Mother’s Day. You know it’s coming. In fact, with all the advertising, promotions, brunch specials, emotional greeting card commercials, and planned celebrations, it’s almost impossible to ignore. The intention of the day — to recognize and praise those women who so selflessly care, love, and raise their children — is fantastic. However, if you are someone who is struggling with infertility, this holiday can feel anything but celebratory.
So, what can you do to make this Mother’s Day as painless as possible?
Spend a little time and thought considering what Mother’s Day is likely to mean for you. The point of this exercise is not to amplify your feelings, or to fill you with dread, but to simply do a little strategizing. Do you already know that others will expect you to join them for a celebration or event? Think about everything that event entails. Will it be mostly welcoming, intimate, and enjoyable? Or is it likely to include a moment that will make you feel uncomfortable? For example, will you be attending a community event or religious service that asks all the mothers to stand up to be recognized, leaving you unhappily stuck in your seat?
Take a moment to think about those with whom you may spend your day. How many know and understand what you are experiencing right now? Is there any one person who seems to have a flair for pushing your buttons, especially with questions such as “So when are you going to have kids?” Are you able to successfully avoid that person, or at least come back with some witty response to their insensitive comments?
A little planning and forethought now could go a long way to ensure that you spend your day in the way that’s best for you this year. It could also be very valuable in helping you to avoid the things (and people) that make today especially difficult.
So, what if after this time of reflection and preparation, you decide the brunch, the church service, the picnic in the park with all your friends and their toddlers, the everything is all just too much? Then what? The answer, just say “no.” You read that correctly, you have permission to politely decline what’s “expected of you,” and to opt instead for what is best for you. And maybe that means bowing out of the overwhelming gathering of a thousand cousins, and choosing instead to take your mom out for a super-adult dinner, with cocktails, on a Saturday night. Guess what, that is allowed. All it takes is a simple text such as, “Thank you so much for inviting me to brunch on Sunday, Julie. I’m so sorry I won’t be able to make it, but I know it’s going to be lovely. I've let Grandma know that I’m looking forward to seeing her for our ‘special tea’ next week.”
But even if you choose to sit this Mother’s Day out, does that mean you need to be just sitting at home and being sad? Absolutely not! Stay home and be happy — doing the things you want to do. Binge watch your favorite show. Have ice cream for dinner … and breakfast too. Or get away for the weekend. Go someplace secluded. Go someplace daring. The point is, do what you want to do.
And what if you are reading this and thinking, “But I really love my mom (or my grandma, or my sister).” What if you are thinking, “But I get such joy out of seeing my niece (my nephew, or my godchild).” Then you should embrace the day. Put the focus on those women you admire. Go ahead and make it about them. Decide to turn this Mother’s Day into your mother’s special day. Again, this is not the required assignment. You do not have to feel compelled to choose this route in some noble effort to be “good.” However, if it is truly going to make you feel more isolated, more “different,” and more discouraged to stay away from people today, then don’t. Go to the celebrations, shower your mom with affection, and gather up all the love, hope, and hugs you can.
It’s About You
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, the key to making this Mother’s Day bearable, is to make it your day — no motherhood required. As someone who has faced her own infertility challenges, Dr. Jamie Long offers some great advice on how to do just that:
-Resolve (The National Infertility Association) Helpline 866.NOT.ALONE (866.668.2566)
-American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) counseling and support resources
-Donor Egg Bank USA information on infertility resources
Finally, do whatever you can to gain a little perspective. Mother’s Day is technically one day. Do not let it take up any more space in your life than those 24 hours. You (as well as all the women upon whom the spotlight is shining today) are more than just your fertility status. Embrace and celebrate all of who you are — today and every day.
Considering using frozen donor eggs to help grow your family? Just reach out to our qualified team at Donor Egg Bank USA to find out more, including information about our Assured Refund Plan® option. Or, if you’re ready to get matched to your ideal donor, start your search here.