Mother's Day isn't the easiest day for me, nor is the easiest day for anyone struggling with fertility. Actually, I'd go so far as to say it's easily one of the hardest days of the year for those who want to be moms and haven't been able to make it happen. My friends and family were generally supportive when this day rolled around, but there are ways I wish they had helped when I struggled with fertility on Mother's Day.
On Mother's Day, when I was struggling with fertility issues, all I wanted was to stay home and be left alone. Unfortunately, that's not always possible when I had family obligations to attend. So, I would spend Mother's Day trying to appear strong and unfazed by all the attention being lavished on moms around me. As a result, and because I couldn't just hide at home and wait until it was over and my Facebook feed cleared of all things mom-related, I did spend a significant amount of time wishing my friends had done a few things differently for me on an incredibly difficult day. For the most part they tried to avoid the subject, which isn't all that helpful when your heart is hurting. In fact, it would usually end up making me feel like my reaction was disproportionate to the problem; like I should just "get over it" and not be so "sensitive."
Not only do I believe that isn't what I (or anyone in my position) should do, I don't believe it's even possible. Instead, as someone who has had fertility issues for years, I believe that Mother's Day creates strong and difficult emotions in women who want to be moms but aren't yet, and we all need our friends to help navigate those emotions on particularly difficult days. If you have a friend going through fertility issues this year, consider doing one of these things to support her.
I Wish They Would've Allowed Me To Opt Out
A lot of my friends are family members, or close friends of the family. I wish they had made it easier for me to opt out of Mother's Day engagements. Honestly, I don't fault anyone who's going through fertility struggles for wanting to stay home and eat Ben & Jerry's while watching Catastrophe. I wish it had been easier to just disappear from normal life on Mother's Day.
I Wish They Would've Asked How I Was Doing
I wish I'd been asked how I was doing on Mother's Day. I know most people feel like they don't know what to say to people who are struggling with fertility issues, but just because it might be awkward or uncomfortable doesn't mean you shouldn't ask anyway. I might not have always felt comfortable saying how I was really doing, but I definitely would have appreciated the though, and knowing someone thinking about me on Mother's Day would have made all the difference.
I Wish They Would've Celebrated My Role In Their Kids' Lives
I have close relationships with nieces and friends' kids, and I wish my maternal role in their lives had been celebrated a little bit on Mother's Day, too. Now that I am a mom, I try to make sure to thank my friends who aren't yet moms for their role in my daughter's life on Mother's Day.
I Wish They Didn't Point Out Social Media I Intentionally Missed
On Mother's Day, please don't ask me if I saw something on Facebook or Instagram. I did not, and I did not want to. I've been avoiding social media like the plague on Mother's Day for years. Leave me alone in my grumpy cocoon on Mother's Day, please.
I Wish They Gave Me Permission To Have A Total Meltdown
Honestly, I think having permission to completely meltdown would have kept a total meltdown from actually happening. Sure, it's hard to say for sure, but I think a silent pass to totally lose it would have been the nicest gesture from my friends on Mother's Day; like the ultimate acknowledgment that what I was going through was difficult.
I Wish They Covered For Me
I wish they'd covered for me when I was clearly struggling to keep it together on Mother's Day. I wish they'd stood up for me before I had to explain myself, and let everyone know what a hard day it might be for people who aren't yet mothers.
I Wish They Sent A Note
Sending a note to a friend struggling with fertility on Mother's Day is, in my opinion, something that can have a big impact. It's also low on the confrontation scale, because the person receiving the note can read it in private and have their own reaction without an audience. They don't have to put on a brave face in front of you but, instead, they can just appreciate that someone is thinking of them. Plus, if they don't want to read it at all, they don't have to.
I Wish They Reminded My Partner To Acknowledge Me
My partner is a lot of things, but overtly affectionate or excited about Mother's Day, especially when I was going through fertility struggles, wasn't one of those things. I would have loved one of my close friends to remind him to be a little extra thoughtful on Mother's Day, instead of me explaining, again, why this day is so particularly difficult.