“A Letter to the Intended Mother on Mother’s Day” | myMindBodyBaby
To the person striving to become a parent:
Before I tried to become a mother, Mother’s Day was a pleasant day in May. A day for cards, flowers, brunches, nice dinners, and honouring motherhood.
It was when I was diagnosed with infertility that Mother’s Day represented something else entirely: yet another reminder of what I so desperately longed for.
Research has shown that patients diagnosed with infertility have similar levels of depression to those diagnosed with cancer, but the support for infertility patients is much less. Struggles to get pregnant are often kept quiet, making it harder for those battling infertility to get the support and help they need.
When you can’t get pregnant, month after month, there is this black cloud that hangs over your head. It casts a shadow on everything in your life – and as a large cloud, it can be so difficult to escape its gloom. Unfortunately, making your own gloom even more pronounced, are those that you can see out past where the dark clouds are, laughing, having fun, pushing strollers, and going about their day seemingly carefree. The contrast can make you feel even more alone, isolated, jealous, frustrated, and unseen. You scroll through Instagram and see diaper ads and pregnancy announcements, you open your email and find baby shower invites. On top of that, Mother’s Day can feel like a looming, annual marker highlighting exactly what it is that you haven’t achieved.
To help guard your heart this Mother’s Day, consider these suggested approaches. We polled our myMindBodyBaby community to find out what works best for our members and their responses ranged from planning a full day of activities to avoid everything to do with Mother’s Day, to embracing the day to honor the journey that is motherhood. We have taken these ideas along with some additional expert recommendations for navigating this challenging Sunday in May:
- Plan an Activity – use the distraction technique and plan an activity that you really enjoy. In our current pandemic situation, you may be a little limited in choice, but you could try going on a hike with your partner, trying a new recipe, working on your garden, or pampering yourself with a home spa day.
- Decline Mother’s Day Festivities – if you have been open about your fertility challenges, friends and family should understand if you are removing yourself from any activities planned this year (even if they are virtual). If you have not let others know what you are struggling with, it may be harder to decline without uncomfortable questions arising. If you can’t get out of an event, consider confiding in a close family member what you are going through. They may be able to be a source of strength and empathy as you get through the day (and hopefully beyond).
- Shift the Focus – Amira Posner from @healinginfertility suggests, “Instead of the focus being on celebrating mothers we can shift to honor motherhood in general, a broader definition that is inclusive to everyone.” Use the day to honor and acknowledge the herculean effort you have made to this point to become a parent. You have done everything in your control to get pregnant, and that has not been easy. Celebrate your strength and determination today and know that when the time does come for you, you will be stronger and more resilient because of this journey.
“Although this year Mother’s Day may be filled with feelings of sadness and loss, feelings are not something that are fixed. Take heart that your feelings can change from year to year, even moment to moment. Mothering ourselves through difficult emotions is a form of honoring where we are at. Self-care, self-compassion, and a dash of pre-planning can make the day a whole lot easier.” states Amira.
We can also try to widen the focus from mothers to honoring the entire journey to parenthood – a journey that doesn’t start when a child enters your life, but rather when your heart opens up to the desire to nurture one. Parenthood, like all of us, is unique and the road to becoming a parent looks different for everyone. For those who feel stalled at the beginning of their journey, know you are not alone and there are resources and support networks available to you.
To prepare for this Mother’s Day roll around the three ideas described above and see which one fits best. Send us a message firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your approach this year. Whichever option you choose, we hope you find some time to take care of you – you deserve it.
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Lyndsey Clabby is a co-founder of myMindBodyBaby. It took her and her husband four years, countless needles & tests, multiple failed rounds of IUI, miscarriage, and two rounds of IVF to bring their son Bronsen into the world. Sawyer came two years later, followed by Adalyn in 2020. Self-reported cardio-addict, when not mommying and helping support other infertility warriors, she likes to run and try new workouts. She also pretends she’s crafty. She is a marketer & entrepreneur (BMSc, MBA), certified fitness instructor for the past 16 years, and a Patient Advocate for Fertility Matters Canada.