Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dedicated to my grandma

I recently joined an online support group for childless Mormon's. Its been wonderful to connect with others like myself. A recent email passed through the group and I loved it.

"I think the problem with praising women as mothers is that the way it is phrased. Trying to parse into more mathematical/logical basis
A=B, B=C, A=C
A woman is a mother.
Mothers should be praised.
Therefore a woman should be praised.

The problem is that A is often not true and so you get the question if a woman isn’t a mother, should she be praised? If a woman is not a mother, is she still a woman, or is she now something less, not quite human?" (Comment by tami — May 23, 2011 @ 9:39 pm)

"Non-mothers aren’t hurt that mothers are being praised, they are hurt about the assumption that woman must be mothers." (Meridith's addition to the above comment)

I have struggled so much with this. I wasn't a mother, so what was I? I felt like I was of little importance to others if I couldn't be a mom.

Here's my moment of truth. Bare and raw honest truth. Ever since my mother in-law and my own mother became grandma's, I have felt like they didn't need me anymore. I have felt like if I can't give them grandchildren, they will just brush me aside and forget about me.

In trying to protect my heart, I've acted out on this. It seemed easier to cut them out, before they cut out me. I didn't do it purposely, but on some mental and emotional level, I did what I thought best to protect my heart. I pulled back and tried to disappear.

I am blessed with amazing in-laws who didn't let me get away with that. They seemed to know when I needed my space. But they also seemed to know when I needed them to urge me back. I was constantly testing my relationship with them, but they never gave up on me. It has been such a relief to not fight against their love anymore.

With my family it has been different. It was easy to be involved at first. After all, my sister and I were both expecting at the same time. So even if I didn't get to give my family the first grand baby, I would be very close behind.

Then halfway through the pregnancies, we were no longer expecting. I couldn't find a way to co-exist while my sister was still expecting. It hurt too much to remember what almost was. When my nephew was born, I struggled so much. I felt like I was crying out, but was being ignored. I think now that I wasn't speaking the same language, in a matter of speaking. My absolute quietness was not me asking to be left alone (well, sometimes it was), but really it was a plea to be noticed. To be acknowledged. I didn't become a mother last summer, but I was still a person. I just wanted someone to notice that. Not acknowledge me as an aunt or anything else, but just acknowledge me and that I still existed. That I was still of worth somehow. I admit, I buried my heart deep, but it was still there.

This is where I dedicate this post to my grandma. I saw her last week for the first time in a long time. The last time she came out, my nephew was only days old. The same nephew that was 2 days younger then our almost baby. I wasn't stable enough to put myself in that position. So I didn't go see my grandma.

I knew she would be out for my nephew's birthday, and I was a little nervous. What would we say to each other? Would I even be noticed? I know it was a party for my nephew, not me. I didn't want all of the attention, I just wanted to be noticed. That's actually a big reason I agreed to make two full size cakes. If for no other reason, those cakes would get me noticed, even if for just a second. What can I say, I cry out for attention in odd ways.

Thank you grandma for noticing me. Thank you for spending so much time visiting with me. I agree that your great grandson is a cutie, but thank you for not evolving around just him. Thank you for asking about my weight loss, my hair, my job, my crafts, my husband, etc.

Here's another moment of truth. In years past, I would have let that visit be enough. But I felt so alive after that visit, that I made a point to go see her again the next night after I got off work. I think my 2nd visit surprised her just as much as it did me. Again, it was a wonderful visit.

I got home that night and noticed the change. I'm not scared of my family anymore. Those two visits gave me so much healing. Thank you grandma.


  1. Savannah, ever since your post about taking down your adoption profile, I have been wanting to tell you how much I love you and how I wish we lived close so we could be great friends! I had this long response written about how I love your decision and how you are so amazing, but blogspot was not cooperating that day and I couldn't comment. So, now I will tell you...I think you are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story with us, even if some of us have never even met you :o) By the way, what is that support group you joined? Oh, and I love your new blog heading!

  2. It does drive me crazy that people think all mothers are special and should be praised. There are some truly bad mothers out there. All women are not special either, there are some truly bad women out there. I am not a mother, but I am special because of who I am. Mothers are not better than me just because their ovaries/uterus works.

    Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad you're not feeling left out :)

  3. You are so good at expressing the way you feel. I have felt similarly about my family at times. Like I am no longer needed. That I am not valued in the way as my sisters and sisters in law. It is tempting to withdraw. I am amazed by who you are. I am amazed by how far you have come. You inspire me. Thank you for sharing how you feel!

  4. Hi Savannah,

    I've read a few of your posts and your adoption journey, and I'm so touched by your experiences. I've been going through my own infertility story for the last 5 years, but I'm only just starting to see the value in community and support. There are aspects of your journey that I'd like to ask you about, things I haven't figured out yet that I need help with. I know this is weird coming from a total stranger, but could you email me? I don't see an address or I'd have emailed you - believe me, I know how weird this sounds! You can look at my blog if you want to check I'm a regular person, and if you get this and are so inclined, I'd love to talk to you more - ukyankoz(at)gmail(dot)com.

    Thank you,
    UK Yankee

  5. UK Yankee, email me at little1_4us[at]yahoo[dot]com

  6. Your post was so touching - I am going through this too with my mom. When I talk to her she brings up my sister's baby and goes on and on about how wonderful it is to be a grandma. I feel so hurt, but I don't want to seem like a bitter or selfish person, so I just push the hurt down. I no longer feel good when I get a call from my mom. It is so sad. It is wonderful to hear you are visiting with your grandma. I hope things grow for the better for you. You are a strong woman.