A couple of weeks ago, I read an article at Still Standing Magazine called”10 Commandments for Surviving Mother’s Day.” I expected it to be full of advice about putting yourself first, staying away from Facebook and crowded restaurants, and deflecting well-meaning but insensitive comments from others. Instead, I was rather surprised by the first commandment:
Thou shall not feel sorry for oneself.
Come again? I thought the first rule of Infertile Club was that it’s perfectly okay to grieve and be sad, especially on Mother’s Day. Reading on, the author says, “I can have a ‘woe is me’ attitude the day before and the day after Mother’s Day, but on Mother’s Day I’m going to spend the day celebrating what I have…. I will not lament over what I don’t have.” Phew! Okay, that seems reasonable enough. Besides, to mope around all day is incredibly unfair to my own mother, who deserves to be celebrated every day.
The author does address Facebook (stay away!) and self-care (Thou shall pamper oneself and Thou shall be one with nature), but she also mentions two things that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of before:
Thou shall honor other childless mothers.
The author purchased Mother’s Day gifts from a charity for a friend raising money for adoption. I polled my Facebook support group to find out which members had their own businesses, so that I could support them when buying my Mother’s Day gifts. (I also plan to purchase gifts from them for birthdays and other occasions year-round.) Even though no one was raising money for a charity or their own treatments, I figured it couldn’t hurt to put a few dollars back into pockets continually drained by fertility treatments.
Thou shall do something nice for others.
Specifically, motherless children. I usually wait until Christmas to buy books or clothes for less fortunate kids, but so does everyone else. I love the idea of celebrating Mother’s Day by doing something special for a child who does not have a mother. Because I procrastinated until today, I decided to donate money to a local organization that helps older, minority, and children with special needs find foster and permanent homes. Next year, I’m hoping to do something a little more personal.
I understand that not every infertile is in a place where she can make the most of Mother’s Day, but I do encourage each and every one of you to read the article and see if you feel inspired. I know I did. I was ready to ignore Mother’s Day altogether, but reading these 10 commandments made me realize that my ignoring it would not make it go away. It would not make me feel better–in fact, it would make me feel worse, guilty for not celebrating my own mother. It will not be easy to get through the day, but I need to try, at the very least.