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Archive for the ‘Tracey Minella’ tag

Infertile “Coming Out” Day

By Tracey Minella

December 16th, 2014 at 3:56 pm


credit: stuart miles/

Many people suffering from infertility do so in silence. And this makes the struggle even harder. Did you just survive another holiday season dodging and lying to the baby-naggers and holding back tears as a mob of nieces and nephews opened presents? Are you wondering how you’ll face another New Year like this?

Despite the spike in infertility awareness and all the progress that’s made during April’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), by the time the holiday season approaches in December infertility awareness is off the public’s radar. With all the child-centered fun and the family gatherings where ignorant or insensitive baby pressure comments are made, December is particularly hard on the infertile. Especially the “closet” infertile who doesn’t have family support.

NIAW is specifically timed for late April, just before Mother’s Day…the indisputably most painful day of the year for infertile women. On the heels of NIAW is Advocacy Day in early May, when hundreds of infertiles and their supporters flock to Washington, D.C. to speak to elected officials about infertile-friendly issues and pending legislation. NIAW and Advocacy Day raise infertility awareness, educate the fertile public and legislators, and help reduce the ignorant and insensitive comments infertile couples are faced with. At least temporarily.

There is even a National Infertility Survival Day, on the first Sunday in May (also just before Mother’s Day) to “celebrate all the hard work and effort that infertile couples put towards trying to have a child.  The day’s main emphasis is on self-care and celebration for what they do have. It’s also a day for friends and family to help lift the spirits of a loved one coping with infertility.” * This is a great idea for those who’ve already told their friends and families… or for couples to celebrate privately.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if infertile people had a day…much like the GLBT community’s Coming-Out Day in October…when they could “come out” to their family and friends about their infertility? And wouldn’t it be great if that day was timed for right before Thanksgiving, the kick-off of the winter holiday season? I vote for November 11th. 11-11…easy to remember. Just like two lines on a test strip.

Participants in Infertility Coming-Out Day would release the burden of their silence, quiet the “baby-naggers”, and hopefully receive needed support and understanding. And even those who still remain silent might benefit from publicity surrounding such a day.

Who is with me?

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Do you think there should be such a day just before the winter holidays? If you are currently suffering in silence, would you find strength in numbers and find it easier to “come out” on such a day? If you’re struggling with wanting to tell, but not knowing how or when the time is right, would this help you?

If you have told your family, how and when did you do so…and how was the news received?




credit: stuart miles/ Image ID: 10054806

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4 Ways to De-Grinch An Infertile Heart This Holiday Season

By Tracey Minella

December 5th, 2014 at 11:19 pm




Hot on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday was #GivingTuesday…a day to give back. We shared a list of some worthy infertility-related not-for-profits for anyone’s consideration.

But why should giving only be reserved for only one day? Especially since giving can be so therapeutic.

Holidays that involve having children are understandably particularly hard on us infertile folk. And there’s no way to really fill that void, but here are a few suggestions to help get through this month while you’re waiting for your own “dream present”:

Toys for Tots: Most communities have Toys for Tots campaigns and are in seeking unwrapped, new toys for underprivileged children. Some of these children do not have parents and the holidays are particularly hard for them, too. You can donate a toy at your local Toys R Us but if braving the toy store is too hard, you can donate money instead. For more information and for a list of other drop-off locations and volunteer opportunities see:

Adopt-a-Family: Many local hospitals and houses of worship have programs where people can adopt-a-family for the holidays. The families chosen have fallen on hard times due to unemployment, military deployment, serious illnesses, death, homelessness, or other hardships. If not for this program, the children may not have food, warm clothes, or any presents for the holidays. Why not call and inquire about how you can help? The Salvation Army in Blue Point, NY (631-363-2136) and Soldier’s Angels and Toys of Hope and The Retreat (for domestic violence victims) are just a few local adopt-a-family programs.

Soup Kitchen: Volunteering to feed the homeless and poor at a local soup kitchen is a great way to make a difference in someone’s life and make you feel good, too. Your local house of worship or Salvation Army can direct you to the nearest facility. Here is another list:

Sick Children: You love children. Why not share your love with those who are suffering life threatening illnesses? You could volunteer with organizations like Make-A-Wish and be part of granting magical wishes  Or you could contact the social services department of your local hospital and ask if you can help brighten the mood of any of the children battling cancer who will be spending the holidays in the hospital and whose families might not be able to afford gifts.

