Dear Kris, My partner and I have been struggling to conceive for two years. We started seeing a fertility specialist a year ago. We’ve told a few family members, but still don’t feel comfortable in large gatherings with lots of children. Mother’s Day is coming up and my family has a huge pot-luck brunch every year. Our whole family attends – grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I usually enjoy this day. But in the past two years, a few cousins have added new babies to the family. I’m worried about how I’m going to feel and am contemplating not going this year. My mom says she understands, but I know she will be hurt if I don’t attend. What should I do? – Mother’s Day Quandary.
You just aren’t a physical mother. YET. But anyone who has been dealing with infertility has been a mother in their fertile imagination for quite a while.
Plan A: If the family understands why it is hard for you to attend, share those thoughts, and be good to yourself by staying home. If they try to tell you that you are “too sensitive” or “selfish”, remind them and yourself that you will share the day with all of them in the future. If the event triggers sadness in you, the best way of taking care of yourself this year may be to avoid the family gathering that celebrates the new babies and new moms. You could send flowers for the family event, or have your partner drop off food to let the family know you are thinking of them, and hope to join next year.
Plan B: Stay home from the big event but make it special for you and your own mom by scheduling a special outing for the two of you to celebrate your mom and you, the future mom. This could be a far more intimate and unique way to celebrate Mother’s Day without all the relatives asking you “So?! When are you two going to have a baby?” You don’t owe anyone an explanation and at the same time you don’t need to burst into tears when they butt into this sensitive area.
Plan C: Use only if Plans A & B fail – have a “bad burger” excuse ready, or “bad cold” you don’t want to give the new babies. Use the positive COVID test excuse as the heavy artillery excuse if necessary. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
Infertility is emotionally stressful. Think of this as your Mother’s Day as well.
Do you need impartial infertility advice?
Kris Bevilacqua, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist specializing in the emotional issues that surround infertility, third party reproduction, and women’s health. She conducts free infertility support groups bi-monthly and now offers infertility advice from questions submitted to our blog. To be considered for publication, email your question to AskKris@genesisfertility.com. All questions posted will be anonymous.