Ah Mother’s Day…my most dreaded holiday by far.
Typically I love holidays as I love celebrating. Mother’s Day however is a whole different beast for me. For the month preceding the day I have this pit deep within my stomach; one of sadness, anger, and dread. When you’re struggling with the disease of infertility and the roller coaster of grief that accompanies it Mother’s Day can feel heart wrenchingly painful. There are plans to be made and gifts to be purchased to celebrate your own mother(s) when all you want to do is lay in bed and cry, which leads to feelings of extreme guilt. There are commercials and store displays everywhere you turn for the entire month preceding the day. Church meetings are dedicated to discussions on how to make the day special for the mothers in the congregation. Often, talk of mothers and the upcoming holiday swirl through the air at every turn, even in the most unexpected of places and at the most unexpected of times. Sometimes this can lead to people questioning you – “oh do you have any children”, “are you expecting any children”, “are you planning on having any children” and the dreaded “why not” with the advice that follows.
All of that just leading up to the holiday itself! Then the day finally dawns and you spend the entire day immersed in all things mothers and motherhood; present but not included because you aren’t part of that elusive club. Inevitably there are more questions, more advice, and sometimes chastisement from others – “What are you waiting for? That biological clock is ticking you know. Why aren’t you preforming your god-given duty to be a mother?”. Ugh. From the songs on the radio, to the specials offered at restaurants, to the music and talks at church; everything focuses on mothers.
Now please don’t take this the wrong way. Mothers are great. My mothers are great. They deserve to be cherished and honored for all that they do every single day. Too often we don’t give them the credit that they deserve. Which is where the guilt comes in. I love my mothers and want to celebrate them, but this day is so hard! I don’t have all the answers. I haven’t yet figured out the balance of how to celebrate them while also nurturing myself though this pain.
Here’s what I do know; I can tell them that I love them and work to celebrate them all year round in other ways. I can shop for and give them meaningful gifts the weekend prior. I can explain my feelings to others and openly discuss them, so that I can do my best to avoid hurt feelings when I’m not around and not involved on that Sunday. I can spend that Sunday disconnected from the things that bring me pain and sadness; social media, public events, church services, stores, restaurants, television. Instead I can do the things the nurture me. I can worship from home, wear my comfiest clothing, watch a movie that makes me laugh, create in ways that bring peace and joy to my soul, and do the activities that I enjoy but don’t typically have time for.
Resolve: The National Infertility Association also offers a helpful page with some suggestions on how to cope with Mother’s Day.
For those of you who aren’t dealing with infertility and want to know what you can do to help these are some suggestions other bloggers have posted:
- Ask “How can I/We support you”?
- Send a card or a note to let them know that you haven’t forgotten them and their struggles.
- Extend an invitation & include them in your plans. They might decline the offer, but trust me when I say it doesn’t go unnoticed and means a lot more than you realize.
- Acknowledge community and church members who are struggling with the disease of infertility.
- Offer a hug, and shoulder to cry on, a listening ear.
- Be understanding. This is a tough day for those with infertility. We may be absent, withdrawn, silent, emotional, or tender. It’s nothing personal, and has nothing to do with the love that we have for our own mothers!
- Pray for us. Prayers are always appreciated.
This Mother’s Day I ask you to please remember those who hearts yearn and arms ache to have a child, those who are absent from the pews at church, and who are missing from public events and social media for the day.