I’ve been getting such beautiful comments about redefining motherhood for Mother’s Day this year. Alex writes that motherhood is “the wanting to take care of someone. It’s the desire, more than the ability.” This year, she’s in limbo in the 2ww during Mother’s Day. It’s a unique place to be in; go visit her and wish her luck! Kakunaa considers herself “a mother…maybe not to my own children, but I am the mother of my friends, to my furbabies, and in my heart.” And Sonja puts it so simply and eloquenly when she says “mothering is a state of mind.” She says further: “It might not be the definition of the term “mother” that I grew up with, but you know what? This works for me now.” Kudos to those of you who are board with redefining motherhood this year!
I’m fortunately in that don’t have the same Mother’s Day blues as many other women. I’m blessed and thankful that my mom and mom-in-law are both living and well. And since we were never actively trying, it’s not like I’m missing out on something, as though this holiday is leaving me out. For others, they become the afterthought at Mother’s Day gatherings, the room oohing and ahhing over the moms and then stopping at The Infertile One and going “Oh, right, well have a lovely day too dearie!” Danya shares how painful the experience can be:
Like many other woman I dread Mother’s Day. But mostly because I dread other people’s pity. I’m always someone’s “afterthought” on this day. Especially at church. Everyones running around exchanging flowers and gifts with cries of a “happy” Mother’s Day until they notice me, get “that look” on their face and go, “Oh yeah, ahem, Happy Mother’s Day to you too, Danya! Cuz you’ll be a mother someday too! So you can celebrate too! Ummmmmm…. Oh! Here’s an extra flower! You can have one too!” Gee thanks. I’ve always wanted an afterthought Mother’s Day flower drenched in your pity.
Danya’s right. We shouldn’t be afterthoughts on Mother’s Day, or any day for that matter. And too many times in our IF journeys, we become our own afterthoughts: we’ll hold of that vacation because we need to save the money for this cycle. I don’t need to buy new clothes in case this cycle works. I’ll put off using that gift card I got for XYZ holiday/event/birthday because I don’t need to go shopping now. A fascinating NYT article from December of 2009 reports on a psychological phenomenon known as pleasure procrastination. We do it all the time, letting gift cards expire before ever cashing them in, never visiting local tourism like museums, monuments, and parks because we kind of take them for granted. In think in the IF community, we are always putting our pleasures, our joys, hell, our lives- on hold.
Here’s the thing: when we pamper ourselves, do even just one little something for ourselves that makes us feel good, we feed our bodies some delicious feel good brain chemicals. I’m no scientist, I have no idea what they are, but I’m going to say comfortably that this happens. (Why yes, I do have a PhD in Making Up Scientific Facts as Needed. How ever did you guess?!)
So this Mother’s Day, if everyone is celebrating around you, without you, despite you: I say, celebrate yourself! In fact, let’s change the name. It’s now
Mother’s Me Day. This is a day to do for you. If you have to go to that family function, do it. But get your hair done, paint your nails, buy that pair of strappy sandals you’ve been eyeing and arrive in style. Do for yourself and make yourself feel good!
Mother’s Me Day is the perfect excuse to go out and splurge a little on some home spa products, or jewelry, or clothes, or books – hell, even a new computer! (I might be speaking from personal experience. Let’s just say, there’s been a major party shift in the Zoll household and I friggin love my new laptop.) There are TONS of sales geared toward the mommy demographic that are just as applicable to the IF demographic. We read books. We wear clothes. We like perfume and gift certificates and spa packages. All you have to do is replace Mother’s with Me and bam: it’s a week of sales just for you! Look, I know it’s a crap economy, but sometimes, you just gotta splurge once in a while and celebrate yourself. Sometimes even just a couple hours of retail therapy can do wonders.
But like the NYT article mentions, we wait for special occasions to celebrate ourselves, and that we need to let that notion go. Case in point: last week, Larry really wanted cake for dessert. Not cupcakes, not pastries: straight up “frosted all over made in store looks like something you’d take to a potluck or dinner party” cake. And you know what? We bought the cake. We invited a bunch of friends over to help us eat said cake because yanno, we didn’t want to be total fatties eating the whole thing ourselves. Did we wait for a special occasion? Nope! We said, “we’re having cake because a) we want it b) we’re awesome and c) we don’t need a reason.” You might say we… had our cake… and ate it too… I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Mother’s Me Day, celebrate yourself. You deserve it, you’re worth it, and if you’re going to wait around for someone to do it for you, you’ll have wasted a perfect opportunity to indulge yourself.
Everyone’s situation is different, so when I shop it out, others might need something a little more substantial. Be sure to check out these great articles for coping and surviving Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
- Coping with Mother’s Day & Father’s Day (RESOLVE.org)
- Making the Best of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (RESOLVE of New England)
- Empty arms on Mother’s Day (American Fertility Association Blog)
- Help For When Mother’s Day Isn’t Happy (BlogHer.com)
- How to Support an Infertile Friend on Mother’s Day (surprisingly compassionate article at eHow)
What other things do you do or will you do differently this year to make it through Mother’s Day?