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Infertility & Mother's Day? Seriously? One Way to Get Through the Day Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on May 7th, 2015

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Infertility & Mother's Day? Seriously? One Way to Get Through the Day


mothers-day-misery-infertilityThere are two words that evoke dread in any woman’s heart who is trying to conceive without it going smoothly. If you are dealing with infertility, and you know that Sunday is the second one of May, you know what day I’m talking about.

Mother’s Day.

This is part one of a two part blog. Having enjoyed, tolerated, and suffered through six years worth of Mother's Days while I was trying to conceive, I had six chances to try something that I could live with. Tomorrow, I will give an idea or two, a hint, some suggestions on how to plan a Mother’s Day that doesn’t feel just like suffering, suffering and more suffering. My Mother’s Days split cleanly in half. Three of them I was in misery, three of them, I felt some measure of calm.

Misery of Mother's Day While Trying to Conceive

Today’s blog is about the misery of Mother’s Day. Think of it as spring cleaning. We acknowledge the grief, pain, disappointment that we experience during Mother’s Day so that we can create a space that is open to receiving something brand new.

It’s the only way to do it, really. So I’m going to indulge in those feelings of grief. Some you may recognize as your own, some you may not. I know that a thorough cleaning is the best way that I can think to prepare a place for something more positive and beautiful to grow.

When I think back to my six and a half years of trying to conceive and being in fertility treatment, there are so many low points. 

There were many, many high points. Many moments of joy. Because life has those moments for me, no matter how dark things feel. Many moments of light. And then there were the low points. 

The lowest, lowest, down and dirty LOWEST point of the year was always Mother's Day.

Acknowledging Pain to Make Space for Something New

I wish I could say that I was a generous, gracious and loving daughter to my own mother on Mother's Day, but that would be dishonest. I know that she was hurting with me and didn't take tremendous offense at my bursting into tears at what seemed like inappropriate moments during our family's celebration of her. Still, it made for a very uncomfortable and stilted day. I was never so grateful for my sisters being able to pick up the slack and make the day pleasant and beautiful for her.

There was no escaping it. Mother’s Day was blared all over the radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, and internet. There wasn’t a place to turn that wasn’t all about mothers and children. Babies, babies and more babies. Tender looks exchanged by mother and child. Cards with sloppy, painted handprints. Breakfasts prepared that are barely edible but put together with love and joy. Tear-jerking commercials (I always especially despised Hallmarks).  

It was a little like a train wreck. You could not help but gaze, fascinated, even as it ripped your heart out. Imagining what it would be like to get to be that pretty, perky, made-up mom, sitting in bed like a queen, receiving her ill-made breakfast and handmade cards. It’s hard to tear your eyes away, from the vision of what you want for yourself.

Conversely, pulling the blankets over your head and staying in bed until the day passes may feel like an option too. I did that once or twice. Amazing how long a day lasts when you do that though. Even with junky books or silly movies to watch. There’s only so much that distraction works. When it came down to it, it just didn’t work for me.

How I Got Through Mother's Day While In Fertility Treatment

So I cried. Sometimes. And I wrote. Sometimes. And I felt miserable and sad and bereft. Sometimes. The feelings kept recycling, sometimes spinning slowly and sometimes quickly. Every regret I ever had resurfaced and reflected back decisions I wish I had not made.

It was a little like having a fight with myself and pulling out the kitchen sink and flinging it at myself. You know those fights. The ones that aren’t fair. Where every unkind or thoughtless word you spoke came back and hit you over the head. Where literally, chaos reigned supreme in your head and the chatter was deafening.  

After a while of that, it didn’t feel healthy. A shower was in order. A walk, perhaps. A talk with an understanding friend. Holding my husband’s hand, with no words necessary.

And then, mercifully, the day was over.

Clearing out space. Preparing for something new.

Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow. 

About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.