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7 Tips to Manage Mother’s Day When Infertile

At RMA Long Island IVF, we recognize that Mother’s Day is-- without doubt-- the hardest day of the year for infertile women. 

It’s the day the whole world dotes on moms…and assumes that any woman of a certain age is one. That assumption, when verbalized, cuts like a knife—especially for those who’ve miscarried and lost babies along the journey. Being wished a Happy Mother’s Day when you’re suffering from infertility can prompt tears or anger—and there’s no shortage of people who will unwittingly make that mistake. So, what can you do to make the day somewhat less painful?

Here are seven tips for making it through Mother’s Day:

  • Focus on your own mom. It doesn’t help completely, but it can be a good distraction. You don’t have a child yet, but you have a mom. If your heart can’t handle sharing her with all your pregnant siblings and the grandkids you haven’t been able to give her yet, let the sibs have her for either dinner or brunch and you can do the other. If she’s far away, a pep talk on the phone may help. (Doesn’t talking to Mom always make things a little better?) But if she’s gone, Mother’s Day reaches another level of pain. Sometimes a visit to the cemetery to talk it out-- or cry it out-- in private might release some of the pent-up emotions and allow reflection on good memories you have of her.
  • Buy a Mother-in-Waiting’s Day gift. You are waiting for your baby, so that makes you a mother-in-waiting, right? In fact, you’re not just passively waiting—you’re actively trying and probably sacrificing and going to extremes to have that already-loved baby through medical intervention. Clearly, such Herculean efforts at motherhood justify a little mother-in-waiting present. Pick something or do something that makes your heart feel some comfort or happiness.
  • Remind yourself why you’re going to be a great mom. You know all those great plans and dreams that you have about motherhood? Why not sit down with your favorite drink and list all the reasons you’re going to be a great mom? Things like, When I’m a mom, I’m going to let my kid have ice cream for dinner sometimes. Then, put it away as a keepsake to look back on after your journey resolves. Or toss it—whatever feels right.
  • Make a garden. Even if you think you may have a black thumb, try gardening (again). Connect with nature. Get grounded by getting your hands and feet in the dirt. Flowers and plants make nice sanctuaries to escape to for reflection. And healthy, home-grown vegetables can improve your diet and may enhance your fertility. Add some little gnomes, wind chimes, or cherub statues. It might make a nice backdrop for newborn pictures someday.
  • Call before going to services. Dreading that moment when all the mothers are asked to stand up at your place of worship? Consider calling ahead and asking the pastor or rabbi when that moment will occur so you can plan to arrive after it or leave before it if it’s too painful. Better yet, ask if they could include those who’ve lost children in that moment of recognition.
  • Get a pet. Furbabies aren’t a substitute for a human baby, but they can be great to cuddle, love unconditionally, and fill a special spot in the infertile heart. If you have room in your life for one, maybe now is the time to hit the local shelter.
  • Get Proactive or Get a New Job. See if your employer will cover IVF in 2020 and if not, consider a job change to one that will. If you haven’t heard, a new bill mandating IVF insurance coverage in New York State (and the budget to support implementing it) was approved for 2020 and may provide an estimated half of all employees with IVF coverage. The mandate has exceptions and impacts mostly large companies with over 100 employees, so not all employers are required to offer IVF. Updating your resume and searching for a job—or planning when you’ll use the mandated coverage at your current company-- may empower and distract you on Mother’s Day. Where mandated, up to 3 IVF cycles will reportedly be covered, so accessing these benefits could hopefully make next Mother’s Day a brighter one.

These are just a few tips to help manage the day. But do whatever you want or need to do to get through this day. Treat yourself well. As a mother-in-waiting, it’s your day, too. Take it one hour at a time.

And if your sadness is impacting your ability to get through your regular days, please consider reaching out for professional help. At RMA Long Island IVF, we offer individual and group counseling sessions with a caring therapist who specializes in infertility.

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What are your Mother’s Day plans? Any tips to help others get through it?