Silent Sorority

Infertility Survivors Finally Heard

April 24, 2015

M.O.M. — From Today Forward It Means ‘Mentor of Many’

Long-time readers will recall that one particular three-letter word once had the power to torment me.

It prompted off-the-chart levels of irritation approaching the second Sunday in May. For instance, you may remember the time in 2009 I asked for reader input on greeting card ideas that we’d never find as a way to let off some steam. (I recognize we’re late here in North America. This particular marketing mayhem arrives in March for the British, some current and many former colonies and some European countries.)

Happily, with the latest online technology tracking my every click and my spam filter getting smarter with each passing year the once bothersome advertisements are a shadow of their former selves.  Helping matters further, I’m just not as bothered as I once was by the besotted ‘momminess’ that took root and grew like mad the past decade or more.

This sentiment was echoed in Tracey’s latest post on the impending royal birth. In short, we have moved on. Hence the baby bump coverage and the marketing blitzes we endured a few years ago just don’t feel as egregious as they once did. And, might I add, that is absolutely fabulous!

A hearty thanks, also, to the nerds, geeks and algorithm tinkerers who have zeroed in on my online preferences and lifestyle. While you know much more about me than I would have ever thought possible (and that’s sorta creepy) you have made my online experience much more enjoyable as a result.

Furthermore, that torment I spoke of earlier? That was then.  This is now…

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I also decided it was time open up our thinking.  I am officially seizing control of those three letters.  From this day forward M.O.M. belongs to all women who generously contribute their talents, their care and their time in service to others.

Hitherto, I declare M.O.M and the off-putting self-importance it once commanded so last decade. Heck even the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey found nearly half of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have kids in 2014, up from 46.5% in 2012 to 47.6% in 2014.

Therefore, I officially expand the meaning of said word to encompass a broader cross-section of women.square

M.o.M. from this day forward now means: Mentor of Many.

When I see an advertisement asking me to remember “Mom” … I will instinctively think about Mali, Cristy, Mel, Marni, Angela, Lisa, Loribeth, Andrea, Keiko, Tracey, Klara, Catherine, Amel, Cathy, Kathy, Renee, Lara, Amy, Jody, Kait, Carolyn, Melanie, Kristen, Justine, Lori, Rachel, Karen, Kirsten, Gabrielle, Lesley, Kymberli, Jessica, Kathleen, Sarah, Kinsey, (Misfit — I realized I do not know your first name!)… those are just the few blogger names that popped to mind, but the list goes on and on and on and spills into offline life as well.

What do all these women share in common? A desire to be the best they can be and to make the world a better place than the one they came into.

They are the embodiment of the idea: Mentor of Many.

Now, dear readers, tell me about one of your favorite M.O.Ms and what makes her so special.

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Tapestry of Voices 17 Replies to “M.O.M. — From Today Forward It Means ‘Mentor of Many’”
Pamela Tsigdinos
Pamela Tsigdinos
Writer, blogger and, oh, yeah, infertility survivor. My memoir, Silent Sorority, tells the whole story. There's a movie in there somewhere. Given the quirkiness needed to relate it all I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence would be a good fit.


17 thoughts on “M.O.M. — From Today Forward It Means ‘Mentor of Many’

    Author’s gravatar

    Love the new layout!

    I like this M.O.M. concept! I’ll play! Through blogging I’ve encountered many M.O.M.s, but two that come to mind immediately are Klara and another email friend that found me through blogging (who prefers to remain anonymous in public). Klara is….amazing. She is a true friend, one that offers me an intellectual challenge and that I can share the good, the bad, and the ugly with and know that there will be no judgement. And the nameless friend is equally amazing. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her, too.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention you on my M.O.M. list too. It was your book that led me to your blog that led me to “my people.” Not feeling quite as lonely has been huge. I know I wouldn’t be where I am if not for the blogging community. I’m eagerly anticipating your new book! (Is it being released on the iBook store too?)

    Author’s gravatar

    Currently, my favourite mentor of many is a woman who teaches coding with me. She is energetic, smart, and willing to jump in and do anything. She obviously loves the kids in the class and does this with her own free time because she wants to make the world a better place. She’s patient. She drives a really long distance to get to our teaching space. She was a girl coder long before there was any impulse in the world to create girl coders. (She’s probably in her late 40s.) And she’s a huge cheerleader and problem-solver and an all-around fun person to hang out with several hours a week. I’ve told her all of this before, but this is a good reminder to tell her all of this again.

