Facing the Grief of Mother's Day When You Struggle With Infertility
Editors Note: This article mentions sensitive topics such as miscarriage.
When I open my inbox during the first week of May, the subject lines make me cringe. Food delivery services, florists, Etsy, and many more companies encourage shoppers to celebrate Mother's Day.
However, these messages can be triggering for those people who have lost a mother or child, who never had a supportive mother figure in their lives, or who struggle with infertility.
Many people with endometriosis have experienced infertility or had a miscarriage, so Mother's Day can feel like a cruel time of year. If Mother's Day brings up painful feelings for you, here are some self-care strategies that may help you cope.
Mother's Day coping tactics
Opt out of Mother's Day emails Some companies like DoorDash allow email subscribers to opt-out of Mother's Day advertisements. If you receive regular promotional emails, you might consider researching if that company has a similar opt-out method.
Temporarily unsubscribe Before Mother's Day, you might consider unsubscribing from company listservs, advertisements, or newsletters. Keep a list of the companies from which you've unsubscribed so you can subscribe again after the holiday.
Take a digital detox During a digital detox, you limit your own time online. You can set up a temporary internet blocking app to prevent you from visiting sites that might be triggering you.
Many of these blocking apps, like StayFocused, allow you to choose which websites you want to be blocked. A full digital detox may not work for everyone, especially if you need to remain plugged into your email account for work.
But a partial digital detox can help you protect your peace and avoid Mother's Day posts on social media.
Push for change When you're surrounded by posts and advertisements featuring happy mothers and children, you may feel isolated if your own family doesn't match that picture-perfect image. Unfortunately, thousands of people cope with grief on Mother's Day.
Infertility or losing a child can be difficult traumatic life experiences. According to the Mayo Clinic, between 10-20% of people who know they are pregnant have a miscarriage.1
You can help make a change
If you have endometriosis, this grief can be particularly overwhelming. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine says that 30-50% of people with endometriosis experience fertility issues.2
Taking civic action can help some people feel empowered. You might encourage your favorite businesses to include an easy opt-out option for Mother's Day emails.
You might contact your legislators to advocate for better maternal healthcare and better benefits for people who have fertility challenges. You might also petition your health insurance to cover more options for IVF and fertility treatments.
These calls to action can help some people channel their grief into positive change in their communities. However, grief can be exhausting, so do not feel pressured to take these steps.
If you struggle during Mother's Day, know that you are not alone. Rely on your loved ones, your mental health professionals, and support groups.
Has anyone ever said the following to you about your endometriosis?