by Jennifer Bright Reich
When you really want something in life, it’s hard not to think about it all of the time. If something isn’t going quite right, like trying to have a baby, you stare so hard at the empty hole in your life that you can’t see the “doughnut” of everything else that is going right.
An especially difficult time for people struggling with infertility is Mother’s Day. As if you needed a reminder that you want so badly to be a mother but it’s eluding you.
“When I was still actively dealing with infertility, Mother's Day was such an emotionally conflicted holiday,” says Keiko Zoll, a leading infertility, women's health writer, and founder of the blog, The Infertility Voice, in the greater Boston area. “On the one hand, I was so thrilled to celebrate the mothers in my life: my own mother, my mother-in-law and my sister, for example. But in the days and weeks leading up to Mother's Day I was reminded the one thing I wanted to be more than anything—and yet, biology prevented me from achieving that dream. Every year was different, too. The first Mother's Day, it barely registered, but by the third, I started to become very cognizant of how many years had gone by with no successes.”
As Keiko did, rather than focusing on what you don’t have yet, it might help you instead to focus on what you do have—any positive, maternal presences in your life. She might be your mom, or your grandmom, aunt, older sister, or family friend. Here are some ideas for celebrating the “mom” in your life.
Reflect on the past. Look through some old photo albums together, or better yet take some time putting old photos into new albums or choosing some special photos to hang on the wall.
Enjoy the present. Think about what you most enjoy about your relationship with this special lady. Is it how she listens to you when you need to talk? Maybe take her out for lunch at a quiet cafe so you can do the same for her. Is it how she pampers you with gifts? Buy a gift card for her favorite store and take her shopping.
Prepare for the future. Talk with your “mom” figure about her hopes and dreams. Help her to create a vision board, which is a collection of images of things she wishes for her future.
Sometimes shifting the focus onto someone else is the best way to take the focus—and pressure off of yourself! Taking some time this Mother’s Day to celebrate that special “mom” presence in your life will be a blessing for her, and for you.
Today, Keiko says, “My husband and I are still finding our groove as to what our Mother's (and Father's) Day traditions will be from here on out. Like many family traditions we'd previously observed for two, now it's time to explore how we make those traditions as a new family of three. In the past, we've celebrated our own mothers; while we intend to keep that tradition, now we get to try and figure out how to celebrate me, too! For me, I don't need material gifts (except for a pair of diamond earrings, but I digress) - every day I have with my son is a gift. I don't say that to be trite at all; parenting after infertility unlocks a deep well of quiet gratitude. I'm looking forward to sharing the day with my family doing something we all love and enjoy as we build memories and traditions together.”
About the author: Jennifer Bright Reich is a mom of two sons, cofounder of www.mommymdguides.com, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.