    Author’s gravatar

    I adore you and this post. And I am touched to be in such wonderful company. You are a M.O.M., Lisa Manterfield, Lisa M., Lesley Pyne, Lori, and Loribeth…and so many more. I am so grateful to be part of this M.O.M. community.
    Not sure if I ever wrote about it but on a recent Mother’s day I was attending a brunch where the restaurant was giving flowers to mothers. The hostess asked me if I was a mother and I answered, “to my dog”. I didn’t get a flower. This year, dear Pamela, I will say , “Yes, I am” and maybe I will get a flower.

    Author’s gravatar

    Love this! Especially because this definition is one I fully support (birthing a baby shouldn’t be the only criteria).

    On that note, thank you for being an amazing M.O.M.

    Author’s gravatar

    Love your new look, Pamela!

    I can’t say much about my current M.O.M, but suffice to say, she is making a huge difference in my life with her insights, talents and mere presence regarding a gnarly issue I have going on.

    I love that you recognized all those mentors. Many of them — and you — I consider my own mentors.

    Author’s gravatar

    Mentor of Many. I love it. Apart from you, dear Pamela, my mind bounced around so many women. Especially the women you’ve mentioned here in the blogosphere. But I’m going to tell you about Sarah, who worked for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust when I had my first ectopic. I wrote this in my very first blog (it was 44 words a day for 365 days on people I had encountered in my life):

    “Petite Sarah, aka Dr Who, has a wicked sense of humour and the biggest heart in the world. In the midst of her own pain, she helped thousands of us through ours. I came out of it a much better person because of her.”

    Like me, Sarah had two ectopics and wasn’t able to go on to have children. She’s since been stricken by a chronic illness, and life is permanently physically painful for her, but her light shines through and her humour shines through, and that in itself is a wonderful lesson. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her in London several times, when we had a few adventures (and wines), including trying to crash a BBC party (hence the Dr Who reference). She went on to work with at-risk teenagers, and I know will have made a difference to many. A lot of the lessons I talk about learning on my blog came from her, so along with all those women she helped 10-15 years ago, she’s still helping.

    She knows I adore her, but this is a good opportunity to remind her.

    Oh, and for the record, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa all celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May too.

    Author’s gravatar

    I am honored to be included in the list of M.O.M.s Thank you.
    Pamela – thank you for being a wonderful M.O.M. to us all.
    Kinsey – thank you for the compliments (I am blushing).

    I am thinking of all my M.O.M.s that I had in the past.

    There was one sister in the convent in Germany that I just adored . I was in this convent 7 times in my twenties, working there and learning German. And discovering many new things. What made Schwester Angela so special? She took time for me. For talking. For teaching me. She really was interested in getting to know me. And willing to share her vast knowledge with me.

    When I was heart-broken after 7-year relationship, I went there to heal my broken heart. It was her who taught me that I have to find my own happiness in me, not in others. (during the dark years of my infertility I lost this knowledge, but I am getting it back).

    Writing these lines made me realize that I haven’t visited the convent for almost 15 years. It is time to visit it again.

    (just a note for European readers: this Benedictin convent has a small hotel, so you can come there and stay with them… and find real peace there: Whenever there, my heart & soul were at peace).

    Author’s gravatar

    I don’t generally post, but I wanted to share a short story about a woman named Olga who touched me in one sentence. I honestly don’t know much about her, except that her life’s circumstances led her to have a somewhat solitary existence as an elderly lady.
    In 2003, I bought a little house by myself. It was a “fixer-upper.” I was single and unattached at the time and had a fair amount of free time, but a limited budget. I was determined to do as much as I could myself, limited only by my physical strength (or lack thereof), lack of experience, and sparse home-improvement knowledge.
    One hot summer day, I was ripping out layers of old carpeting alone. It was dirty, strenuous work. The job was taking longer than I anticipated, and I was close to tears. My determination was quickly turning into doubt.
    I took a break and was sitting on the front step, when Olga came out of her house, which was across the street and one house down from mine. Olga was around 90 years old. In the weeks after I first moved in, I could see her watching me when she was out in her yard. I got the feeling that she was sizing me up. I would imagine her watching me through her front window, even when I couldn’t actually see her.
    On that day hot day, she slowly walked up to me. I was surprised, because the other neighbors told me that she was antisocial and regretfully, I had been intimidated. One neighbor told me that she had never married. One thought he had heard that perhaps she had lost a beau in World War II. Whatever her story was, here she was, in the twilight of her life, living alone in her little house. I’m not sure if anyone really “knew” her.
    On that summer day, when Olga approached me, this is what she said:
    “You don’t think you are going to make it, but you are going to make it.”
    Over the years, when I have been struggling with things much weightier than yucky old carpeting, I have heard her words in my head.
    Olga died shortly thereafter.
    On Mother’s Day, I am planning on raising a glass to Olga.

