Preparing yourself for Mother’s DayMay 08, 2023
I’m not here to sugarcoat it. Mother’s Day is coming up, and for those experiencing infertility or pregnancy loss, it can bring up a LOT of really hard emotions. There’s that fear of wondering whether it will ever be your turn to celebrate, the utter sadness and grief of not being where you thought you would be, the frustration and anger that you have to struggle so hard, and the guilt when you’re too heartbroken to be happy for others.
It is a reminder of what so many have achieved, and what we long for most in the world. In fact, it’s like a million pregnancy announcements all on the same day.
And it’s not just one day - it’s the lead-up. It’s completely impossible to miss, and hard to escape!! Gift ideas are plastered in our news feeds, in catalogues and on billboards for weeks beforehand.
For 5 years, Mother’s Day was easily the most painful day of the year for me.
The worst ones were when we were in the middle of an IVF cycle. You’d be injecting yourself in the morning thinking, how do I get out of this hell?!!
Every single year that passed, the grief compounded. It was like someone had died - and I guess in a way, something had died. I always dreamed of what it would be like to finally celebrate this day as a Mother. And each year that I was unable to claim that title, a little piece of my soul, and a little piece of my hope died.
I would try to put my head in the sand and be happy for all the other mothers out there, but it only served to show me what I was missing out on. I was not pregnant. Again.
I felt guilty that I couldn’t be happy for those who had achieved this milestone. I tried to be strong and pretend I was ok to those around me, but it hurt even more. I was consumed by jealousy and anger…….but mostly sadness.
If you’re absolutely dreading it, you’re not alone. Here are a few things that I’d like to share with you to help you navigate your way through Mother’s Day this year.
- It’s ok to say that this day sucks for you. When we acknowledge how tough it is, and our real feelings, it helps a little. I used to try to ignore it and push down my pain, pretending I was ok. But it didn’t go away - in fact, that feeling of emptiness stayed around longer and it compounded. Don’t be afraid to say that yes, this day is shit, and I feel like shit. If it helps, take out your journal and download it all. Watch a sad movie and have a good cry. Or call a girlfriend or even your mum (you probably should anyway) and let them know that you’re sad.
- Don’t be a hero. There is no need to punish yourself or try to prove that you’re a champion and that you’re FINE. Turn off social media for a few days. Don’t go out in public if you don’t want to. There is no need to attend a Mother’s Day high tea watching those around you exchange gifts. YOUR mum will understand if you ask to take her out another day. Most importantly, you don’t have to feel guilty for not being happy and celebrating with others. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you’re going through something really hard right now, and you’re protecting yourself. And remember – your feelings matter too!
- Preparation is key, so in the week leading up to the day, make sure you’re feeling strong - physically and mentally. We are more emotionally resilient when our tank is full, so self-care is essential to survival. Go for a run, read a book, have a bath, go for a walk in nature, meditate, or sit in the sun with a cup of tea. Work out what gives you energy, and turn the volume up.
- On the day - spoil yourself and indulge in a little self-care. If that looks like a tub of Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice-cream (my personal fave) and staying on the couch watching re-runs of Sex and the City (another personal fave), then do it. Run yourself a bath, ask your partner for a foot massage and have an afternoon nap. Do all the things that give you comfort and make you feel loved and whole.
- And when the day is over, Congratulate yourself. You survived one of the toughest days of the year. And that deserves acknowledging. You could even reward yourself with a little retail therapy or book yourself a massage.
Most importantly, remember that there is no perfect way to survive this day. Give yourself a little grace, and show yourself some compassion for where you are on your journey. If it gets a little messy, that’s ok. Because this is hard and complicated. Please don’t punish yourself for whatever comes up. You are doing the best you can in really shitty circumstances.
I want you to know you are not alone. You’re not the only one who is dreading this day. It is ok to hate it (most of us do at some stage).
But you are amazing, you are worthy, and you are brave. You will survive this day and this journey.
And in my eyes, you become a mother the day you decide to try.
Sending you a whole bunch of love and comfort xx
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