Mother’s Day isn’t just another Sunday in May to anyone who’s ever experienced infertility. The holiday evokes such strong emotions for those who want nothing more than to parent, and in the days leading up to the occasion, can be a great period of emotional stress.
I should know – I’m in that zone right now.
When I was diagnosed with infertility over three years ago, I just brushed off Mother’s Day. “It ain’t no thang,” I said to myself, all stoic and cool. Mother’s Day came just a couple of months after my diagnosis, so while the wound was still fresh and new, I don’t think I really had time to process the emotions of Mother’s Day in the context of my own infertility.
When Mother’s Day rolled around the next year, it gave me pause: just where did I fit in the context of Mother’s Day? And then last year’s Mother’s Day took a toll on me, as a third Mother’s Day came around and my husband and I still had no child to call our own. Last year’s Mother’s Day was particularly painful. As a fourth Mother’s Day approaches for us this year, I’ve realized it’s time to get my coping toolkit out and plan in advance for myself emotionally.
I like to call myself a “Someday Mom” because someday – come hell or high water – I’ll be a mom. I know there are plenty of women like me who are waiting to become mothers someday, too, so here’s the advice I have to give on making it through yet another Mother’s Day this year.
3 Tips for Surviving Mother’s Day from One Someday Mom to Another
1. Regretfully decline. If you’re prone to family, social or religious gatherings on Mother’s Day, consider respectfully declining this year. It can be extremely challenging to fend off comments like, “We know you’ll be celebrating next year for sure!” or the dreaded “So… when are you having kids?” when you’re just trying to get through the day without having a complete meltdown. If you must attend, think about cutting your visit short. There’s nothing wrong with playing the stomach bug card. You need to do what it takes to get through the day. And if you do have to attend a Mother’s Day function, make sure you do something nice for yourself afterward.
2. Can we say, “weekend getaway” anyone? If you’re able to dodge the social calls for the day, consider making a weekend run for it with your partner or spouse. Avoid anywhere offering Mother’s Day brunches or specials and spend the weekend with a completely infertility-free agenda. Hike. Shop. Sleep in. Visit those local tourist places that as natives, you and your partner always overlook. Make a weekend out of celebrating each other where the topics of infertility, babymaking, and children are verboten for the weekend. And you don’t even have to travel far: stay in, turn off the phones, don’t check email and Netflix and delivery are your friends all weekend.
3. Celebrating the “moms” in your life. It might not be just your actual mother, but what about all the women in your life who’ve been like a mother to you? Spend some quality time with just you and your “moms” – whoever they might be. But make sure you’re surrounding yourself with folks who aren’t going to drag you down into the emotional lows of your infertility journey – make it a day about celebrating them and how they’ve played such an important role in your life.
I’m wishing everyone who reads this – no matter whether you’re a mom now or a Someday Mom – a wonderful weekend full of peace, clarity and healing.
About the Author
Keiko Zoll is the Director of Communications and Social Media and former Board Member for RESOLVE New England. She is also Founder and Writer for The Infertility Voice, an online empowerment resource for those experiencing infertility, as well as her blog chronicling her own journey toward parenthood.