It’s so easy to become a Grinch in December. Why not try one (or more) of these suggestions? I’ll bet your heart grows 3 sizes that day…

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What do you do to help get through the holidays? If you try any of these tips, please let us know how it goes! Or better yet, take a selfie doing one of these things and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!



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There’s No Sugar-Coating Halloween’s Impact on the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

October 31st, 2014 at 11:59 am


Credit; Stuart Miles/free digital

I’ve got nothing.

Usually, I can muster up some tips to get you through the roughest days of the year. But this one is hard and I find the tips I’m brewing up are either too lame or too sinister to share. What makes Halloween so tough?

Halloween is the one universal children’s holiday…celebrated by all children. We all remember Halloween fondly, the costumes, the candy, the parties, the doorbells. The sugar-rush, shaving cream fights, and the eggs… for you rebels out there. Bolting from house to house for hours, until our feet dragged from the weight of a pillowcase that rivaled Santa’s sack. Mom and dad watching from the curb.

“Just one more house, PUH-LEEEZE?”

Halloween by its very nature is the most “in-your-face” of the holidays. Literally. It’s an onslaught. Even worse than Christmas or Chanukah… where you only have to deal with the kids in your immediate families. Today, kids are everywhere. All day and night. In the streets and at your door. You can’t hide. No place is safe.

Childhood memories of Halloween make us want to be kids again. And simultaneously makes us want to have our own so they can experience the same wonder. And so we can be the one at the curb today, the one who checks the bags for safety, the one posting 102 pictures to Facebook.

And not having it feels like a little pirate’s plastic dagger in the heart.

Another year that the dream of dressing up a little boy or girl in the perfect costume hasn’t come true. Another year to wait. How can I sugar-coat all this pain?

So I’m telling you to hide as best as you can. Stay off social media once the onslaught begins later. If you can go to an adults-only party or a romantic restaurant to escape children tonight, that’s great. But if it hurts to answer the door 372 times, lower the lights, put a bowl of treats out, and retire early… with a bag or two of your own favorite candy.

Or you could always open the door in the middle of an injection, screaming “TRICK!” and frighten the bejeebers out of the nineteenth Anna and Elsa that come knocking. (Oops, did I just say that out loud?)

The choice is yours. You can “let it go”… or you can be a witch if you want to. After all, it is Halloween.

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How do/did you handle Halloween when infertile?


LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015” contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here:


photo credit: Stuart Miles/free digital


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Ode to My Captain

By Tracey Minella

September 26th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

He sure looks good in pinstripes. He also looks good in heather gray.

He’s your captain and has been right there for as long as you can remember. Just a touch away from the couch.

“Captain Clutch”. He always comes through when a miracle is needed.

He’s not like other men. He’s special. Almost magical.

He always goes above and beyond the call, defying odds. There is no physical task he can’t perform when the demand is made and the pressure is on. He is the master of his domain.

He’s the definition of a team player. You could not admire him more.

He builds up his team, deflects attention from himself, and downplays his important contributions.

He wants to win. It’s his only goal… his only focus… 24/7. Year after year. It has been that way since the journey began long ago.

He has sacrificed everything in pursuit of his dream. He tries to hold in his emotions.

He sees children in his future.

Who is he?

He is your husband.

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By the way…Thanks for the memories, Derek Jeter! You’re awesome, too. I’m tipping my hat (pictured above) to you!

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Remembering 9/11 Thirteen Years Later

By Tracey Minella

September 11th, 2014 at 1:40 pm

You will always remember where you were that fateful day. And so will I.

I was working as a medical assistant for Long Island IVF. I was also a patient there…and about 9 weeks pregnant with my son. Could life be any happier on a blindingly clear, crisp September morning?

It started out as a typical day, with the usual morning rush. Lots of busy women…many trying to get their blood and sono done so they cold hurry off to work. A few rushing to catch a train to the city. Men dropping off specimens on their way to the office. Some trying to catch a train to the city.

A train to the city.

