For many mothers, May is a month of celebration. However, for women who are struggling with infertility or have experienced recurrent miscarriages, this month can prove to be more stressful and sad than just Mother's Day.
The season can be a hurtful reminder of the challenges they have faced with infertility. Some have endured the unthinkable pain of losing a child; others may not feel that this day justifies a celebration.
And then there are those who desperately long to experience (but have not yet achieved) the joy of hearing a son or daughter whisper, "I love you, Mom."
Advertisements and commercials celebrating Mother's Day usually start appearing a month before the actual day.
You can see messages everywhere, from the greeting card section in stores to restaurant websites, Facebook memes, and ads in newspapers and magazines. They're all over the place!
So, how can you cope with the discomfort and often pain that comes with the month of Mother's Day?
According to Ellen S. Glazer, a contributor to the Harvard blog and infertility specialist, there are several tools you can use to deal with the season.
"As an infertility counselor, I always experience this season with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I'm excited that spring is here and there may be an opportunity to wish some of my clients the long-awaited 'Happy First Mother's Day,' knowing that they struggled for years with infertility or recurrent miscarriage."
Ellen has designed a plan based on her experience that can help women struggling with infertility as well as people who feel affected by it in general. She hopes that this year when you see advertisements for flower deliveries or browse through greeting cards, you'll know you're not alone.
According to Ellen, positioning Mother's Day as a time for positive activity can be mutually beneficial, whether you're alone or spending the day with your mother.
You may enjoy a Mother's Day walk, where you can join other women and men to fight for social causes. Positive activities reduce the commercial burden that comes with this season.
This advice is suggested by Libbi Armstrong, a coach and a woman who has gone through infertility. Take note of your thoughts. Identify when negative or depressing ideas arise throughout the day.
You may not be a mother, but you are still a woman
"As soon as I realize a negative thought is starting to take hold, I ask myself, 'Is it true?' When you look for the truth behind a thought, you will find that most of the time it is a false truth created by our subconscious based on our limiting beliefs. Once I have determined that the thought is not true, I choose a new positive thought."
Take a relaxing bath, light some candles, open a bottle of your favorite wine, and gift yourself a massage. You may not be a mother, but you are still a woman.
Here's a tip from psychologist Jamie Long, who experienced infertility for five years. Her diagnosis was a premature ovarian failure. As a therapist and someone who fought against infertility, she found ways to deal with the month of Mother's Day. Her advice is to avoid over-identifying with the situation, which means not letting it define you completely.
"To survive, we must navigate these waters by balancing our emotions in a way that acknowledges our right to feel them but doesn't reduce us to helpless victims," Long states. "It's easy to over-identify with our feelings. We know we've done it when we feel like we're gasping for air. For weeks. For months. For years."
These feelings are valid and understandable, but they won't kill you. Be kind to yourself and do whatever it takes to feel good. Be yourself.
"My experience with Ingenes was very calming all because of the staff, they were welcoming and made you feel at ease with everything."
Ingenes McAllen, TX.