To the Mothers in Waiting by Hollie Shirley

So, Sunday is Mothers day in the UK

This is always a bit of an awful day for me, as I’ve gotten older, my social media feeds are filled with my friends celebrating their mothers days as mothers themselves, and well, I can’t help but feel a little left out. I’m not part of the club, not through lack of want or trying, and I so desperately want to be.

Will my little ones ever wake me up at 9am with breakfast in bed?

Will I ever get a handmade mothers day card with a stick person family drawn on?
Will I ever be someone’s mum?

These questions stir around in my head every mothers day, and each year it gets harder for me to visualise this coming true. Being sub fertile and still not yet starting IVF for personal circumstances I can’t control, every year is a little stab in the heart for me. I can’t wait to be a mum, and I can’t wait to spend those idyllic Sundays squished in bed with my family.  To add insult to injury, this week 4 of my friends have announced their second pregnancies.

I know I’m not the only person who struggles with days like this, and I know that my partner goes through the same emotions on Fathers day, and pretty much every other “Day”. Easter, Halloween, Christmas, baby showers, birthdays,  they’re all just a reminder that we aren’t there yet.

So how do couples cope with these days? If you know someone going through this, how can you support them?

Full disclosure – WE ARE NOT JEALOUS OF YOUR KIDS. Please don’t feel like you need to shy away from us during this time. We just want you to be mindful of our situation and maybe think before you speak.

Remember you are not alone. I’ve said this so many times, and it is a bittersweet comfort. There are so many couples out there going through this minefield, so take comfort that this battle is not just yours.

Avoid the shops!

If you can’t avoid a family function at least try and avoid the shops. The wonderful world of online shopping can help here. The least time spent trawling through Hallmark cards the better. Plus if you are anything like me, you’ll end up buying creme eggs to mask the pain.

Choose your focus

Are there any positive aspects of Mother’s Day you can focus on? In addition to your own mother or grandmother is there another special person in your life that deserves celebration? For me, it’s my 96 year old Granny. She’s amazing, and I am so grateful to have her in my life.  Alternatively, you may need to simply get away from the whole day. Book a trip, visit a gallery, see a movie or go do something you have been putting off for years. Find what feels good for you.

Get empowered

It’s easy to feel you are losing control when faced with the roller-coaster of infertility. Mother’s Day only heightens that sense of feeling overwhelmed. Reclaiming your sense of control may simply involve doing as you wish for the day, instead of fulfilling the expectations of family members or that overrated emotion called guilt. Hiding under your bed sheets, having a glass (or two) of wine, avoiding all social media whilst watching reruns of Friends may be exactly what you need to survive the day. And that is okay. Own it and give yourself permission to be kind to yourself.

Plan for the day

If you know it is going to be a testing time with relatives, set some time aside to mentally rehearse the day in your mind. Recognise any triggers, people or words that could upset you and put a plan in place for damage control. Get your verbal comebacks together for any insensitive comments and plan a list of conversation topics so you can always change the subject. Set the time for departure and enrol your partner in the process.

Get Mindful

Unless you are a meditating monk, chances are your head is filled with a constant stream of incessant chatter. I know mine is.  Under times of stress your brain may make up stories to help explain your infertility. Your brain would rather be certain about these stories than live in the unbearable uncertainty of the unknown. Be careful not to let undisciplined thoughts rule your mind. By practising a form of mindfulness or meditation, you quieten down the insecurities of your mind and create more space for peaceful thoughts.

Handling family and friends

You know the insensitive questions, the pitying looks and the completely useless snippets of information that come during a social gathering of loved ones who have absolutely no idea what you are going through. They are trying to help, sure, but they have no concept of what it’s like. This doesn’t mean you have to forgive them for being insensitive or just plain stupid, but it would help you if you did. Harbouring resentment does not serve you. Avoid any situations where you feel vulnerable to prying questions and never feel you have to justify yourself to anyone.

Mother’s Day may only be 24 hours long, but that one day of torture can seriously deplete your energy reserves. To help top up your balance try nurturing yourself with a week’s worth of enjoyable activities. Give yourself something to look forward to, plan something for each day of the week with the sole intention of lifting your spirit.

Here is to all the mothers in waiting.

To every MIW, wherever you are on  your journey, just remember that you nurture, you care, you comfort, you love, you help, you encourage, you speak, you support, you trust, you give, you hope. You are all these things. You will have your mothers day.  Your mother’s heart is celebrated. Your mother’s heart is inspiring. Your Mother’s heart is just simply you.

So I say to you Happy Mother’s Day to all my awesome MIW. I love you.

Until next time,
Hx

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