If you are a woman facing infertility…then this Sunday can be one ‘mother’ of a holiday. My womb aches for you, because I’ve been there (by there, I mean I’ve been curled up in the fetal position, under the covers, waiting for Mother’s Day to turn into night). Yes. I’ve gone dark. Complete radio silence. Off the grid until the Hallmark commercials stopped playing.
And if you choose to take this M-Day off, read no further. You go girl…right to bed and cover your head. No one can blame you. But if you would like to walk among the living, see blue sky and not cry if you see a kid being pushed in a stroller…then here’s some advice from someone who’s endured, survived and even thrived the second Sunday in the month of May.
First, let me remind you that you are not alone. It’s not just your ovaries that are a little off. It’s estimated that 1 in 8—or 7.4 million—women of reproductive age have received help for infertility in their lifetime.
And while I’m a huge advocate of millions of women sharing their infertility stories…I strongly believe your Mother’s Day misery does not need more company. I’m more than happy to support your support group…but putting a bunch of women together, who are all in the same infertile boat, and letting them drown themselves in mimosas on Mother’s Day should not be our idea of a holiday. Save the commiserating for a day that’s not all about celebrating a Mom (or a Dad). How about a week from next Tuesday? But this Sunday? Let’s find some cool ways not to be hot and bothered (unless you are taking hormone injections, and then there’s nothing I can do for you).
STEP ONE. ADMIT THAT MOTHER’S DAY CANNOT BE IGNORED.
Pretending this is not a day set aside to celebrate the beauty and bond of Motherhood, will only make you think about it more. It’s clearly marked on every calendar. But it’s only a Mother’s DAY. Not Mother’s WEEK or Mother’s MONTH. It’s just a day. 24 hours that can be greatly reduced by sleeping in and/or going to bed early.
STEP TWO: DO SOMETHING SPIRITUAL
Even if you are not a religious person, I don’t know one woman experiencing infertility who hasn’t said a prayer or two. If you are a regular church goer, then I don’t need to preach on how a Sunday service can lift your spirits. However, if you don’t feel like dropping to your knees, then consider downward dog. A yoga class with some healthy minutes on the mat for meditation can calm down some of the Mother’s Day madness you are experiencing (and by madness, I’m not referring to a hectic schedule…I’m talking about feeling downright mad about not being a mom). Infertile women have every right to be angry. It’s not fair. It’s not fun. Just know your journey is not done. (Good Lord, it may be just beginning).
STEP THREE: SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME WITH MOTHER…NATURE
She’s the biggest mother out there…and she’s beautiful. Spend some time with her today. Try a hike, alone, if you like. Take your partner for a spin (on a bike).
Take a drive with your top down (but only if you have a convertible). There is nothing that puts your problems into perspective like getting out in the bright, big world. And there is no better place to cry your eyes out. Go ahead. Mother Nature will dry those tears with a big ol’ thing she calls her sun.
STEP FOUR: EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY
Since you likely feel like your life is lacking, no sense in starving yourself today. Carbs can bring comfort. Ice cream can make your heart sing. Order up and turn nothing down—except maybe that extra round of drinks (the idea here is to toast to your future…and not hate yourself in the morning).
STEP FIVE: CALL YOUR MOM
The only person on earth who wants to see you pregnant more than you…is your Mom. She’s selfish. She wants grandchildren. Now, she may say the wrong thing at the worst possible time. She has likely told a random stranger in the frozen food aisle all about your egg freezing. And I am sure she’s reminded you once or twice about how you should have settled down with that nice boy you were dating in college. But face it. No one misunderstands you better than she does. Also, no one loves you more. So, if it can’t be your day (yet), at least let it be hers.
STEP SIX: LOOK FORWARD
I remember last Mother’s Day. We went for a bike ride along Venice Beach and then grabbed lunch. Couldn’t wait for the day to be over. That’s because I would be one day closer to taking a pregnancy test. I had taken them dozens of times before—but that time was different. I had used a donor egg and the single embryo transfer went very well. I might have been on a bike that day, but I wasn’t back-peddling. I kept looking forward, pushed up the some pretty big hills and tried a different path.
And well, let’s just say, I plan to spend this Mother’s Day by the beach again. If you are on a bike, be sure to keep an eye out for me.
I’ll be the lady pushing a stroller.