Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Awareness February 13, 2012

I’m not sure if it’s the same where you live, but if you happen to be in the U.S., you’ll already be into several weeks of red and pink window displays and newspaper ads for romantic dinners, and great prices on jewelry and red roses. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and like so many holidays, it’s become a huge commercial venture here.

Despite my somewhat curmudgeonly attitude towards Hallmark holidays, I would ordinarily be taking the opportunity to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

But my resistance comes from somewhere deeper than a distaste for over-commercialism. Now that I am not going to be a mother, I have a more highly tuned awareness of the minefield of global holiday greetings. I know how hurtful it can be for a stranger to glibly wish me a happy Mother’s Day, not realizing what a painful thing that is for me to hear.

Because of this, I now appreciate that by wishing “Happy Valentine’s Day” to everyone I meet, I could inadvertently be reminding that person of what they don’t have. And I know how that feels. Shouldn’t Valentine’s Day, like Mother’s Day, be a personal exchange between the two involved parties?

So, I won’t be broadcasting a Happy Valentine’s Day message here. But instead, I wish you love and I wish you someone good to share your life with, whatever that means to you. If you have that love, cherish it. And if you don’t have it, I hope you find it soon.

Wishing you love today, in whatever form it comes.


9 Responses to “Awareness”

  1. monka Says:

    Thank you for that reminder and yes it should be something special and about the couple, not a heart shaped box of chocolates. I do like the idea of days where tribute is paid, but those days should be about the relationships in your lives. Which, for me, doesn’t include the check out girl at Safeway.

  2. Kathryn Says:

    I’ve been more aware of such things, too. The “If you have the best daughter/son/granddaughter etc.” things at FB still make me a little ill. But i have the most wonderful husband in the world – and several friends who desperately would like to be married. One even gently told me, when i was talking about “no babies” that she would give almost anything to have a husband and relationship like that we have. Brought me up quick.

    I struggle with all of this. When folks post sickly sweet things about their kids, or complaints about pregnancy or whatever, i’m quite uncomfortable with it (and skip by quickly) but don’t they have the right to be thankful for their blessings, too? I’m not sure i’ve yet figured the difference between thankfulness and bragging, however. So, while i’m thankful, i try to share that directly with the person of whom i am thankful, and try not to inflict more pain on someone in loss.

  3. Peaches Says:

    Even though I’m not single this year, I do remember very well what it felt like when I was so I tend to be careful what to say to people. There are of course happy single people as well but you never know…

  4. Klara Says:

    my infertiliy definetely made me more aware of other people’s feelings.
    But not infertility.
    I spent couple of my adult years single. And I remember how lonely it felt during the holidays. Valentine’s Day (that is present in the shops for whole month). And even more so, Christmas.
    So I am more careful with saying things to people that I do not know well…

  5. Christine Says:

    As a single (not by choice) woman, I do appreciate people’s sensitivity around this issue. So thanks for making this point.

  6. IrisD Says:

    I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. We don’t go out to dinner or get each other big expensive gifts… I might get some chocolate cake or I might make something extra special that day at home, but we certainly don’t make a huge fanfare over the whole thing. Though I’ve been with my husband for a long time, during much of that time we were not married and I wasn’t sure that we ever would be. So, Valentine’s Day was extra hard. My best friend was also going through a difficult time (also in a relationship that was essentially doomed in the long run), but I remember getting wonderful Valentine’s Day cards from her, filled with messages of friendship and love. I needed to hear those messages; to know that even if my “love” life was not where I wished it would be, I was still loved. It was still important to my family and my friends. So, I’ve made up my own definition of Valentine’s Day as a day to tell EVERYONE you love just how much you love them. At one point or another in our lives, we are likely to be alone: be it through divorce, widowhood, separation, or simply not finding that special someone. Not being a mother does not make us less of a person, and not being in a relationship does not mean we have less of a life. I am very happy that my relationship is strong and happy, but too often marriages are not happy, and relationships are not necessarily good. So my wish to all of you is that you be find peace and contentment in your lives with or without a partner.

  7. mina Says:

    I was going to write “well thanks a bunch for reminding me that I’m single, 40 and childless” since at first reading this all the bitterness came back even though I perfectly understood how your post was meant.
    Then i remembered that only two days ago I “received” a very nice message from a male friend (just a friend, really – he’s happiliy married) basically saying “Thank you for your friendship”. I received it in a very unusual way and was very suprised about it, since I don’t even really see him much, just exchange the occasional email/fb-message. And i just decided to take that as my Valentine’s day message and be happy about it instead of bitter. 😉

  8. Amel Says:

    Funny thing is that in Finland it’s called “Ystävänpäivä”, which actually translates into Friendship Day. 😀

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