Mother's Day with InfertilityMay 03, 2022
As if your infertility is not already top of mind, certain holidays can bring it front and center.
It’s not just a holiday, it’s a reminder.
A reminder that you’re not where you want to be.
A reminder of what you’re missing.
A reminder of how hard you’re trying.
A reminder of what you’ve lost.
So, yeah, not wanting to celebrate, wanting to avoid the holiday or any mention of it, and feeling triggered by Mother’s Day with infertility can be expected when you think about it.
And unfortunately, the day itself isn’t the only hard part. Any mention of the holiday in the week leading up to it impacts you too.
Why on Mother's Day infertility hits so hard
It helps to understand why this holiday can be hard. Some of the most common reasons this holiday can be hard:
- You are grieving expectations that were not met
- You feel left out from your friends and family who will be celebrating
- Another year has passed by with no baby in your arms or belly
- It’s a reminder for what you want, don’t have - and are trying EVERYTHING to get
- You worry about it as it approaches and have it impact the days leading up to it too
So, if you find yourself in a position where you’d rather avoid or skip the day vs celebrating this year, here are 5 ways to protect yourself this Mother's Day. Because you are worth putting yourself, your needs and your heart first this weekend.
5 ways to protect yourself for Mother's Day
1. Stay off social media on Sunday AND Monday
You know you’ll be seeing posts from people you know, from accounts you don’t follow, even from businesses wishing and celebrating this day. If it doesn’t feel like a day worth celebrating to you, remember that’s OK, and by creating (and following) this boundary of not watching it unfold for others can help protect your heart. I say to stay off on Monday too because some people will be delayed in posting, and some posts are not shared chronologically so you will see things from the weekend.
2. Make fun plans that have NOTHING to do with Mother’s Day
By not spending so much time on social media, make sure to fill that time, and the day with something that makes you happy. Your plans today don’t have to be at all related to mothers day. Church and brunch out might be filled with families so please keep that in mind. At the end of the day, try to treat this just like any other Sunday. Try to plan something fun that you can look forward to, and even ask yourself that day, "What do I need today?" There is no right or wrong answer. While some might want to just sleep all day, others might want to binge watch their favorite show (and if you want a suggestion for something not related to motherhood that will also make you happy, I encourage you to check out Ted Lasso!). You might want to tackle that home organization project, or meal prep frozen meals to help make the week ahead a breeze. Remember - there is no wrong answer, as long as you’re doing what feels good to you.
3. Let people close to you know ahead of time that the day might be hard for you to be fully present.
This can be hard. We are so used to showing how strong we are, smiling through the pain or tears. I encourage you to pick a few close people to open up to that Sunday will be hard for you. It’s okay if you need to skip out on your family's celebration today if it will be too hard. Setting yourself and your family up for success by saying something like, "Hey, as you know we’re trying to have a baby and it's been harder and taking longer than we’d like. Mothers day this year is feeling really hard for me." And then add in what you want or need. Is that to stay off the family group text wishing everyone a happy Mother's Day? Is it skipping out on the family brunch? Is it asking that you be given space for a few days? Only you know what you need.
4. Come up with a mantra that takes away the sting of the day that you can repeat over and over again every time Mother’s Day is mentioned or you feel sad.
You’ve spent a lot of time almost dreading this holiday. So, saying a mantra once or even 10 times won’t erase the impact of how you used to think. But if you’re ready to start looking forward, if you’re ready to make this not be such a hard day, then start replacing the old hurtful thought with one that makes you feel better. It does not have to be something too happy go lucky that feels false, it can be something that makes you feel neutral. I’ll throw out a few for you to try. Say each one of these while you close your eyes and check in to see how it feels in your body. Go with the one that feels the best to you - and also the most believable:
"Today is another Sunday"
"I will have my day to celebrate, just not today."
"Today I honor the mothers in my life"
"Miracles happen every day"
"All my feelings are welcome"
"One step, one breathe at a time"
"I am strong and can get through the day"
"I am loved, I am safe, I am loved, I am safe"
"I can and will be a mother, it’s just taking longer than I’d like"
5. Acknowledge how you’re feeling.
You don’t need to fight how you’re feeling. You don't need to shame or judge how you’re feeling. All your feelings are welcome. I see so many women who end up making the weekend harder on themselves because they think that how they feel makes them a bad daughter/sister/friend. And that’s not true. Your feelings are valid. Your feelings are common. And if you did not try to fight or judge them, you could feel them, which would then help you move on. Try to go through this week/weekend without judging your feelings. If you are spending time worrying or judging or shaming how you feel, you’re not getting anywhere. You’ll be stuck in that feeling all day, and will of course have a pretty crummy day. It’s a way of avoiding how you’re really feeling which then delays you from moving on.
This Mother's Day, try something different. Try being honest about how you feel, sharing with some people, putting up boundaries to both protect you from triggers and to protect your heart, make some fun plans that have nothing to do with Mother's Day, repeat kind words to yourself, and avoid social media. At the end of the day, it’s just another Sunday and you have already survived all the other hard days and holidays through infertility, you can get through this one too.
Thinking of you, knowing that it’s hard, knowing that you are stronger and believing that it won’t always be this hard.
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