Every year around this time I find myself in a place of avoidance.
Mother’s Day is approaching, and as a woman who has been struggling to grow her family, these days are hard. Wherever I seem to look, I see constant triggers reminding me of my empty arms and my broken heart. Social media posts are booming with tags highlighting proud moms with their kids, and pregnancy announcements and gender reveals take over my feed. There are holiday reminders on nearly every endcap and walkway at my local store, and somehow, the most heart-wrenching Mother’s Day tributes find their way to me. These displays showcase the well-deserved appreciation for moms, and yet unintentionally bring pain to women experiencing infertility and loss.
As the days leading up to Mother’s Day near, I find myself becoming anxious and sensitive. The heartfelt commercials of mommas with their babies make me want to cry, and I do, and that’s okay. Infertility is a part of my story, and grief comes along with that, too. In the past, I felt ashamed for being emotional around this time of year, and I would bury my feelings until I just couldn’t hide them anymore. It led me down a dark spiral of anguish, and it was difficult to overcome.
Right now, my heart is in a place between peace and fragility. I know the triggers are coming, I’m anxious, and I don’t know how I might feel in a few hours or a few days. As much as I wish I could press fast forward on the emotional highs and lows of what is likely to come, I can’t. But, I can work through them.
During this time, I’m focusing on the things that I can control and the things that do make me feel good. I’m focusing on mothering myself.
Mothering yourself, or self-mothering is an act of self-care that evokes a sense of calm, comfort, love, and appreciation. It gives you the power to support your personal and emotional needs in the ways you need it most, just as mommas intuitively seem to know. So, this Mother’s Day, I’m doing just that. I’m taking a step back to nurture myself in the ways that feel right to me.
Going into this week, I made a list of my intentions to help guide me through the emotional ups and downs of Mother’s Day. I hope they will offer you comfort and support, too.
- Pamper yourself. Gift yourself flowers or take a bubble bath. Light candles and give yourself a facial or a pedicure. Don’t forget to indulge in your favorite foods.
- Open up your calendar to honor whatever it is you need to feel and experience. Limit your structured activities, so you can go with the flow for whatever it is you may need. Self-mothering may look like watching Netflix or spending the entire day outdoors with meditation, movement, and a good book. Do what feels supportive to your happiness.
- Sleep in, or stay up late. And don’t forget to limit your time on social media.
- Journal and find gratitude for the things you have in your life. Write whatever comes to your mind and heart. Honor your feelings through writing, music, and prayer.
- Create a vision board. Capture all the things you’d like to focus on and manifest in your life.
- Phone a friend for encouragement and connect with other women in the TTC community to find support within one another.
- Clean your home. This is a great way to invite positive energy into your living space.
- Breathe, relax, and release the things you cannot control, and focus on the things you can. Try using encouraging affirmations like “I am brave,” “I can do this,” and “I’m doing a great job getting through today.”
- Focus on play. Take out a puzzle or a board game and have some fun. When we’re joyful we are less focused on our stress, struggles, and hardships.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Self-mothering and healing come in all forms, so listen to your heart, and nurture yourself in the ways that feel best to you.
To me, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder that my womb is still empty and that my heart is heavy. I long for the day I can celebrate all the beautiful moments of being a mom. But, knowing I have the tools and the know-how to mother myself during these trying times helps me to cope and hang on to hope.
To the women who are struggling to face Mother’s Day this year, I see you, I appreciate you, and I’m here for you. I hope you find these tools helpful and healing on your journey. Sending love and light.