cathy terranova blog mothers day

I have a complicated relationship with holidays. By far the most complicated of which is one to make Freud proud: Mother’s Day.

I stay home from church to avoid sermons about mothers and all we owe them and how God sees motherhood. I limit the mother-lauding Facebook statuses that I read. I generally avoid Mother’s Day activities of any kind.

Here are a few of the reasons I’d rather stay home than deal with this annual Sunday of brunches and flowers and cards.

Mother’s Day is a reminder of my broken relationship with my biological mother.
I don’t need to be reminded that a person who was supposed to love me and care for me, didn’t. I don’t have fuzzy childhood memories to look back on and think that those make it all worth it, because the deafening voice of reality is ready to prove all that wrong.
I really can’t take the overwhelming truth that the intensely complicated circumstances aren’t safe for me, even if I was ready for forgiveness.

My relationship with my adopted mom is super new.
I get insanely homesick on days like today because I want to run to my parents’ house and give my mom flowers and make her dinner and pour her wine and listen to her laugh. I don’t have a lifetime of memories with her. I spent 23 Mother’s Day’s without her. So living in a different state can be painful. I am so deeply touched by the fact that my parents chose to adopt me as an adult with baggage that the holidays I want the most to spend with them are Mother’s and Father’s Day.

I don’t want children.
This is the holiday when all the women who have had children are celebrated and all the women who want to have children are filled with expectant joy about when it will be their turn. We, the women who have no desire to have children, are usually looked at contemptuously when we say on the day of all mother-worship, that we would not like to be thus crowned today or any other day. This can be exceptionally guilt-inducing when we think of all the women who want so badly to bear children and can’t. Or, the people waiting and fighting the process of adoption. Or, those who have lost children through miscarriage or otherwise. I’ve tried forcing myself to want kids. But it was like a rubber band being stretched and when I got tired and eased up on the tension it snapped back into shape. Unfortunately, it hit my husband right in the metaphorical face.


My life has been one long, messy, relationship with motherhood. From my own biological mother, to my lack of desire to be a mother, to the frustration of having a wonderful woman decide to accept me as her daughter and then live states away; there are a few wrinkles to iron out before I can brave the outside world on Mother’s Day.
I understand that I am starting from a better place. I have a mother and a mother-in-law that love me as if they had given birth to me. Except, you know, neither did. The rest of it will just have to work itself out. Eventually, the pain of childhood will ease up on particularly sensitive days like today and I’ll feel better.
But, until then, I’ll be having mimosas with my dog.





photo credit: <a href=”″>It ain’t easy…</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

abuse, adoption, childhood, healing, Holidays, mother’s day, mothers, PTSD, recovery, Trauma