At this time of year, social media, online advertisements, TV commercials, and magazines are all endorsing one thing: Mother’s Day. However, this day can be tough for those who struggle with grief, loss, and/or infertility.
Growing up with the traditions of Mother’s Day, it’s automatically assumed one day you will be the one celebrated. Just like everyone else. But if infertility is preventing you from becoming a mother, this day can be incredibly painful. Feelings of jealously, shame, and even feeling meaningless. And everything on social media, online advertisements, TV commercials, and magazines may remind you of failure.
But these feelings are normal.
1 in 8 couples in the United States have some experience with infertility. This means there are many other women out there experiencing these same feelings around this time of year. So what can you do if you don’t want to spend another Mother’s Day hiding under the covers?
Recognize—don't ignore—your feelings. These feelings of jealously and depression are valid and understandable. But they won't kill you (they'll only try). Recognizing what you are feeling is normal may help you to cope. Ignoring your feelings just makes you feel more jealous and guilty.
Practice compassionate self-talk. This goes hand-in-hand with suppressing your emotions. Self-flagellation and judgmental self-talk only deepen the despair you may feel. Instead of talking down on yourself for feeling jealous or shameful this Mother’s Day, tell yourself it is normal and you will get through this journey.
Give yourself permission to cope in whatever way feels healthy. Schedule a spa day, skip the Mother's Day brunch, or spend the day hiking with friends who are aware of your journey. If removing yourself from the normal traditions is what is best, then go for it!
But most importantly, please remember you are not alone.
Many women this year are celebrating their first Mother’s Day through the miracle of embryo adoption. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.