no baby growing inside my womb, no child wrapping his arms around my neck, and no little one to love. Despite being childless, I was still greeted at church with a Mother’s Day flower, strangers wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, and friends and family who weren’t aware of our struggles innocently asked when we were planning to have kids. With each Mother’s Day wish, the pain stung harder and deeper. Now that I am a mom, I can’t help but think of the women suffering from infertility and the immense pain that I know this day brings them and wish I could take it all away.

I never did conceive and eventually became a mom through adoption. Being an adoptive mom, I did not give birth; two amazing and selfless women did and should not be forgotten for it. In 1990, a special day to recognize women who have chosen adoption for their children was created and is known as Birth Mother’s Day. It is celebrated the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I love the fact that we, as a society, are becoming more accepting of adoption and want to recognize these selfless women, but have mixed emotions on whether it should be celebrated the day before Mother’s Day or on Mother’s Day itself. After all, these courageous women gave my children life. They are my boys’ first moms; the moms who grew, nurtured and loved my children in the womb. The decision they made for their babies was done completely out of love and I know is never forgotten. For this, I think Mother’s Day causes many birth mothers pain, a kind of pain I’ll never understand, but it saddens me none-the-less. I think of them while I’m celebrating my special day and worry that they are hurting. I need them to know how much I love and appreciate them, but sending a card for Birth Mother’s Day doesn’t seem like enough.

This brings me to shopping for Mother’s Day cards. Mother’s Day cards are a terrible reminder of just how unfair life can be. Almost every card I pick up is filled with words of appreciation, love, and joy putting mom on an unrealistic pedestal. No mother is perfect, but it seems at Mother’s Day, we’re supposed to pretend that she is and always has been. My mother, by her choice, has not spoken to me in almost two years. I know life hasn’t been easy for her, but she is still my mother and I love her. Her lack of presence in her my life hurts terribly. I cope well most days, but Mother’s Day brings out a huge feeling of emptiness over the relationship I’ve never been lucky enough to have with my mom. I see women happy, hugging and loving on their mothers and am envious of their relationships and it hurts my heart.

I keep my feelings of sadness and pain trapped inside and let my feelings of joy show for the sake of my children. I love them with every bit of my soul and seeing the excitement on their faces as they smoother me with Mother’s Day hugs and kisses and give me the sweet little cards they made at school is the greatest feeling ever! My heart wants to explode with happiness, but at the same time I am hurting and know that others are hurting too. It’s bitter-sweet.

When Mother’s Day comes this year, I want women to celebrate and be celebrated, but to also take a moment to think about those who are struggling with infertility, who have placed a child for adoption, who have lost a baby and are now childless, and with those who are grieving the loss of their mothers either from death or separation. This day is meant to be happy, but please be sensitive toward those who are hurting. Your smile and kind words may just be what they need to help get through this terribly tough day.