How to cope with Mother’s Day when all you want is to be a mother

Fertility NZ CEO Nicola Bitossi shares advice for coping with Mother's Day when you don't have your longed-for child.

By Nicola Bitossi
For many people early May can be a difficult time. In fact, for women experiencing fertility issues, Mother's Day and the days preceding it can be one of the hardest times of the year.
Mother's Day may be a reminder of a longed-for child, and of the fertility and success of others. It may be even harder if several Mother's Days have passed since you started trying for a child. You may feel grief and sadness for the child you don't have – and the fact that you are not (yet) a mother.
For many people experiencing infertility, Mother's Day carries with it contradictions and complexities.
While some may throw all their energy into celebrating their own mother, for others the overwhelming desire to become a mother may be the overriding emotion. If this is you, you may experience a feeling of emptiness, or physical pains of grief and anxiety, particularly if your journey to date has been a long one.
You may also experience unfounded feelings of guilt in wanting to provide your mother with a grandchild, partner with a child, nieces/nephews with a cousin.
A little planning and forethought will help you immensely in dealing with the week ahead.

Our tips for dealing with Mother's Day

• Close family and friends may not realise that Mother's Day is difficult for you. You may like to gently let them know what you need at this time. This may be space, or perhaps moving a celebration with, or for, your own mother to another day.
• You may decide to tune out from social media during Mother's Day weekend.
• You may feel more in control if you have mentally prepared some responses or comments for colleagues, friends and family around their Mother's Day events and goings-on.
Your partner or support person may wish to mark your commitment to becoming a mother; and you should acknowledge this privately.
• You may choose to spend Mother's Day away from families with babies, young children and pregnant women.
• Most importantly, prioritise self-care. Be kind to yourself and plan something that helps you build up your reserves, or soothes your soul. Soak in the bath, plan a walk somewhere new, book a massage or put some time aside to read a book you'd enjoy. You've had a tough time, and you deserve it.
If you can, use the occasion of Mother's Day to find strength and hope in your journey. Kia kaha.