By the time news of the second plane crash hit, most of the morning’s patients had already been seen and were gone. Disbelief was quickly followed by panic as we and the rest of the nation scrambled to figure out if our friends and family who worked in NYC were ok.  And what about our patients?

Doesn’t “So-and-So” work downtown? Isn’t “Mr. X” a trader on Wall Street? We spent the morning pouring over the employer info in the patients’ charts, making calls on jammed phone lines, and accounting for everyone’s whereabouts.  We went through the motions of the day on auto-pilot, glued to a 13” black and white TV in the nurse’s station, watching the horror unfold. What kind of world was I bringing this baby into?

But just as there were stories of heroism, good deeds, and miracles amid the atrocity of the attacks, there was something positive that day in the IVF office.

A patient learned that, despite the chaos unfolding around her, it was indeed going to be her insemination day. When it’s your day, it’s your day. Not even an act of war will intervene. And 9/11 was to be her only day. One insemination. That afternoon. Amid the sadness and silence and muffled sobs of the patient and everyone in the office.

And we came to learn a couple weeks later, that on the day the Twin Towers and the lives of so many innocent people were lost, we had participated in one ironically beautiful beginning. That patient got pregnant and had…twins.

Usually, it’s the patient who is thankful to the doctor and staff. But I will always be grateful to that patient for giving us one little happy something…well, actually two…to remember from that fateful day. And for being a sign to me that the world would go on, that we’d keep making babies, and that maybe it was going to be alright.

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Where were you?

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Infertility and the Back-to-School Blues

By Tracey Minella

September 2nd, 2014 at 10:51 am


credit: vectorolie/


It’s right up there with Christmas morning and Mother’s Day. The first day of school.

Today, many area school children go back to school. They’re out there in droves on the street corners, decked out in the latest trendy clothes, complete with cool backpacks. Suddenly, navigating the neighborhood can feel like some twisted horror movie for many infertile folks longing for a child of their own.

If you’ve ever gotten stuck behind a big yellow bus, you know the special pain of driving about 3 miles per hour and stopping at every other corner to allow yet another pack of 15 kids on board.

Am I really the only one in the neighborhood without a kid on that bus?

And what’s the etiquette on waving back? When following the bus, do you avoid eye contact and pretend you don’t notice the 4 little monsters waving their arms at you madly from the back seat? Or do you muster the courage and quickly wave or smile…only to find your acknowledgement has fueled their relentless and continued arm-flailing! Have you ever *gasp* made an ugly face back at them in a weak moment?

And you’re not off the hook once you get off the road. Beware the Facebook assault as every fertile person you’ve ever known floods your newsfeed with pictures of their children and grandchildren getting on the bus this morning. And just to twist that knife, they’ll throw in a complaint about having to wake up early.

The first day of school is a lousy day for infertiles. Alter your routine… if you can… to minimize the exposure. Tweak your travel time or route. Stay off social media. And treat yourself well today.

If you have room in the budget, consider something many moms burdened with back-to-school expenses may not indulge in often…like a nice massage, a romantic dinner, or buying that new bag you’ve wanted. Or commit to something new that could impact your fertility plan…like exercise, healthy eating, acupuncture, or a mind-body program. For info on Long Island IVF’s recommended acupuncture and mind-body counseling programs click here:

And remember, next year you may be looking at things differently. That long ride behind the bus isn’t so bad when there’s a sleeping newborn in your car seat. You may even find yourself smiling and flailing…

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What do/did you do to get through the first day of school?

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Confessions of an IVF Mom: I’m Jealous of Your Infertility

By Tracey Minella

July 16th, 2014 at 6:14 pm


image courtesy of arztsamui/

I am an IVF mom. When I was a younger infertile woman, I was jealous of pregnant women and mothers. They were in my face, everywhere I turned (or at least it felt that way). I didn’t begrudge them what they had. I just wanted a baby, too. More than air. Just like you do now.

Today, it’s worse. You still encounter the usual public displays of parenthood like people breastfeeding, playing in the park, or crowds at the school bus stop. But now there is the assault from social media, too. You can’t even hide in your own home. Newsfeeds stream with pregnancy sonogram photos, gender-revealing parties, birth announcements, and daily kiddie updates on Facebook ad nauseam.

