Mother's Day is almost here and for many women and couples this holiday may stir up a variety of emotions as it may be a day riddled with anxiety, reflection, and sadness.
The constant struggle to be excited and happy for all the special moms and mother figures in your life while managing the emotions of your own battle is not something to be taken lightly. It is just one day a year, but it honors a role that we may yearn to joyfully celebrate. To help manage the emotions and experiences that come with this annual holiday, I’d like to offer five tips to help you get through the weekend.
Phone a Friend: While isolating yourself and binging on Netflix probably sounds more ideal, this is the time to reach out to those closest to you or that trusted confidant that always just gets it. Reach out to that special person who you believe can provide love, support, offer a listening ear, and a warm hug.
Find a Distraction: Choose an activity that gets your mind off of the holiday. For some, mindfulness exercises like silent deep breathing in a quiet room is calming and re-centers the mind. For others, it’s a maddening attempt to silence a chattering internal dialogue. If you find yourself in the latter, pursue another activity that brings you joy and peace and helps you cope with stress like playing music, taking a bubble bath, riding a bicycle, doing yoga, painting, going for a long walk, cuddling up with a favorite book, or even getting lost in an adult coloring book.
Engage in your Community: Join others experiencing infertility in online forums or an infertility support group. If you’re looking for support beyond Mother’s day, I lead monthly virtual support groups that are open to anyone who is dealing with infertility or is a single women trying to conceive, as well as quarterly support groups for anyone who has been affected by pregnancy loss. Another idea might be to find a way to give back and volunteer in your community involving something that you remain passionate about and has nothing to do with a fertility journey. It may nurturing for you, be a good distraction, and refocus your mindset.
Listen to your Needs: If you have plans with friends and family but find yourself on the verge of tears or dread dragging yourself out the door to events, meals, or festivities, be honest with your needs for self-care and stay home or make other plans. Let yourself be alright with saying no to an invitation. While seeing others can take your mind off things, it can also backfire in a sensitive situation. Only you can know what is best for you.
Avoid Social Media: If you’re triggered by social media posts, it is probably not the day to scroll through Facebook or Instagram. Take a social media detox and avoid those activating images and messages that can deepen and add to painful feelings. Remember, people often just show their happiness on social media and you may never be getting the full story. Try to avoid the temptation to compare your life to others stories.
As difficult as this day may be, remember to be gentle, kind, and nurturing to yourself. I hope these coping strategies and words may offer a sense of peace and comfort during this time. We recognize, acknowledge, honor, and celebrate those of you who are putting your all into the processes of becoming a parent, to those of you who are already parents and are working to grow your family, and to those of you who have experienced perinatal loss through this journey.
Susan Rizzato, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker who brings over nearly 20 years of counseling experience to those that have experienced pregnancy loss, perinatal loss, and the challenges of neonatal intensive care.