Anyone who’s experienced fertility problems will be only too aware of the many grief landmines scattered throughout the year.
There’s the sporadic ones — such as christenings, baby showers, family get togethers. Then there’s the seasonal ones — such as Christmas, or even back to school day or world book day (when social media becomes wall-to-wall proud parents sharing photos of their gorgeous children). Then there’s the big one. The whopper. THE DAY.
I’m talking, of course, about Mother’s Day.
A day you so desperately want to be able to celebrate, but fear you never will.
A day that reminds you that you’re excluded from the parents’ club, pressed up against the window peering in from the outside, longing to join in.
A day that reminds you of what you’re missing out on — if that cycle had worked, or you hadn’t miscarried, you’d have a something-year-old child by now, and Mother’s Day would be a day of celebration, not mourning
A day that can be a double whammy for some people — if, like me, you’ve lost your mother, it can feel like the cruellest day of the year, with grief seemingly coming at you from all angles.
3 years ago I was pregnant when Mother’s Day rolled around, and I remember hoping with every fibre of my being that the following year I’d be a card-carrying member of the mummy club.
Sadly, that wasn’t to be — as we found out the following day that our baby had died. I’m still waiting for that membership card to arrive.
It’s really, really shit.
There’s no magic solution for how utterly, horribly shitty it feels.
But for what it’s worth, here’s a few tips that I hope may help to navigate this shittiest of shitty days.
Feel all the feels
It’s OK to feel angry. It’s OK to feel jealous of others. It’s OK to feel sorry for yourself. You are not a bad person if you feel like this. You’re human. It’s hard enough already without beating yourself up as well.
Do whatever you need to do
Do whatever you need to do to get through the day. Be kind to yourself.
Indulge in some radical self care.
Treat yourself to something self-indulgent. Get a massage, go for a really boozy lunch (preferably somewhere likely to be child free), go away for the weekend.
Or if you want to hide away, and sit in your tracksuit bottoms on the sofa with chocolate and Netflix, that’s totally OK too.
Arm the defences
Short of not leaving the house (tempting), it’s impossible to avoid seeing & hearing about Mother’s Day seemingly every -bloody-where But there are a few tactics that can help to turn down the volume:
Social media. Just don’t go there. Nothing good will come of going on social media on The Day.
Reading joyful #feelingblessed posts of seemingly idyllic Mother’s Day homemade cards & breakfast in bed will not help
Reading posts from mums recounting how they’ve had a crap Mother’s Day & feel unappreciated will not help.
Just switch off & unplug until the coast is clear.
When it comes to the flurry of Mother’s Day emails (from mailing lists that despite endless GDPR emails you somehow still seem to be subscribed to) promoting gift ideas & discounts, some brands have recognised that this can be a really difficult time of year for many, and given subscribers the chance to opt out of any Mothers Day specific communications
In the mean time, setting up an email filter to send any message with the word ‘Mother’s Day’ in the subject to Spam can be highly effective!
I wish I had words of comfort, but all I can say is to remember that you are not alone — and this too shall pass. If nothing else, once it’s over, you don’t have to worry about it for another 12 months…