Mother’s Day is a wonderful celebration for all the mothers in our lives, but it can be painful for those who are not mothers yet. If you are struggling with infertility and miscarriage, the cards, commercials, social media posts of mothers with children, and invitations to Mother’s Day events can sting and increase stress.
As Mother’s Day approaches this year and those stressful reminders continue to pile up, now is an important time to take care of yourself. Here are some ideas on ways to take time out for yourself to heal, reflect, and renew this Mother’s Day weekend.
1. Just Say No– This is really tough for most women, but sometimes you just have to say ‘No’ to events and situations that are toxic for you. There can be family gatherings and social situations around Mother’s Day that may just be too painful right now. Hopefully, you have a family that would understand if you avoided the Mother’s Day brunch and celebrated the mothers in the family in a private way (like a card or phone call).
2. Ask For Help - If must go to a mother’s day celebration or part of you really wants to go but you’re worried about the fall out enlist an ally or two. Talk to someone who you know will be at the event who know your family-building journey about what you’re going through. That person can help shift the conversation to a new subject when Aunt Martha asks, “So, when are you having kids?” or Cousin Sarah, while holding her newborn baby, asks, “When are you going to make your Mom a Grandmother?”
3. Indulge– Make an appointment at a spa for a massage, facial, or treatment that you’ve been wanting to try – salt scrub, anyone? Treat yourself to a few hours just for you and enjoy.
4. Exercise– If exercise is already a part of your routine, do something special like a longer run, a new hike, or a Zumba class you’ve been meaning to try. If you aren’t exercising regularly, try something new like a low impact class, going for a bike ride, or exploring a new part of your city on foot. Women worry about what they should and shouldn’t do while trying to conceive, and unfortunately, many stop exercising because they are afraid it will decrease chances of conception. Talk to your provider about what’s right for you – maybe extreme exercise like training for a marathon while trying to conceive isn’t best, but you can find a routine that works for you.
5. Mind/Body Practice– Do not underestimate the emotional impact of infertility. Dr. Alice Domar, associate professor at Harvard University and executive director of the Domar Mind/Body Center in Boston, states, “Recent research shows that the majority of women who are infertility patients have clinical levels of depression and anxiety symptoms.” A difficult journey to your family can take an emotional toll that many underestimate. There are many resources to help, from books on mindfulness, the free FertiCalm app you can download and use anytime to ease through stressful situations, counseling, and support groups (check the Resolve.org website for free support groups near you). Some people quit trying to conceive, not because they change their minds about being a mother, but because the stress is too much – find the right support for you.
6. Events Near You– Support groups, fertility walks, meetings, yoga classes or retreats. Resolve.org has a list of events you can search for something near you.
Society pushes that all holidays are celebrations and bliss, but you are not alone if Mother’s Day brings a mix of emotions. The CDC states that in the US, one in eight couples have infertility and that over seven million women in the US have utilized fertility treatments. Find some time to take care of yourself this weekend and try to make self-care a priority all year round.
Learn more about infertility and miscarriage with more blog posts at drlorashahine.com.