“Are you a mother?”
She came up to our table with an armful of roses that she was passing out. It was Mother’s Day and we were out for dinner with my in-laws.
What I wanted to say was, “No. My ovaries died in a too-long abusive relationship, and while we’re at it, let me tell you about my patient I’m currently treating who has suffered eight devastating losses.”
But she meant well, just like every other member of the peanut gallery who doles out intrusive, useless, and frustrating advice, so I just said no and got a rose anyway because my cat is my baby no matter what anyone says.
Everyone would love Mother’s Day to go off as a non-issue- full of flowers, gifts, meals, and gratitude. But the reality is that it’s a minefield for anyone who has lost their mother, has a difficult relationship (or no relationship) with their mother, and especially for those still fighting tooth and nail to become mothers, or grow their families, or have lost their children, or who still bear the trauma of infertility treatments, even if they are now mothers.
Spring brings so much new life and hope. But for the infertility community, it also brings the slog through that first part of May. I see it in clinic year after year. I bring my extra best self to work because there are so many sighs and tears, as well as women needing to feel seen and heard during a time when their suffering is even more marginalized than it already is day in and day out.
Sorry. This post is supposed to be about self-care tips for this time, and I’m getting there, but there’s so much more that moves my heart this time of year, and honestly, this is one of the only places I can put it. Now that I’ve vomited that out, here are some tools to keep you even and grounded on and around Mother’s Day.
STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA
If you take nothing else from this post, do yourself this favor. Make a pact with your partner and stuff those apps on a dusty folder in your phone on a screen you rarely view. An occasional social media fast is proven to be good for your mental health and creativity regardless, so on this day of all days, give yourself that much needed break.
MAKE A PLAN
Either with your partner or just for yourself if you are TTC on your own. Make a day of it, go for a hike in a green space, watch a funny movie, cook or bake something you’ve never made before. Armed with a plan to have fun that you’ve written out, you’ll be less likely to wander into social media land. Here in St. Paul, the most awesome plant sale takes place every year on Mother’s Day weekend, so on the day, my phone is inside and I’m out gardening, nurturing my soul.
CALL IT A SPA DAY
Take a long, hot bath loaded with Epsom salts full of nerve-calming magnesium. Throw in a few drops of lavender and ylang ylang essential oil, breathe in deep, and see if you don’t just find that you have a few less fucks to give.
You had to know I was going to say this. It’s the cornerstone of everything I do. Whether it’s on your own, with an app, or one of my courses, start your day by creating a palace in your heart and mind where you are safe and grounded.
One of the best pieces of advice my boss and mentor ever gave me for accomplishing things in difficult times was “it doesn’t have to be pretty; it just has to get done”. While most of us don’t have the luxury of avoiding Mother’s Day completely, taking a few simple steps to guard your heart will help you sail through it with as few heaving waves as possible.
Holding you all so close. ♥️