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Coping with Mother’s Day


a blog by Carrie Gottlieb, Ph.D., May 11, 2013

Every woman dealing with infertility will tell you that there the reminders of this struggle are everywhere. From the pregnancy announcement on Facebook to the strollers that run over your feet at the grocery store- bellies, babies, and other reminders are at every turn. When you are an infertility patient, this seems to always be the case. But if reminders are ever present, this is doubly true on Mother’s Day.

I cannot think of a day more dreaded to a woman struggling with infertility than Mother’s Day. It is a day designated to appreciate the very thing that you long for and yet just seems to be out of your reach. It is a day set up to remind you of what you do not have.

How do you celebrate the motherhood when you are not yet a mother yourself? While I do not pretend to have the answer to that question, I do know how important is to take care of yourself as this day approaches .

How To Cope on Mother’s Day

  1. Acknowledge your feelings: You have the right to feel sad, angry, envious, jealous, and just pissed off in general. These are real, valid feelings and, even if it is hard for other people in your life to understand them, it is ok for you to do so.

  2. Stop judging yourself: As women in this society we are often taught that ‘good girls’ do not feel jealous of somebody because that is just not nice. Well, the truth is when someone is celebrating their motherhood and the birth of their third child while you struggle to have your first, you will feel jealous and that is ok. Feeling jealous or envious does not make you a bad person, it makes you human.

  3. Stay away from Facebook: The last thing you need is to be bombarded with poetry about the beauty of motherhood or to see 150 pictures posted of the homemade mother’s day gift your second cousin’s toddler made for her. There is just no need for this on this day- lock away your computer/ smart phone and stay far, far away. I am fairly certain you are not going to miss anything too important posted on there anyway.

  4. Know your limits: It is ok to opt out of family events. This is a hard one, trust me I know. But the truth is if you feel that you cannot make it to your family’s mother’s day celebration, then it is ok not to go. Send a flowers or dessert and a card explaining how much you love your mother (grandmother, aunt, sister, etc) and that your absence is not a reflection of your feelings for them but more an effort to take care of yourself on this difficult day. Maybe offer to cook them dinner or take them out for a special spa day on another day of the week/ month. And once you do this, allow yourself to stop feeling so guilty. It is ok to know your limits and act in your own best interest.

  5. Start your own infertility mother’s day ritual: Maybe this involves some self care, like a mani/ pedi or massage, or maybe it involves a non-child/ mother related activity, like going wine tasting with your significant other. It is ok to do something non-mother related on Mother’s Day.

  6. Seek our support: Call a supportive friend. Go to an infertility support group. Access blogs, twitter, and other online infertility support systems. You do not have to be alone in your struggle.

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