Mother’s Day is a day full of emotions for so many people. Some women may feel overjoyed and celebratory to celebrate with their babies. Others may be feeling the loss of their own mother or their child. Sometimes it can be a mixture of all of this at once! If you struggle with Mother’s Day in any way, I am sending you so much love. Today we are going to focus on a special group of people, those struggling with infertility on Mother’s Day.
What it is like to struggle with infertility on Mother’s Day
Struggling with infertility on Mother’s Day is such a unique place to be. You feel like you are so full of a mother’s love, but have no child to hold in your arms. Maybe you have dreamed of having a child for many years. Maybe you have been through the ringer of fertility treatments and just haven’t had any success. Or maybe fertility treatments and adoption are not viable options for you and you are left just playing the waiting game.
My own journey with infertility on Mother’s Day
At the time I am writing this blog post, it has been 9 years since I first decided I was ready to have a family. It has been nearly 6 years since my husband and I started actively trying. In those years I have been through multiple rounds of IVF, been pumped full of all kinds of synthetic hormones, and gone through a devastating miscarriage.
Along the way I have been through many Mother’s Days. They have varied through the years in terms of how I have spent the day and what my feelings toward the day have been. I can’t tell you the right way to spend or feel about Mother’s Day will be for you, but I hope my insights can shed some light.
I hope at least I can bring you some comfort in knowing you are not alone.
In the earlier days, when my husband and I weren’t yet married and I was still so young, Mother’s Day didn’t bother me much. I had my own mom to celebrate and I focused on that.
After we got married in 2016 and started actively trying to conceive, Mother’s Day felt a bit heavier to me. I remember one year getting together with my mom and her sister to celebrate together. My sweet uncle brought some beautiful leis for all of the moms to wear on the special day. I didn’t expect there to be one for me since I wasn’t a mom, but inside I still felt the sting.
I spent several years celebrating Mother’s Day in that way. I celebrated the amazing mothers in my life as they deserved to be celebrated. But inside there was always a hint of sadness. When would it be my turn to be celebrated too?
Mother’s Day after pregnancy loss
Then in November 2020, after my second round of IVF, I had a miscarriage. For the short time that I was pregnant, my husband and I celebrated that little life and then it was gone too soon.
To be honest, I was in a dark place after that for quite some time. I cried every single day for 6 whole months and wondered if it would ever stop. Even several years later it is difficult and painful to talk about, but I do anyway in hopes that it will help someone else to feel less alone.
That first Mother’s Day after my loss I had no desire to go out or celebrate. I struggled with the decision at first because I didn’t want my own mom to feel hurt, but she understood. We chose to celebrate on another day instead when the world around us wasn’t just awash with children celebrating their mothers.
Instead I chose to stay in the safe cocoon of my house. My sweet husband picked up food for us and we spent the day on the couch watching movies and snuggling with our dogs. I felt so many emotions. I felt hollow and empty. I felt almost too exhausted from the blanket of sadness that covered me to be able to do anything.
The following two Mother’s Days passed much the same. Although the intense pain from my miscarriage subsided, thanks to the passage of time, I still just didn’t feel like celebrating. I still didn’t have a child to hold in my arms.
How I’ll be handling infertility on Mother’s Day this year
Now Mother’s Day is, again, right around the corner. This year I am going to do something different. I have spent the past year doing a lot of internal work. I have spent many hours listening to Abraham Hicks, Wayne Dyer, Joe Dispenza, and so many others. I have been learning and absorbing so much about mindset and emotions and creating the life that you truly want to live. If this all seems a little woo-woo to you, that is okay. This is what has been working for me.
So this year instead of focusing on all that I don’t have and all that I am missing out on, I am choosing to celebrate. I’m not quite sure what that will mean yet. I still don’t feel enthusiastic about going out to brunch with a room full of mothers being celebrated, but I do want to celebrate in my own way.
My husband and I have an amazing life together. We have an incredible relationship built on kindness, trust, and understanding. We do have three awesome French bulldogs that allow me someone to nurture and take care of while I wait for our child to find their way earthside. We have so much love between us and have shared so many memories in the 13 years we have done life together. That is something that should be celebrated.
When I was a child myself, Mother’s Day always felt joyful to me. I loved finding ways to celebrate my mom and thank her for everything she did for us. I made homemade gifts and cards, and we took her out to her favorite restaurants. I looked forward to the day.
Whether I hold a child in my arms today or not, I know that I am a mother. The moment I decided that I was ready to have a child of my own, I became a mother. I have felt like a mother for more years than I can count. I love caring for my dogs, my nieces and nephews, and every other child who crosses my path. I love sharing in their journeys and helping in some small way to shape the person they will grow up to be. Doesn’t that make me a mother?
Today I am choosing joy
At the end of the day, I have wanted to have a child all these years because I have felt like it will bring me joy. But I also want to bring my child into this world from a place of joy. I have spent so many years feeling sad, depressed, angry, and hurt. It is time to find joy.
So this Mother’s Day I am choosing joy. I am choosing to spend the day celebrating in whatever way feels good to me. Perhaps my husband and I will daydream about our future. Maybe we will take a long walk in nature, just the two of us holding hands. We can spoil ourselves with all of our favorite foods. We can snuggle with our pups who want nothing more than to sit on our laps and take a nap. Maybe I will end the day with a nice hot bath, some candles, and some beautiful relaxing music.
Whatever we choose to do, I want to do it with joy in my heart.
How to handle your own infertility on Mother’s Day
Nobody knows your heart better than you. If you are struggling with infertility this Mother’s Day, I give you full permission to do whatever feels best for you. It is okay to celebrate with family on a different day. It is okay to say no to plans that don’t feel right to you. You are allowed to be selfish and set boundaries for yourself.
If you have been through a recent loss or are right in the throes of infertility, it is okay to feel sad. I think it is important to honor those emotions. Take some time to do a nice brain dump in a journal and get it all out. Say all the things you want to say.
Find a loved one who makes you feel supported in the way that you need to be or spend the day by yourself if that is what feels right for you.
Whatever you choose to do this Mother’s Day, know this: if you feel like a mother, you are a mother. What makes you a mother is your heart, not the child you hold in your arms.
I still hope to one day hold that child in my arms. I am choosing to focus on the joy of picturing that day rather than the fear of that day never coming to be.
My hope for you is that you find your own pathway moving forward. Find the little things in life that bring you joy.
In the meantime, spend Mother’s Day in a way that feels best to you. However you choose to spend the day, it will be okay.
There are so many women who have walked this journey before, are walking this journey now, and will walk this journey in the future. I like to think that we are all walking together in spirit all the time.