Struggling to Conceive and Triggered by Mother’s Day
My First Mother’s Day After Being Diagnosed with Infertility
It was terrible. The first Mother’s Day after finding out we would have a long road ahead to building a family was painful. Not the kind of pain that stings for a few minutes and wears off. But the pain that strikes hard and lingers. It was grueling, and we were struggling to conceive for a while. The weeks leading up to Mother’s Day brought on a level of anxiety that was difficult for me to manage. Not even therapy helped. Thinking about how to celebrate my own mothers and grandmother made me incredibly sad. I wanted nothing more than to join them in the sisterhood that is motherhood. Unfortunately, that would not be the case that year.
The commercials, cards, social media posts, and advertisements were all reminders that I was broken, barren, less than, and most of all, childless. This is what I told myself when my arms were empty and my womb was not yet filled with a budding life. But like a good daughter, I did all the things. I bought gifts and cards, went to dinners, and celebrated the women that raised me and my husband. I put my feelings to the side and pressed forward. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
The Struggle of Seeing Pregnant Women and Families
I dreaded going to dinner at my in-laws house that night. My very pregnant sister-in-law was going to be there, and I knew that would be the end of my “Strong Ashley” façade that day. When we walked through the door and I saw her, it hit me. The pain that had been building over the last few weeks. The panic attack that was brewing. Seeing her and the beautiful basket my Mother-in-law made for her was painful. Not because I was not happy for her to celebrate her first Mother’s Day, but because it was a stark reminder that all our efforts up to that point did not work. We were still childless and struggling to get pregnant. I did not know if I would ever be a mother.
I excused myself and went to the restroom. A rush of emotion came and tears began to streaming down my face. Shit! How will I hide my beet red face and swollen eyes? Allergies. I’ll blame it on that. That day consisted of a lot of trips to the restroom to cry into my clothing in an attempt to muffle my cries. It was hard to say the least, and I felt pitiful.
What does coping look like when struggling to conceive?
I wish that I could say things were different that next year but they were not. More of the same anxiety. More of the same reminders. More of the same grueling pain. The difference from year to year is that I had better tools to be able to cope. But what does coping mean anyway? Is it staying in bed and eating a gallon of ice cream while shutting the rest of the world out? Could it be leaning into your feelings as they come? What if it is choosing to still celebrate the day with your loved ones or snuggling the newest baby in the family to spread love? Is it choosing to be hopeful and have faith that one day it will be your turn? Or is it allowing yourself grace to do a mixture of these activities? I think coping can be all of these things. To me, it means acknowledging how you feel and doing what feels right to honor those feelings.
For Women on the Journey to Building a Family
Maybe you are reading this and, like me, Mother’s Day feels polarizing. You feel “Mother’s Day Depression.” Your heart is aching, and you are wondering why you are not “blessed” enough to have a child. The baby section in your favorite store sends you spiraling. A trip down your social media timeline has you feeling inadequate and jealous. You may have just found out your last round of IVF was not successful. Maybe you decided that your family has sacrificed enough to try to have a child and you just cannot do anymore. The baby you just saw on an ultrasound is no longer in your womb and you are attempting to piece together what is left of your broken heart. Now you are still waiting on your rainbow baby. Or the adoption you have been waiting to celebrate fell apart in the eleventh hour.
I see you. I understand you. I empathize with you. I am praying for you. Always.
Tips for getting you through the day
Infertility is complicated in every way imaginable. Everyone’s situation is different and what may help one person may harm another. So here is a list of ideas for ways to get through this week and the weeks after. Make sure to enter your name and email address below to receive my free Quick Guide to Surviving Infertility.
- Book an extra therapy session
- Take a mental health day from work
- Go to the spa
- Binge watch Netflix
- Spend some time in the sun
- Stay in bed and cry it out
- Talk to someone in your trusted circle
- Read a good book
- Take a long drive
- Light your favorite candle and meditate
- Create a hope box
- Start a gratefulness box
Are you looking for ways to support your loved one that is struggling to conceive?
If you have read this and you need ideas on how to support a person you love check out my blog to get a full picture.