Happy Mothers-in-Waiting Day!
Mother's Day... probably the most difficult day of the year for those of us wanting to have a baby. It seems like everywhere you turn, someone or something reminds you of your inability to have a baby. You feel broken and left out and that the most natural and womanly function of your body, your ability to have conceive a child, isn't happening for you. There really is nothing anyone can say or do to help you feel better about your struggle. You are in the thick of your battle with infertility and there may be no end in sight... yet.
However, having walked a decade in the infertility shoes, I do think that there are things YOU can do to make Mother's Day a little easier for you... and your partner.
First of all, plan ahead and go somewhere or do something that makes you feel better on Mother's Day or for the entire weekend. Take a trip. Go to a Bed and Breakfast. Go camping. Go outside and enjoy your partner's company. Treat yourself to a lovely meal or order take out food and bring it home to pamper yourselves.
You may also want to talk to your clergy in advance and let them know that you have been struggling with infertility. You may suggest that s/he offers a prayer for all those "Mothers-in-Waiting" in the congregation who are struggling. Perhaps you can suggest not drawing attention to just the mothers who are in the congregation. Explain how it can make you feel so alone. Another idea is to give yourself permission to not attend service on Mother's Day. Perhaps you and your partner may want to have your own little candlelight service at home. It may be comforting to you to light a candle for the babies you wish to have or those you may have lost.
When it comes to your own family, if gatherings with your mother are exceptionally difficult due to the number of children, babies and pregnant family members who may be present, try to honor your mother on a different day. Let your mother know that how much you love her, but be honest with her and let her know that it is difficult to be around lots of people at this time. Ask her if you can have some one-on-one time with her and enjoy a special day together doing what the two of you love to do. Your mom will most likely understand and will appreciate your honesty. It may even draw you closer to her and your relationship may deepen. You do not have to suffer in silence and buck it up and attend holiday gatherings if they set you in a tailspin. Protect yourself and do what feels good to you. You are going through an exceptionally difficult time.
If you belong to an infertility support group, you may want to create your own celebration. A friend of mine runs her own support group. Every year on the day BEFORE Mother's Day, the members of the group get together for a "Mothers-in-Waiting" celebration. Here are some suggestions: You can share inspirational messages of hope or read excerpts from books that have helped you to cope with your infertility. You can have an "Infertility Sucks" session where you have a punching bag and attach messages of what you hate about infertility. Everyone can take turns punching the bag and releasing your pent up frustrations. You may even want to have a group candlelight service. Everyone can bring a candle and share a hope quote or mantra that helps you face a new day. One of the things that helped me the most when I was struggling with my infertility was to turn to creativity. You may want to make a piece of artwork that captures the essence of your infertility. If you make something beautiful and positive out of your pain, you may feel a bit more empowered and energized to face the next part of your journey.
Finally, you may want to get involved with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. As I am writing this, I will leaving in two days to go to Washington D. C. for Infertility Advocacy Day on May 18th. Advocating for the infertility community takes the pain of infertility and turns it into power to help others. I feel so empowered to do something proactive for those who struggle. You will meet other like-minded individuals and be a voice for those who choose to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of their situation. We have all heard that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, sometimes it takes a village to "create" a child. Lobbying Congress will help provide affordable access to care for all who want to build their families. So, think about it and get involved. It is a way to turn your pain into passion. Together we can make a difference for all who long to be mothers.
Happy Mothers-in-Waiting Day!
In-Fertility and Friendship,