Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Power of Definitions

Mother - [muhth-er]
1. a female who has given birth to offspring
2. one's female parent.
3. a mother-in-law, stepmother, or adoptive mother.
That is the dictionary's definition of a mother.  It that the only correct answer? Does a "mother" have to have a human child to meet this definition?

"What Is a Mother? A mother is someone to shelter and guide us,
To love us, whatever we do,
With a warm understanding and infinite patience,
And wonderful gentleness, too.

How often a mother means swift reassurance
In soothing our small, childish fears,
How tenderly mothers watch over their children
And treasure them all through the years!

The heart of a mother is full of forgiveness
For any mistake, big or small,
And generous always in helping her family
Whose needs she has placed above all.

A mother can utter a word of compassion
And make all our cares fall away,
She can brighten a home with the sound of her laughter
And make life delightful and gay.

A mother possesses incredible wisdom
And wonderful insight and skill -
In each human heart is that one special corner
Which only a mother can fill!

                         - Katherine Nelson Davis "

To me, a mother is someone who cares and loves for another living thing. A person who nurtures, supports,  comforts, and tends to others. One can "mother" a pet, a husband, a friend, a business, an idea, a passion. A child does not have to have passed through your vaginal canal for a woman to give birth to something.

To be a mother, there doesn't have to a human child in your arms or in your body. If the love for a child is in your heart, you are a mother.

I am wishing everyone a Happy Mother's day. Whether with us currently, too briefly, or still  waiting to be conceived, we all have children in our heart. And that is where true mothers lie.


And while on the topic of definitions, what is "infertile"?  The Boy got me thinking on this the other day. Can I technically be considered infertile? I've managed to get pregnant twice in 4m, and both prior to the 1yr TTC mark.

No where does it say that infertility is the inability to get and/or stay pregnant, with or without medical intervention. It is usually determined by age and length of time. No where does it talk about reproductive disorders equating to infertility, such that conditions X, Y, or Z will complicate or prevent conception and pregnancy.

Neither I nor the Boy meet the "accepted" definition of infertility, even through we both have our own individual issues in the baby-making/keeping department. If we hadn't been proactive, I doubt either pregnancy would have occurred. We'd still be here, 11m later not sure why things haven't happened. Wasting month after month, not knowing we had 0.01% chance of any success each cycle.

Am I actually "infertile"? I don't know, but I can identify with the IF community far more than with the general TTC or pregnant population. I have the same fears, concerns, and hopes as all of you. I lack the comfort, innocence, and naivety of conception and pregnancy that the large majority of women get to experience. I may be pregnant today, but tomorrow still looms large and imposing. There is still 8m between now and the possibility of bringing a child home. So much can happen in the blink of an eye, let alone 8m. I can't even begin to think of myself as fertile until I'm holding that baby in my arms, safe at home...


  1. This made me tear up, thank you and happy mothers day to you too :)

    Infertility is hard to define...but the fact that you identify with this community shows you have enough understanding and experience to be a part of it. xo

  2. Great post. Definitions are tough - they can be powerful, but too strong as well.

    Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

  3. thanks for a beautiful post and for broaching the subject of what defines infertility- i struggle with that a lot since I am "younger" and found out very quickly into trying that something was really wrong. I definitely think the definition needs work:)

    Hope you had a wonderful mother's day!