    Author’s gravatar

    I am absolutely loving this new movement Pamela and happy to call you one of my “moms”…if it wasn’t for your book Silent Sorority, I am not sure I would have ever found a way to explain the difficulty we went through during those years of struggle! While some days the constant mommy, child updates can really annoy me, and living in the burbs where it pretty much runs everyones life, I feel like I am finding peace and happiness on our path. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews. I am content being a present aunt and mom to my dog! Traveling, taking an art class, hosting friends at the lake, being a great ear to friends due to my ability to not be wrapped up in my own life/kid balance. It’s not what I expected in life but if you let go of what should be and enjoy what it is, I find it’s a much more satisfying way to live! Cheers to all the M.O.Ms!!

    Author’s gravatar

    I love this (and your new look) Pamela, and I’m walking a bit taller today as you’ve being so kind as to include me on the list (thanks also to Tracey for the mention). I think it’s prefect because it’s absolutely what we do.
    I recently saw this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert ‘When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place, but if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope’
    I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years now (I started just before the last Royal Baby) and at the time I wasn’t sure I was strong enough. Reading that yourself, Lisa and Tracey had stood in the forest and moved on I knew I could too.

    I too have moved on a lot and I’m proud to call myself a M.O.M and it’s largely to inspiration from the 3 of you. So thank you Pamela for all you do to lead the way and to support those of us following behind you.

    Author’s gravatar

    Thanks for including me in your list, Pamela. :) I have to admit, M-Day still has the power, if not to hurt then to mightily irritate me :p but I do find it’s gradually gotten easier as the years have gone by. When I thought about it, I have had many childless/free women — some by choice, some by chance — who have shown me by their example that it’s possible to have a full and interesting life without children. I actually have quite a few cousins in my extended family (particularly on my mom’s side — some my mom’s age, some mine) who never had children but have had interesting jobs, volunteered in their communities, travelled extensively, and doted on their adoring nieces and nephews. When I was a pre-schooler, our family was “adopted” by a retired “spinster” schoolteacher. When she was 80 (!) she final fulfilled a lifelong dream and went on a trip to New Zealand where her sister had been a missionary. I think she did it more than once, too. A former coworker never had children (she help did raise two stepchildren, who get along better with her than their own mother!) but she has led an incredibly interesting life — travelled extensively, lived on three different continents — is always up for new adventures — and always has the best stories to tell. :) These are just a few examples of the top of my head, and there is absolutely nothing lacking in the lives of these women. :)

    Author’s gravatar

    Love this! What a great idea :) And so true. I had some wonderful mentors throughout my life who helped make me who I am, like my mom’s friend Anne and my aunt.

    Author’s gravatar

    Early this morning, I got the first news about Pamela’s new book and was introduced to the new meaning of M.O.M. From there, I went to the gym, where all the TV monitors were turned to news about “Mother’s Week” (yup, it’s no longer just a “Day”). I had my pick of reactions, and was delighted to discover that I started repeating my new mantra in my head: “I am a Mentor of Many, I am a Mentor of Many….” Thank you, Pamela!

    Author’s gravatar

    This post and thread are wonderful. I could write a reply to every single one of you! You are all amazing. I would say that each and every person who posted here is a M.O.M. and certainly an inspiration to me. At the top of the list for me is Pamela, who helped show me the way by example how to move on post failed IVF and all of the turmoil, negative emotions and judgements from others that go with it. Also, my sister who is childless by choice, my friend Alivia who is an accomplished author, my friend Cory who is talented artist, and my friend Kerri who is a video producer.

    And to help further Pamela’s cause, I wrote the below post yesterday:

    Keep rocking it, ladies… I mean, MENTORS! :-)

    […] However, with this blog post, I also want to acknowledge all the women who have mothered me through my ups and downs the past several years. You may recall one May a few years back, I wrote this post: M.O.M. — From Today Forward It Means ‘Mentor of Many’ […]

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