The meaning of Mother’s Day evolves over the course of a lifetime. For most women, there is a progression from honoring our mothers – to being honored as mothers ourselves.
If you’re coping with infertility, Mother’s Day holidays become an ever-increasing thorn in the side the longer you go without having your own baby.
Here are five ideas to help you get through Mother’s Day as emotionally whole as possible.
The holidays are never easy for those in the midst of an infertility diagnosis or fertility treatments. Mother’s Day is especially painful, but others might forget how painful it is for you. That pain may be compounded if your mother is no longer alive or you don’t have a good relationship with her.
Preparing yourself, your partner, and others ahead of time is a good idea. Let them know that you’re feeling especially sensitive this year, and it might mean a last-minute change of plans or the need to bow out of a specific event early. Just knowing you can often relieve some of the pressure.
Here’s a little talked-about secret regarding mothers and Mother’s Day. Is the first Mother’s Day precious? Yes. Do moms appreciate their little darlings’ attempts to create a Mommy-centric day? Of course. However, many moms of busy households secretly acknowledge that having a partner- and child-free Mother’s Day is one of the best gifts they could possibly receive. Why? Because it’s the only way to enjoy a day free of others’ needs, wants, or demands – a Woman’s Oasis!
Perhaps this Mother’s Day, you can check in with the women in your family or your friend group and see who’s on board for a Mother’s Day weekend getaway for adult women only. Pamper yourselves and enjoy space that helps you honor self-care needs without any painful reminders that you aren’t a parent – yet!
If that isn’t an option, talk to your partner or a close friend and see if they’re interested in a day-long or weekend getaway. You’re not the only one who may struggle to celebrate Mother’s Day, even if infertility isn’t their reason, so your invitation may be greatly appreciated.
We are strong advocates of self-care while pursuing fertility treatments. Check-in with your mom (and/or your MIL) and see if you can honor her on a date or time outside the traditional Mother’s Day Sunday.
Then, spend Mother’s Day solo, pampering yourself and doing things you love to do or haven’t done in a while – such as:
- Taking yourself out for a great meal while reading your favorite book or magazine.
- Heading to the movie theater and watching a movie.
- Going on a great hike somewhere beautiful.
- Play your favorite card or board games with your partner and/or other childless friends.
- Taking a “Sunday drive” along one of your favorite roads or routes.
- Giving yourself complete permission to skip all of the chores
- Dig into a favorite book with your favorite snacks.
- Whatever appeals to you in the moment.
It’s okay to skip a Mother’s Day here and there over a lifetime, so give yourself a break.
One of the things we recommend that women do during the two-week wait is to really spend time being present with all of the feelings that emerge. This may even mean dramatic wailing, sobbing, and beating fists on the floor. If you’re someone who keeps her feelings bottled up most of the time, use the Mother’s Day catalyst to release it all.
Coping with infertility means fielding a tremendous amount of anxiety, sadness, worry, anger, grief, resentment, and the list of strong emotions goes on. It’s much healthier to let them out than keep them in, but there’s rarely time to do this among the busy calendar of work, personal life, and other responsibilities. So take this Mother’s Day off, find a safe space to be by yourself, and then let the emotions roll on through and out. You’ll be the better for it.
Sometimes the best way to cope with something is to dive right in. For example, some of our patients say that being the brunch, BBQ, or other Mother’s Day even hostess is one of the best ways to face Mother’s Day head-on but without getting too emotionally attached. This way, they still get to honor their mother, MIL, and any living grandmothers, but the planning and busyness keep them distanced from their intense emotions.
If you go this route, we recommend doing something non-traditional (check out these 43 Mother’s Day Activities for inspiration). Perhaps skipping the normal “brunch and gifts” vibe will change the day’s energy altogether, making it less painful or challenging for you.
However, if you go this route, we recommend circling back to #4 once the guests have gone so your feelings still have a healthy way to express themselves.
The team at the Reproductive Resource Center has decades of experience supporting infertility patients through facing Mother’s Day while coping with infertility. It’s not easy, but with the correct diagnosis and personalized treatment plan, we trust you’ll find the best and most forward-thinking solutions toward making your own Mother’s Day a reality down the road.