Mother's Day When You're Not a Mother
Updated: May 4
Mother's Day When You're Not A Mother.
Mother’s Day is May 14 this year, another harsh reminder of infertility for many women and couples. You may be torn between wanting to celebrate your own mother, and grieving the fact that you are not a mother yourself. I urge you to make a plan for the day so that it may be a little less painful.
If you are lucky enough to live close to your mom and have a good relationship with her, plan to spend some time together. In my family that usually meant going to brunch on Sunday, but beware - celebrating Mother’s Day with your mom in public means there will be other mothers (and children) celebrating too. If it has been a particularly hard time for you this year, you may want to suggest you do something less public than a restaurant. Invite her over, or plan to celebrate on a different day. It’s best to expect that it will be hard for you than to hope that it isn’t. And then you can plan accordingly.
Maybe you don’t have your own mother in your life, but there may be someone you have felt “mothered” by. To “mother” means to nourish and protect. Have you had someone nourish and protect you this year? What would it be like to honor that person, stepping away from the traditional expectations of Mother’s Day?
Once you have honored the mother-type people in your life, plan to mother yourself too. Think about what would feel nourishing and set aside time this weekend to engage in that activity. Fill your partner in on your expectations of that day too. He or she may not realize that this could be a difficult day for you. Or they may not realize it could be a difficult day for themselves either. As always, keep each other in the loop.
With all the unknowns that exist when dealing with infertility, take advantage of planning ahead and preparing for what you can. You don't know how you will feel moment to moment, but you can plan to take care of yourself no matter what. And maybe you don't need a special day on the calendar to do that, but let Mother's Day be a reminder for you to keep yourself nourished and protected.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and fertility counseling specialist seeing clients online throughout North Carolina, Washington State, and internationally.She’s a member of Resolve, The Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Contact her to start feeling better.