Mother’s Day, a hallmark event filled with joy and happiness, can be a sad reminder of what some women are not holding in their arms. I’ve spent the past four Mother’s Days hoping and praying that I would be celebrating Mother’s Day with a baby in my arms but here, in the year I turn 36, I have to accept that not only am I not a mother but that I might never be a mother.
This is hard cup of tea to swallow. I’ve survived Mother’s Day in recent years despite feeling excluded by my own family for my lack of children. I watch everyone on Facebook snapping pictures of their gorgeous children and I feel envious for what I don’t have. It’s not a joyous occasion for me or for many other women struggling to start a family. It’s a sad day and a reminder of what we don’t yet have.
This year, I’ve decided to make the best of it because I’m no amateur approaching this day with a simple naivety. I know how hard this day can be as I’ve experienced it many times before so I’ve been working on my 10 commandments of Mother’s Day. These are 10 rules that I will stick to in order to survive yet another Mother’s Day childless.
10 Commandments for Surviving Mother’s Day without Children
1. Thou shall not feel sorry for oneself. Yes, that’s right. I cannot feel sorry for myself today. I can have a “woe is me” attitude the day before and the day after Mother’s Day, but on Mother’s Day I’m going to spend the day celebrating what I have: a beautiful family consisting of my husband, two dogs, and our chickens. I will not lament over what I don’t have.
2. Thou shall avoid Facebook. Yes, for infertile women, watching other people with their beautiful children all doting upon their loving mother is a challenging trigger. I will avoid Facebook to help me adhere to commandment #1, thou shall not feel sorry for oneself.
3. Thou shall do something nice for others. While it’s challenging to be a childless mother, it’s even harder to be a motherless child. I will find a way to do a good deed for a motherless child either by donating money or time. Helping others can provide feelings of happiness that are much needed on a challenging day.
4. Thou shall be extra nice to one’s spouse. Yes, he is my family. Mother’s Day is about celebrating the nuclear family and being a little extra nice to my husband is a reminder that my little family, for now, is enough.
5. Thou shall bake something awesome. Comfort food is a necessity and a way to keep the positive vibes flowing. I think I will try this new recipe for caramel filled chocolate cookies that I pinned last week.
6. Thou shall have the emergency lift-me-up iPod mix ready to play. Essential songs on my mix: Coldplay’s “Fix You”, Phillip Phillips “Home, “Carry On” by Fun, Mumford and Sons “I Will Wait” and “The Cave.” What should I add to my mix?
7. Thou shall honor other childless mothers. This year I purchased Mother’s Day gifts for my mother and my mother-in-law from a charity for a friend who is raising money for adoption. I am excited to share the gifts and help out a fellow childless mother.
8. Thou shall pamper oneself. This is a great day for a pedicure, a massage, and maybe even a special haircut. I will also purchase a special fertility bracelet as a gift to myself, perhaps this one or this one.
9. Thou shall be one with nature. I’ll take my iPod mix and wander into the woods for a hike. Going for a hike is the best way to clear my mind and exercise can do wonders for mood and happiness.
10. Thou shall remain hopeful. As we rack up failures and get ready to start IVF #3, it’s really hard to believe that this might work for us someday. On Mother’s Day, I won’t think about how I might not be a mother and instead I’ll hope for the day that I’m celebrating Mother’s Day as a mother.
What do you do to survive the pain of a joyful, yet painful day?