The raw truth about Mother’s Day after infertility, from my perspective (a former infertility patient who took 10 pregnancies and 15 years to build her family).
Like millions, when I was an infertility patient, Mother’s Day was full of sadness because I longed to be part of that exclusive club. Each holiday was filled with mindless movies and comfort food. I held the pain in when we would attend family celebrations (where the non-mother’s had to serve the mothers). It was a day to dread.
My experience of Mother’s Day changed after my children were born, but not how you might expect it. My son, conceived via IVF, was originally a triplet. We were one of those couples who did not have employer insurance to cover our treatment so we made our medical decisions based on finances and transferred more than the recommended number of embryos. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t sustaining a pregnancy with three developing embryos so we had to consider the unthinkable; selective reduction. This is the most painful experience mentally, physically, and spiritually. When all you’ve wanted (more than anything) was to become a mother, and then face this decision to reduce or lose them all; it’s traumatic and horrific.
My family is now built and the Mother’s Day I always imagined will never be. And while I feel gratitude to be part of the club that eluded me for years, I will always feel a sense of loss on this day. The loss of the miscarriages, the reduction, and my dreams.
So here’s my ritual to try and stop the dread feeling I’ve associated with this day for so many years. Each Mother’s Day I have some alone time and I garden. This is my time with my lost ones. Then, I put on a brave face and a smile and try to refocus my heart to what I have in the present. Then I send out letters to my legislators the following day basically saying, “I hope you enjoyed your day with your family. I would appreciate if you would help all individuals have a similar opportunity by supporting legislation that helps those with infertility.” (I’m a little more detailed than that, but that’s for another blog.)
So why am I telling you all of this? Because you need to understand, for those experiencing infertility, Mother’s Day can be tough now and may still be in the future. So find a ritual that works for you. Whether it’s a yoga class, art lesson, hiking, visiting a museum, etc. Only you can determine what will ease your heartache. When you know what you need, share it with the ones you love. They can’t support you in the most helpful way, unless they know.
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