I still have vivid memories of Mother’s Day in 2014. That was three years ago. My daughter was approaching age 3. I was approaching my 45th birthday, I had been TTC unsuccessfully for eight months. My hope of having two kids three years apart had been dashed. My dream of having a second child at all was fading. Each month my inner sense of longing, despair, and lack of control was growing.
I woke up the morning of Mother’s Day ready to start anew, looking forward to a quiet day with my husband and my daughter. It was approaching 8am when my husband got a text and revealed to me that a surprise was on its way—our neighbors were coming over with their three kids (ages three and under) to celebrate mother’s day with us. The dads would be cooking breakfast and the moms would get to play with the kids.
On a good day, time with this particular family left me frazzled and exhausted. I’m a person who is soothed by calm, quiet and order. A playdate with four kids ages three and under is a far cry from a spa day for this tired mama. “Um, okay, when are the coming?” “In ten minutes, they’re walking over now.” I tried to paste a smile on my face as I silently repeated, “focus on the intention, he’s coming from a place of love.”
I slipped away to get changed out of my pjs. I went to the bathroom and as luck would have it, AF started right then. All I wanted to do was sit in the bathroom and cry. Wiping away my tears, I did my best to pull it together so that I could create friendly small talk with our guests. I didn’t want to cast a dark cloud over Mother’s Day for our friends. I don’t know that I succeeded. Honestly I felt angry at everyone, even though I knew logically that no one was at fault. At the time, this felt like my worst Mother’s Day ever.
Little did I know what adventures lay ahead of me. Over the following year I experienced two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. I went on a bold quest to nurture my eggs naturally. Looking back now at my trusty Fertility Friend app, it was pretty much to the day--that next mother’s day, my golden egg was released. My miracle baby is 15 months old now, sleeping beside me as I type. Now my family is complete and I can just rest in gratitude on Mother’s Day, thankful for all my opportunities to experience the joys of motherhood.
How are you experiencing Mother’s Day, truly? There is no right or wrong way. I invite you to be genuine with yourself. Allow yourself to have the feelings you have. Give yourself space for whatever emerges, and know that you are not alone. Feel free to email me your stories, your joys, your sorrows. Sure, you may need to put on a happy face for those around you, but make sure you create some space where you can be plainly honest and embrace whatever feelings are present for you regarding your own experiences as a mother, your desires to be a mother, or your relationship with your own mother—whatever the notion of “Mother’s Day” brings up for you.
I look back on this day in 2014, and I wish to give myself compassion and a loving warm hug. I felt so alone and sad. I actually find it a helpful exercise to use imagery to send my older, wiser self to comfort my younger self at times that were challenging in the past. If you’re currently in a challenging space, you can also use imagery and envision various supportive figures. Conjure up a nurturing figure, a protective figure or a wise figure to come be present with you. Allow the images to be vivid. Feel the nurturing, protective, or wise qualities of this being. Allow their presence to touch you. Perhaps you’ll envision a caring gaze, or a gentle hand of support on your shoulder, or a warm embrace that says, “I know how you feel and I’m here for you.”
(If you would like to learn more about these approaches, I recommend a book called, “Tapping In” by Laurel Parnell. Dr. Parnell is a psychologist who trains other therapists to treat trauma and heal attachment wounds. I find her approaches to be very effective for myself and clients I work with. This book is written for a general audience and shares some of her therapeutic techniques that can be safely done on your own.)
I believe that processing emotions is a vital aspect of our emotional health as well as our physical health. Feelings that get pushed away don’t go away, they get suppressed and they fester. When it comes to optimal fertility, we aim to release anything that may inhibit our natural flow of energy.
On this Mother’s Day, I wish you the courage to be true to yourself and breathe freely. I also wish you the ability to trust that, if you have not already, you will find a path to fulfill your longing to be a mother. It serves us well to be open to the many ways our dreams may be fulfilled. Trust that there is a path and you will find it.
May you have courage.
May you have trust.
May you trust your intuition as you find your path to the motherhood you long for.