This is how it feels to be infertile on Mother’s Day

Elena Ridley speaks about the struggles and mixed emotions of spending Mother's Day hoping for a miracle.

By Angela Chavez



Mother’s Day can be a day full of complicated emotions; you may have lost your mother, you may have a strained relationship with your mother, you may feel underappreciated as a mother, you may be a bereaved mother, or you may be infertile and trying to become a mother and it hasn’t yet happened.  I can’t speak to all of these, but I can speak to being infertile on one of the hardest days of the year.

What it means to be infertile on Mother’s Day is an entire wave of emotions crashing down on you in a single day reminding you of how much you yearn for a child and how you never know if it will ever happen.  While simultaneously being forced into a celebration of the mothers in your personal life and on your social media feeds.  It’s a day that you might want to completely ignore all together, or it can be a day where you want to celebrate the moms in your life.  For an infertile, it’s complicated!

What I remember most about Mother’s Day before becoming a mom myself when I really wanted to be more than anything in the world was the internal conflict I felt on that day.  We’d celebrate my mom, my stepmom, my mother-in-law, giving them gifts and having parties. I’d send texts to my friends who were already mothers wishing them the best Mother’s Day while at the same time feeling jealous and sad and angry wondering when it was going to be my turn, ifit was ever going to be my turn.  I wanted so badly to become a mother and on top of the complexity of emotions surrounding that day were the failed cycles, the shots, the ultrasounds, and all the physical parts of going through infertility treatments. You might be at a Mother’s Day brunch and need to excuse yourself from the table to go give yourself an injection in the bathroom!

What I would constantly try to remember was that Mother’s Day was just a day, a single day, a day to be thankful for the moms I had in my life, but also just another day.  I was just as infertile on Mother’s Day as I was the day before and the day after.  I knew that I could stay off social media and avoid all the posts and that the next day it would be over.  It can be a very triggering day at varying levels for many people.  Being infertile and still in the wait on Mother’s Day is often another painful reminder you may not be where you thought you would be, and you could go through that for years.  For me it was five, five Mother’s Days wondering, hoping, wishing, begging, to be a mom.  I was lucky enough that after those five years, I was finally on my way to becoming a mom via known egg donation.

But even now, being a mom for five whole years already, writing this is a struggle.  It’s forcing me to take myself back to those days and how I felt.  It’s dredging up feelings that I’m thankful that I have been able to overcome, and although these reminders are somewhat painful, reflecting on those days in the throes of infertility allows me to give gratitude to our journey.  Although it was one of the hardest things I will undoubtedly ever go through in my life, every step, every emotion, every piece of our journey fit together in such a way that brought us to parenthood through egg donation and eventually gave us our daughter.

For me personally, “getting through” Mother’s Day was also done by finding gratitude in something.  That may not be the same for everyone, so here’s a reminder that if Mother’s Day is hard for you, if you hate this day, if you’ve lost your mother, or you don’t have a relationship with your mother, if “it’s complicated”, if you aren’t yet a mother and wish desperately to be one; however you deal with this day is ok.  It’s ok to close the blinds and turn off the lights and not speak to a soul, it’s ok to go out a celebrate the other Mother’s you might have in your life—maybe you have aunts, or grandmas, or family friends that were like moms to you and they deserve to be celebrated, maybe you just pretend it’s another day and don’t even acknowledge Mother’s Day, there is no right or wrong way when it comes to this day and your feelings towards it.  There are going to be varying degrees of how you celebrate this day and that is entirely up to you. What’s important to know is that no matter how you feel about this particular day, those feelings are warranted and there is no right or wrong way to feel about it.   I personally want to wish all of you reading this a happy Mother’s Day, no matter how this day may look for you, know that you are not alone if you are struggling to find joy in it.  Lean on your community and know that there are many women out there who feel the exact same way as you do when it comes to holidays like these.  Infertility can rob us of so much, but knowing that we are not alone, that we are part of the worst club with the best members can always give us the perseverance to dig through the trenches of the hard days and come out alive with the support of our sisters.

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