“Surviving Mother’s Day After Infertility or Loss” | myMindBodyBaby
Mother’s Day used to sound so innocuous – until I tried to become a mother. And it’s not just infertility that can make surviving Mother’s Day a difficult day to celebrate. You may have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or child. You might be geographically far from your mom, or perhaps your own mother has passed away.
For those that wish it – unfortunately we can’t make Mother’s Day disappear.
But we can help you to look at it in a different light. After all, we feel what we think. Plus – we here at myMindBodyBaby are firm believers in controlling our own narrative. You’ve heard us say before – we can’t always control the chapters in our story, but we can control the narration.
A quick history lesson
First, let’s take a quick look at the history of Mother’s Day. While it was officially declared a holiday in the US in 1914, the tradition of honoring mothers and motherhood can be seen throughout history. Mother’s Day, as we know it, was created by Anna Jarvis following her mother’s death. Jarvis’ mother had “frequently expressed the desire for such a holiday” and upon her passing, her loving daughter acted on her wishes. Now if THAT isn’t the ultimate Mother’s Day gift… sorry Mom, I can’t create your very own holiday!
Interesting fact: after trying so hard to get the day created, Jarvis actually tried to get it rescinded! Why? She was disappointed by the commercialization of the holiday. She had intended the purpose of the day be to honor motherhood – not drive the sale of flowers and cards.
Shift the focus
Honor motherhood. I like the way that sounds. For some, shifting the focus of the day towards honoring motherhood might help to frame it in a different light. A small step to being better able to survive Mother’s Day.
Amira Posner, a Clinical Social Worker, Fertile Body Method Practitioner and founder of Healing Infertility states, “Regardless of whether you are a mother yourself you must start with mothering, nurturing and honoring yourself so you can bloom from within.”
Honor where you are at
For those struggling to conceive, can you honor the physical, mental and emotional investment you’ve made your efforts to have a baby? Amira adds, “Can you honor where you at, at this moment in time? The less we resist what is unfolding right in front of us, we will not only feel lighter but also make space for something else.”
For those that have experienced a loss, can you honor the strength of the love you still feel for the parent or child that is no longer with you? Can you honor their memory?
For those that are physically distant from their mother, can you honor the strength of your relationship and that it can be sustained, even far apart?
In theory this may help me survive Mother’s Day…
Now, it’s all well and good to set about with the intention of changing your potentially negative thoughts in an effort to survive Mother’s Day. during infertility or after a loss. Theoretically, you may agree that the above suggestions might be a better way to frame the day in your mind. Amira 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.”
“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.
More tools in your toolbox
But some of you know Mother’s Day is going to roll around and those sad thoughts are going to punch you in the gut. I get it. So while we will try to work on our inner voice, let’s look at some additional tactics to help you survive Mother’s Day while dealing with infertility or loss.
Plan Ahead. If you know this day is going to be difficult, for whatever reason, and you want no part in the celebrations – distract yourself. What is it that you like to do for fun – or that often used term, “self-care”?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Flowers! Do you like to garden? Make that your day to get your gardens off to a running start. Rake out the rest of the winter detritus, turn up the soil (put some muscle into it – we are avid supporters of moving your body!) and get those seeds or annuals into the ground!
- Forest Bath. Umm… what? This is a “new trend” – based on an ancient practice. It means taking time to enjoy nature by soaking it up through your five senses. If this is up your ally plan a trip to a forest or hiking trail you haven’t been to before – and bathe in the atmosphere of the forest.
- Culinary delights. Whether you like to cook – or just eat good food, make the day a culinary sensation. Book a brunch, make reservations for a lovely dinner – or buy the ingredients to whip up your favourite meal. Want a new recipe idea? Try this one:
One Pan Lemon Chicken
- 1 lb chicken breasts skinless & boneless
- 4 cups mini potatoes halved
- 4 cups brussel sprouts halved
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons zested & juiced
- 2 tbsp rosemary fresh, chopped
- sea salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400F (204C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chicken breast, potatoes and brussels sprouts on the pan.2. In a small bowl, mix together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary, sea salt, and pepper. Mix well then drizzle over top of the chicken, potatoes and brussels sprouts.3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Divide onto plates and enjoy!
Want the entire day’s meals planned out for you? Click below for a nourishing breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sweat. It. Out.
You guessed – I’m partial to this one! Get your blood pumping and endorphins going. But plan something different than your normal go-to workout. Book yourself into a new exercise class, sign up for an introductory karate or dance class, drive to a new spot and go for a run or walk (by the lake? Along a new park path?). Or, if you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your own home? Give this at home workout a try:
12 Minute Mood Boosting Workout
If you have a little more time you can repeat each circuit twice!
- Warm Up (repeat 2x):
- March / jog on the spot for 30 seconds (extra boost: bring both hands overhead and pull-down with each step)
- Jumping jacks or step jack for 30 seconds
- Skipping or skip step for 30 seconds
- Circuit One:
- 10 sumo squats
- 20 alternating lunges (10 each side)
- 20 side to side lunges (10 each side)
- Circuit Two:
- 10 push ups (modification: 1. on knees 2. against a wall or elevated surface)
- 10 tricep dips (off a bench or on the floor, knees bent)
- Plank (hold 30s on 10s off 30s on – modification: on knees)
- Circuit 3:
- 20 bicycle crunch
- 10 right side plank with hip dip; 10 left side (modification: place bottom knee on ground)
- Ten standard crunches
- Cool Down:
- March / jog on the spot for 30 seconds
- Alternating standing quad stretch
- Seated forward bend (stretch back and legs)
- Additional stretches to cool down / loosen particuarly sore or tension holding areas
Or… embrace the day
Sometimes it helps you to feel good when you make others feel good. If you have a mother, or mother figure, in your life – throw your efforts into celebrating her. And if your celebrations include organizing multiple family members to be in the same place, at the same time, with food and drinks – that in itself may be enough to distract you!
It is a long road to and through motherhood. If this year Mother’s Day is not a day you are looking forward to, we hope you can find a way to honor the stage you are in, acknowledge the emotions you are feeling, and use the day to take care of yourself in the best way for you.