Coping with Infertility on Mother’s Day
While Mother’s Day is a day that definitely warrants celebration and gratitude, we know that for those walking through infertility it’s a double-edged sword that can feel isolating. Over 6 million women are affected by infertility in the US alone. Everywhere we look this week will be not-so-subtle reminders of motherhood: gifts on sale at stores, TV commercials, recognitions at church, or social media posts.
To the woman who is knee-deep in infertility struggles and dreading what this upcoming weekend entails, we see you and we care about you.The grief and emotions of infertility are hard. Really, really hard.
You are not alone even though at times you may feel like it. There are other women who stand alongside you in the trenches. We all come in different shapes and sizes with our infertility journeys, but we understand the gut wrench of a test that came back negative (again), rearranging schedules and priorities for medical appointments, failed embryo transfers, disrupted adoptions, another month crossed off the calendar when trying to conceive, and the information overload that’s needed just to be aware of what’s going on with your own body.
We’ve asked some women in our circle on ways that help them cope with infertility when Mother’s Day rolls around. Here were a few suggestions that we hope provide some relief and encouragement for you on this upcoming weekend:
Don’t Suffer in Silence
Being able to pinpoint exactly how you’re feeling is sometimes difficult, let alone acknowledging it to other people. But bringing in a circle of trusted people who care about you will help you to process and heal. We were made to be in community. Tell them what’s helpful for you (to ask questions, to just chat, to go do something, etc.) We all need people to spur us on when our hearts grow weary. You are allowed to feel mixed emotions on this day. You are allowed to grieve, to be hopeful, to be angry, or to be envious. You can even simultaneously be happy while celebrating your own mother or friends but sad for yourself. You are allowed to acknowledge these things out loud.
Guard your heart
Sometimes our triggers come out of left field and it’s hard to know when or where they will happen. Other times we already know what we need to carefully consider. If you know that social media, shopping at stores, or attending a family event might be better to put on pause during this time, you have permission to do that. If your family is getting together for a Mother’s Day celebration, have an honest conversation with them on how you’re feeling about it. Maybe you want to attend but would like your family to be aware of the sensitivity you’ll face. Maybe being around people on this will emotionally drain you and you need to respectively decline the invite. Whatever it is, think through it ahead of time so that you can guard your heart and mind in a healthy way.
Take care of yourself
Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and refresh your spirit. What does that activity look like for you? Spa day, bike ride on a local trail, painting on a canvas, or sight-seeing a new place? Take a self-care day, give yourself immense grace, and pursue after the things you love. Plan a fun adventure for yourself and your partner. It’s okay to focus on something different this day.
Remind yourself of the truth and your worth
Knowing your worth and your identity is important. Your identity is much more than your infertility journey. This does not invalidate the long and painful journey you’ve endured, but it serves as a reminder of your value. If you feel like a train wreck on Mother’s Day, that’s okay. It’s a mixed emotions type-of-day and you can mourn and celebrate all at the same time. If you feel optimistic and hopeful for the upcoming season, that’s okay too. Wherever you land this Mother’s Day, remind yourself that you’re worthy and whole with or without a baby.
Even when you are in the trenches, you are still a warrior. Even on the days where you are feeling your best and ready to start again, you are still as valuable as the day before. Feel all the feels on this day that you need to, but continue to remind yourself of the truth too. Through all you have endured you are resilient, cherished, beautiful, valuable, courageous and truly inspiring.
If you’re waiting for your own miracle this Mother’s Day, we see you. We hope that some of these suggestions bring you a little peace and comfort as you navigate the days ahead.