When Mother's Day is Really Hard
Mother’s Day is wonderful for so many reasons — but it’s also hard, really hard, for a lot of people, myself included. Truth be told, I haven’t enjoyed a Mother’s Day with my whole heart in more than a decade. I spent many of those Sundays in May grieving the loss of my own mother, who passed away of ovarian cancer in 2004. The day became even harder once Matt and I were in the throes of infertility. Desperately trying to become a mother without having my own mom around brought a new depth to my pain. Even after the birth of my two sons, and while preparing for the birth of our daughter, I find the lingering effects of infertility and her absence weigh heavily on my heart. (I’ve thought a lot about Harry this week and what having his own son means after losing his mom at such a young age.)
Last year, Mother’s Day became difficult for me for a third reason: the death of my closest mom friend, Kit Lai Darcy. She passed away suddenly in the summer of 2017; her son had just turned two and she was six months pregnant with a little girl. It was absolutely devastating.
Kit and I met as first-time moms just a month into parenthood. We lived around the corner from one another in Brooklyn, our sons were born just two days apart. Kit was a powerhouse PR executive at a prestigious beauty brand but our paths had never crossed until a meet-up in our moms’ group. We became fast friends and, more than that, true friends. I spent the best moments of my maternity leave with her and our friend Kim, perched on Kit’s comfy couch eating avocado toast. We bonded over breastfeeding and strategized over sleep training, laughing and crying through our exhaustion. And then, we were ready for round two! First Kim, then myself, then Kit got pregnant again.
The idea of “mom friends” is often scoffed at and dismissed as silly, unnecessary even. But I don’t know where I would be as a mom without the love and support of Kit and Kim. (If you have ever wondered: I have plenty of friends already, do I really need mom friends? My answer is YES HELL YES do yourself a favor and seek some out.)
The night before we moved to California, Kit invited us over for dinner. The moving van packed and our flight scheduled for early the next morning, I tearily said goodbye to New York and — only later did I realize — gave Kit one last hug. Four months later, she collapsed at work. The day of her memorial service was the day I gave birth to my second son.
Her husband, John, has courageously used writing as a way to share his own grief and continue her legacy. Vogue published his three pieces, the most recent one — which I hope you will read and share — is new today, a letter from John to Kit on Mother’s Day, of his life with their son, Dash. "At night when I put him down, the last thing that I see is the photo of you and him on the nightstand,” John writes. “The look of sheer joy on your face is so completely beautiful. It makes my heart sink. Before I leave the room, I always tell him the same thing: I will always love you and I will always take care of you. Sometimes, as an add-on, I tell him: You had the greatest mother in the history of the universe.”
Sending strength and love this Mother’s Day to those who find it hard, for all the reasons it can be hard. Whatever it takes to make the day easier for you — turning off your phone, reminiscing with loved ones, escaping to a movie, screaming into a pillow, eating all the ice cream — I hope you’ll do it. (I’ve done all of those tbqh.) If you have any coping mechanisms of your own, please share in the comments. I would love it if we could help one another.