Infertile people are sick of waiting for their turn. Sick of having to endure treatments. Sick of having their happiness and their lives put on hold. Infertile people are tired of being poked and prodded, of getting their hopes up and getting let down, of setbacks outnumbering wins, of months turning into years.

How could I be jealous of your infertility, you wonder? Surely I couldn’t possibly remember how it felt to have to hope every month that this would finally be the month I’d find out I was pregnant?

Ah, yes. That’s exactly what I remember. And that is where the twinge of jealousy lies… in the hope each month of conceiving. A hope that is long gone from my life, but that still exists in yours.

I spent many years in your agony, hoping. Hoping each month to become pregnant, to have a baby, to be a class mom. Hoping for a sonogram photo that measured a baby instead of an empty uterine lining. Hoping for a chance to scan a baby registry and set up the nursery I dared to dream of.

I imagined taxiing kids to activities all afternoon, running the PTA, hosting sleepovers, being a scout leader, a team coach, sending out those cute photo holiday cards. I dreamed that Disney would actually become the happiest place on Earth.

Years of that hope and sacrifice eventually turned into two dreams come true. And I am thankful for every single minute of what has surprisingly gone by far too fast. I wouldn’t change a thing except slow it down if I could.

An incident yesterday ignited this jealousy I now have of you.  I dropped my firstborn IVF miracle off at a two-week college residential program in NYC and a part of my heart broke on the spot. She will be home in two weeks and I vow to savor every minute of the next two years before she graduates high school and moves on. But where did the time go? I remember the day she was transferred. I remember all the details of getting my IVF pregnancy test results like it was yesterday.

I started to think back on what I went through to have her…on what you are possibly going through now. The injections and ultrasounds. The auto-pilot nature of the experience. The significance of a pregnancy test. The feeling of hope about creating a baby and all the promise of raising that new life. All the awesome, indescribable moments and years of joy, love, and absolute wonder ahead of those still on the journey.

And I kind of miss it. Part of me wants to go back to the beginning and live it all again. To go back to when all I had was that hope. Right before the dream came true. I don’t expect you to understand this now, but you may someday.

So, be thankful for the hope that burns in your heart that this… yes, this… could be the month you conceive your baby and the life you’ve dreamed of begins. Believe it or not, that’s an enviable place to be.

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For those on their journey: Did you ever think someone would envy your position? What is the most frustrating part of the waiting?

For those who are parents after infertility: Do you ever feel like this or think you may in the future?


Photo credit: freedigital


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7 Tips to Help Your Guy Survive Father’s Day When You’re Infertile

By Tracey Minella

June 14th, 2014 at 7:18 am


Credit: david castillo dominici/


Just as Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year for infertile women, Father’s Day is roughest on the infertile men.  And society’s expectations of men make it even harder.

Men are “supposed” to be so many things. Tough guys. Knights in shining armor. Passionate lovers. Good providers.

And daddies.

But the harsh reality of infertility flies in the face of all that. Real men cry. Timed sex is no fun. (Ditto for specimen cups.) Ten thousand dollar bills don’t grow on trees. You can’t “just look at her” and get her pregnant. And this Sunday is yet another day…and another year… without a crayon-colored card and painted rock paperweight present.

Our guys are there to pick us up each month as we face another disappointment and to hold us after yet another a failed cycle. Some hold back their tears so we can let ours flow freely while others join in.  (Either way, they hurt, too.) They lose sleep worrying about how to finance the next fertility treatment. And if the cause is male factor, they often shoulder unbearable guilt as well, no matter how much we reassure them.

Face it. Society isn’t even sympathetic to us on Mother’s Day even though the depth of the maternal instinct is universally accepted. So the support, empathy, and understanding our men need needs to come from somewhere else.

It needs to come from us. So what can we do to help our partners this Sunday?

Here are 7 tips to help get him through Father’s Day:

Cater to him: Get inside his head and go for the best diversion for him. Do whatever it is he likes…preferably where there won’t be children (if being around them is hard). In fact, set up a whole day of his favorite things, starting with breakfast in bed.


