I Am Not Your Mom
I’m sorry, but I just can’t take it any longer. My journey with my son Amos has led us down many medical paths and my role of mother is one I take earnestly and is truly, my proudest role and accomplishment. Being mother to four children is my proudest role, but so often when I walk into a hospital, I am left feeling like this position is an ill-fitting and paltry hat. The role of mother is lovely, but the classification as “Mom” depletes the amazingness of that role.
Mom. Mom. Mom. I hear this name hundreds of times per week. Also, mommy and mama. The chosen word depends on the voice that carries its simple syllables. Mom is the casual word that floats by me for questions, worries, tattling, and love. I adore being mother to my four children and even embrace it from the mouths of my husband or extended family, “ask your mom they may say.” My decision is often deferred to, after all, mom knows best. We all know it’s true and not many people are willing to argue the alternative, a virtual jump into the lion’s den. Only mommy will do is valid so often and sometimes I disparage this overwhelming need for me, but I am honored. Mom.
Medical procedures with Amos have required many trips to physicians and specialists; he has had three surgeries and two sets of ear tubes. He’s been hospitalized twice, once for RSV as a tiny fellow and again, last spring, for pneumonia. It is in these hospital settings that the name “Mom” has taken on negative weight, at least for me. When a physician introduces himself, he never says that he is “Dad,” though it is likely. No, he or she is often “Dr. So and So” and so the painful dance begins. One where I call him by the name specified and my formal name is ignored and I’m casually referred to as “Mom.” Do you see how that feels insulting or belittling?
I always make sure to say my name clearly; yes, I refer to myself as Adrian and my son is Amos. Not to hard to remember but so often, there is not even an effort made. I am called mom again and again and by men and women that are surely not my children. To be called “Mom” is a slight, a dismissive status indicating inferiority for the person that should be held in high esteem.
These days I speak up with my annoyance at the casual use of a title I reserve for those four people that suckled at my breast. My own observation and speaking up is usually met with a brief silence and then the reasoning; the most cited one is that, “I didn’t remember your name.” I believe this but am left thinking, make an effort, learn my name, read my chart and remember. After all, we traveled far to reach you, researched your abilities and chose you. Please take the time to acknowledge those mothers that have placed their hope and trust in you.
Though I do admire you, I am not your mom.