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Surviving Mother's Day

Mother's Day is almost here and for many women, it is a day riddled with sadness and anxiety.

The constant struggle to be happy for all the special moms in your life while trying to shove down the reminder of your own battle is not something to be taken lightly. For those that are just counting the hours until this holiday is over, we've compiled a few tips to help you get through the weekend.

I understand how hard Mother’s Day can be – both as a clinical psychologist and as a former patient.

Years ago, I was a depressed infertility patient. Our synagogue was renting space in a church and I happened to be there on the Sunday that was Mother’s Day for a class. A very well-meaning man from the church wandered into the room with carnations in hand. He asked me, “Are you a mother? I’d like to give you a flower.” I was crushed. I probably went pale as a ghost and I don’t remember what I said. I think it was a sad and weak “No.” I do remember how stricken he looked, realizing his mistake. Maybe he gave me flower anyway, saying something like “Well, I hope you are one someday.” That’s how I’d like to remember it, that the man gave me comfort and a flower.

It is just one day a year, but it honors a role that we yearn for all year round. To help manage the emotions and experiences that come with this annual holiday, I’d like to offer seven tips to help you remain hopeful for the vast possibility ahead.

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. Reach out to that special person who will provide love, support, a quiet ear and a warm hug. Steer clear of anyone that could cause drama or sadness.

Set an Intention: This is the perfect time to send a message to the universe or say a prayer to honor your wish to become a mother. Imagine yourself succeeding in this goal and ask for strength, patience and support on your journey.

Practice Active or Silent Meditation: For some, silent belly breathing in a quiet room with candles 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 an activity that occupies the mind in a way that gives you space from your thoughts. Playing music, riding a bicycle, doing yoga, painting, 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.

Listen to your Needs: If you find yourself on the verge of tears or dragging yourself out the door to festivities, be honest with your needs and stay home. 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.

Join a Virtual Toast: Pulling Down the Moon is hosting a workshop that offers yoga, support, relaxation, and a safe space to get away.  RSVP here.

Avoid Social Media: Now 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 painful feelings. Remember, people only show their happiness on social media, and you’re never getting the full story. Avoid the temptation to compare your life to others.

Dr. Marie Davidson, fertility counselor with Fertility Centers of Illinois

Dr. Marie Davidson is a licensed clinical psychologist and patient educator. She specializes in counseling individuals and couples who are coping with infertility, and has provided counseling services to patients, donors, and surrogates since 1992. She facilitates patient education seminars on numerous topics such as considering egg donation and cracking the door to adoption, leads several women and couples support groups, and is widely published in the fertility field. Her personalized care and detailed understanding of the treatment process have been a welcome and supportive resource to many couples and individuals as they seek to grow a family.