Surprise him: Has he been begging you to share a new experience with him, like fishing or hiking…or any other positively mortifying thing? Has he hinted about a concert or sporting event that you would rather die than attend? Well…surprise him with those tickets or grab the tackle box and go for it with a smile on your face. That simple gesture will speak volumes. (Tomorrow you can tell him it was a one-day only thing!)


Solo time with Dad: Instead of having to endure a barbeque with the whole family…including the wise-cracking fertile siblings and the 22 grandchildren they’ve already provided…plan to spend solo time with Dad. Consider breakfast on Sunday morning or dinner on Saturday night instead.



Daddy-in-Waiting card: He’s already a father in his heart. He’s just waiting. Don’t make him wait to get a card (or a gift for that matter). Write him a heartfelt note telling him how much he means to you and how he’s helped you on this journey. Tell him what wonderful traits he has that you hope your children will one day have and why he’d make a great dad. (Then get the tissues ready.)


Adopt a kid: If you can handle it emotionally and you’re close to someone with a child who no longer has a father in the picture, consider doing something with that child on Sunday. Toss a ball in a park, see a movie, get an ice-cream. It may be an awkward or difficult day for the child and his mom, but you could make a difference… and do your heart some good, too.


Get physical: Relieve some of the stress of infertility with physical activity. Take a walk or run on the beach. Take a trip to the gym. Have a roll in the hay. Or not.


Sow your seed: There’s something cathartic about getting your hands dirty with nature. About sowing seed or planting a tree that will live for generations. About fertility and making something grow. So while you are waiting for that baby, consider planting a Father’s Day tree or garden…something to watch grow over the coming years. A tree next to which you might take annual photos with your future child every Father’s Day as they both grow.


Remind him that this journey will end someday and that IVF success rates and technology continue to improve daily so there’s no better time to be trying to conceive.

Hopefully, the reality of that painted rock paperweight is only a stone’s throw away.

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What are you planning to do on Father’s Day this year?


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Infertile Women Never Forget

By Tracey Minella

June 4th, 2014 at 3:55 pm


credit: idea go/

When it comes to remembering, elephants have nothing on infertile women.

Date of last menstrual period? Pshhh! Without even a glance at a calendar or app, we can tell you the date… plus the time it started, where we were, what we were wearing, who we were with, and how many pee sticks we went through thinking we were pregnant in the 5 days before it began.

And that’s just getting warmed up.

We know how many vacation days we’ve used and how many precious few remain because they’ve been mentally earmarked for upcoming cycles. We can recite the months, years, series numbers, and assigned nurses’ names of all our IVF cycles. We know how many embryos we transferred back and what grades they were. And we can tell you the number and grade of any frozen embryos faster than we can give you the current time.

We know the number of follicles we had on each ovary from our last sonogram and the sizes of the dominant ones. We may not know how much gas is in the car, but we know how thick our uterine lining measured. We know our last Day 3 FSH level and how many vials of medication are still in the fridge. And we definitely know what vein still works.

We know the dates of our retrievals, our transfers, and our pregnancy test dates. Some of us carry the painful details of unspeakable losses as well. And we know what we wore to each and what music was playing on the radio. We can detail how we fell apart, how we pulled it back together, and how we recalculated when we’d be trying again…and what the new due date might be. We’re always aware of the date we need to conceive by in order for a baby to be born before the year ends, or before our next birthday.

These incredible memory skills build up gradually along the course of the infertility journey, starting with the innocent basal body temperature charts used for tracking ovulation patterns. As the journey progresses, more tests and procedures follow. Results come in and a treatment plan is made. The brain absorbs all this additional information… because there is simply nothing else on our minds as important as our goal of getting pregnant.

And in the end, all these dates…these often-frustrating dates…become your history. They make up the story of your journey to parenthood. And you will never forget them.

I know this because today I celebrate the 17th anniversary of the day of my first positive pregnancy test from my 6th fresh IVF cycle which resulted in the birth of my first IVF baby. It was also coincidentally the first day I started working at LIIVF as a medical assistant and I was wearing scrubs when Dr. Kreiner called me into his office to tell me the good news at the end of that nerve-wracking first day. After so many result calls that began with “I’m so sorry…” it was a moment that will live forever.

Your moment will, too.

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What has been your most memorable moment of the journey? What details do you remember that others would be impressed or amazed by?

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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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