It’s one of the most difficult times of the year for anyone trying to conceive, and it’s here again. A day focused on celebrating motherhood is bound to be challenging for anyone who is longing for a family, and it’s virtually impossible to escape when every local shop seems to have jumped on the commercial bandwagon. Mother’s Day can act as a horrible reinforcement of the sense of isolation and loneliness that you may feel as more and more of those around you seem to be pregnant or new parents. It can make you feel like an outsider whose life has become cut off form those around you.
If you know anyone else who is experiencing difficulties getting pregnant or who doesn’t have children, this can be the ideal time for meeting up with them. Getting together for a day out, a trip to the cinema or sharing a meal can be a good way of reminding yourself that you are not alone. There are around 3.5 million people in the UK alone who are going through difficulties at any given time, and every one of them will be experiencing very similar feelings about Mother’s Day.
It’s important to be kind to yourself today. Why not buy yourself some flowers? Or even better, if there’s something slightly indulgent you’ve been thinking you’d rather like for some time then today is the day to treat yourself for a change.
Don’t forget it’s a challenging day for other reasons too. For anyone who no longer has their own mother around, or those who may be estranged for some reason, Mother’s Day is also a reminder of what you don’t have. If you are fortunate enough to have your own mother around, try to enjoy being a daughter this Mother’s Day too.
The patient support charity Fertility Network UK has been gathering some useful and supportive advice from others, and here are a couple of the brilliant and really helpful posts they gathered – here from Deborah Sloan and here from Katy Lindemann. And there’s a great post here from Gateway Women’s Jody Day.
Whatever you do today, remember you are not alone – and take care x
It’s the run up which is just as bad as the event itself and it can seem as if there is no escape from Mother’s Day, but if you are anywhere near Liverpool on Sunday, there is something you may want to know about. It’s called the Mother’s Day Runaways service, will take place in the Lady Chapel at Liverpool Cathedral and it aims to offer a safe space for those who find Mothering Sunday difficult.
Whether you’re grieving the loss of a mother, the loss of a child, or a baby through miscarriage, whether you’re struggling with infertility or childlessness, singleness or a difficult relationship, whether you never even knew your mother or whether there is another reason why you might find Mothering Sunday painful, this quiet, reflective service has been designed with you in mind.
It will be an informal gathering, where you will be guided through an hour long service and you can find out more from Saltwater and Honey (and you can find out more about them here.
I wasn’t going to write anything about Mother’s Day – it’s one of those days that you’d rather not know about/think about/read about/talk about when you’re trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant – but then I thought about it some more and decided it wasn’t right for anyone to feel upset about something that was largely a construct of the gift and card industry nowadays…
I wrote an article about Mothering Sunday for a website a few years ago and hadn’t appreciated until then that in the UK the day originated as a time for people to return home to their Mother Church (that’s their own main local church). Domestic servants would go back to their home church and would visit their families for the day. It was originally a Christian holiday rather than the commercial event it has become.
I think it’s time that women without children made the day their own – you don’t have to go traipsing off in search of your Mother Church, but I think you should devote the day to doing nice things for yourself – maybe with your own mum. You may want to avoid restaurants full of families – but why not go and see that exhibition you’ve been meaning to catch before it closes, or buy yourself that dress you’ve been admiring? What makes everyone happy is different – but whether it’s having a manicure or going for a long walk, make some time on Sunday to do the things you want to do.
Not being a parent doesn’t make you any less special, or any less valid or any less deserving – have a happy weekend x