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Mother’s Day: 5 Tips on Surviving The Hardest Day of the Year

By Tracey Minella

May 10th, 2014 at 8:00 pm


credit: david castillo/

Infertile women face plenty of rough days each year… Halloween, New Year’s Day, baby showers, and our birthdays. But, without question Mother’s Day is, well, the mother of them all.

It is the day the whole world dotes on moms…and assumes that any woman of a certain age is one. That assumption, when verbalized, can make you feel like crawling away and crying. And it is even worse for those who have lost babies along the journey. Everyone from store clerks to the whole congregation will unwittingly wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. So, what can you do?

Here are five tips for managing on Mother’s Day:

·         Focus on your own mom. It doesn’t help completely, but it can be a good distraction. You don’t have a child yet, but you do have a mom. If it’s too hard to be with her for a dinner that includes your pregnant siblings and their 37 kids, then make separate plans to see her for brunch instead. If she’s far away, schedule a nice, long call. If your mom is gone, consider visiting the cemetery with a note or flowers, or doing something that reminds you of good times with her. Yes, it may make you cry, but it’s a great place to vent. (Can you tell I’ve done this?) You will cry on this day anyway. Go for happier tears.


·         Call your church or temple in advance. If you’re dreading how all the mothers are asked to stand up and be recognized at your place of worship… something that would be particularly hard for those who have suffered miscarriages or lost babies or infants…why not call ahead and ask the priests or rabbis to recognize and include those who’ve lost children in that definition. Or ask when that moment of recognition will happen and plan to arrive before or after that point in the services.



·         Make yourself a Mother-in-Waiting’s Day Card. You are a mother. A mother-in-waiting. Believe your day will come. But why should your card wait? You should sit down and list all the reasons you are going to be a great mom. Things like, When I’m a mom, I’m going to let my kid have ice cream for dinner sometimes. While you’re at it, buy yourself a gift, too.


·         Make a garden. It’s a great way to connect with nature and spend some quiet, reflective time alone or with your partner on Mother’s Day and for many days to come. Plant pretty flowers or maybe some healthy, fertility-enhancing vegetables. Populate it with little gnomes, wind chimes, or cherub statues. It could become your sanctuary.


·         Get a dog. Or a cat. If you’ve been seriously thinking about getting a pet, this may be the time to act on it. “Furbabies” love unconditionally and fill a special spot in the infertile heart. Is there room in your life for one?

These are just a few tips to manage the day, not to enjoy it. The fact is that it won’t really be enjoyable until you are a mom. So, do whatever you want or need to do to get through this day. Treat yourself well. Spend time with your partner. Hiberate. And stay far, far away from Chuck E. Cheese.

As a mother-in-waiting, it’s your day, too. Take it one hour at a time.

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What are your Mother’s Day plans? Any tips to help others get through it?




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Trying to Conceive, Trying to Grieve

By Tracey Minella

February 21st, 2011 at 12:00 am

The only thing worse than being infertile and childless, is also being motherless and fatherless.

Seventeen years ago today, also on President’s Day, I lost my mother unexpectedly. Nineteen months later, I lost my dad. Between the two, I lost a long-awaited twin IVF pregnancy.

I am an only child. And despite having a great and supportive husband and loving in-laws, I was lost… living with no significant blood connection in this world.

No parents, no siblings, no children.

I felt like an astronaut lost in space, floating alone in the blackness, with no tether line to anchor me. Can you imagine that? My whole identity was shaken. The desire to have a child became a need to have one. I plunged even further into depression. I left my job.

Losing the daily calls was probably the hardest thing. I kept reaching for the phone to call Mom. And I kept expecting her voice on the other end if it rang. I kicked myself for all the time I kept my infertility a secret from my parents. Part of me was embarrassed; another part didn’t want them to worry. All that time I could have had their support to dry my tears. And now they were gone.

I had no one to reminisce with about childhood memories and no one to understand my loss. After all, I was the only one at the dinner table each night or opening gifts under the tree. No one else called them Mom or Dad, except me. They were mine and mine alone. Mine to grieve for and mine to keep alive in memory.

And, with no child to pass my family history and those memories along to, I felt like some eraser was wiping away a little of us with every passing day. Almost like in Back to the Future, when the people slowly faded away from the family photos.

The guilt was unbearable, too. It was up to me to make them grandparents… and I failed. Could I ever get past that? They’d have been wonderful grandparents, and they never had the chance. Not even for a day. Mom never saw me get pregnant. Dad lived through the miscarriage but died before I got pregnant again.

Since the IVF success rates were only about 17% back then, it took us several years of IVF before we had our daughter on our sixth cycle. And then our son on the next try. It is amazing the way our daughter looks like my mom and our son looks like my dad. I like to think they had something to do with that.

If you’re trying to conceive and haven’t told your parents, I urge you to reconsider that decision. I kept thinking I’d get pregnant the next time and then I could just share the happy news, and spare all this heartache. But I never got that chance to share the good news and I lost out on their support in many of the bad times.

Deep in your heart you know that you’re going to be the best parent in the whole damn world when this journey is done and that you’re going to love this child to the moon and back. You’re going to be there for your child in good times and bad and will smother it with affection ‘til it begs for mercy. Right?

Until that day comes, please allow your own parents the opportunity to be there for you. Embrace their special love for you while you can. Pick up that phone. Do it now. Because they love you to the moon and back, too.

Miss you and love you today and every day, Mom. <3

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