Mother’s Day has become ubiquitous in our society. It simply means buying mom a card and maybe taking her to brunch. However, if you are struggling with infertility, Mother’s Day can be a minefield of triggers and hurts. It is a reminder of what you don’t have yet. The worst part is that you are expected to be all cheery for those who do have children. Below are some ways to cope.
1. Sit it out.
I am completely serious. The history of Mother’s Day is long and winding. It started as a religious holiday and was later revitalized in the United States. Anna Jarvis, the woman credited with bringing it back, never wanted it to be what it is today. In fact, to her, it was a time to honor one’s mother and build community for mothers. Therefore, you can thank your mother anytime, not specifically on Mother’s Day.
2. Load up on self care on Mother’s Day if you are struggling with infertility.
Self Care is not about manicures and massages —unless that is what fills your well. Self care is carefully evaluating what drains you and what fills you. Take some time to really think about that. Then schedule the self care routine that fills you.
3. Stay off of social media this week.
Normally, we advise people to “unfollow” friends who post triggering content. However, that is basically impossible this week. In order to make this easier, download an app that blocks you. Since we are so habituated to scrolling, it may be helpful to be “forced off”. Now, you will need to find an alternative. This is a great time to check out some good books from the library. Alternatively, get outside!
I am a huge believer in Mantras. In fact, we talk about them in our book: Beyond The Egg Timer: A Guide To Having Babies in Your Mid-Thirties and Older. Mantras are inspiring and encouraging phrases you repeat to yourself. The idea is to internalize them so they actually reset you emotionally. For example, when I’m feeling insecure, I repeat “I go this” . It then changes both my thoughts and feelings around my ability to succeed. You can internalize them by meditating on them. Additionally, have them posted around your house. One of my favorite ways to use them is to write it on a paper, take a picture and make that your screensaver. Think of something that is encouraging to you. Here are some examples:
-”I am fertile, I am full of life”
-”I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but I will be a mother”
-”Things work out in the end”
Ok, maybe you are rolling your eyes because everyone talks about gratitude. But the reality is, we have a much easier time being negative than being positive. We need balance. Of course Mother’s Day is triggering for those struggling with infertility. However, there must be good things in your life as well. Write them out. This is important because once you see them, it will surely improve your mood somewhat.
6. Have realistic expectations.
This is hard. It is really hard. Struggling with infertility is a journey. As you know already, you will have ups and downs. Of course, this may be a tougher time. It’s ok to engage in more self care and self compassion this week (and whenever!).
Are you struggling with fertility? Reach out, now. We can help you cope with this.
Sharon Fisher, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C is a former RESOLVE peer support group facilitator, fertility warrior, and lover of all things brunch. You can read more about navigating motherhood when going through infertility or as a new mom at her Psychology Today Blog.