Fast forward past Mother’s Day 2011

May 4, 2011Carole No Comments »

I bought a new vacuum cleaner today. It was a Consumer Report’s “Best Buy” and on-sale plus I had a 15% off coupon and I had some store “cash” , (the bonus faux money from the last purchase that gets you to come back the next time). So I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. The overly cheerful sales lady rang up my purchase and handed me my receipt, congratulating me on my savings and wishing me a “Happy Mother’s Day”. The last part stopped me in my tracks because I have been thinking about how trying to conceive and not succeeding affects, well pretty much everything, especially how you might experience holidays the rest of the world briefly acknowledges, then sails by.

My first thought was, “Geez, she thinks I am celebrating Mother’s Day by buying a vacuum cleaner???!! How pathetic is that?”

My next thought was,”Geez, how does she know I am a mother? Or maybe she thinks I am buying a vacuum cleaner for my mother??” (Just for the record, Mom, I’d never buy you a vacuum cleaner for Mother’s Day..!)

My Mom was never too impressed with Mother’s Day, her attitude could be summed up as, “Why save up your love for just one day? Don’t I love you every day?” She lets us know she is open to hugs anytime we are in the mood. And she has a point. Mother’s Day– the holiday– is just a day whereas the love of a person (mother, father, lover, child) should be an on-going everyday event.

The Mother’s Day holiday is a contradiction; simultaneously reduced to a trivial sales and marketing event and yet elevated to ridiculous heights (I think) to relieve our guilt over the many days we don’t tell our mothers we love them.

In spite of these contradictions, I realize that Mother’s Day is still a very difficult day for many women who are trying to conceive and for women who have suffered pregnancy losses or adoption failures.  I wanted to link to some interesting and thoughtful pieces about supporting those we love with infertility, surviving the Mother’s Day holiday and some reminders about the simple kindnesses that we owe not just our mothers but each other every day.

The support group Resolve has some suggestions (appropriately called Infertility Etiquette) for the people who love you but may be clueless about what you are feeling. Some suggestions are so obvious, that many of these bits of advice left me thinking that if I have to educate someone about how to be a kind person, maybe I don’t really need their friendship in the first place. But I suppose for those of us with clueless relatives we can’t divorce, maybe we can try the education route first, before we give up on them completely. Here’s Resolve’s advice list for friends of people trying to conceive who want to be supportive but don’t know how. There’s still time to forward to you know who! Here’s the list to whet your appetite but extended explanation for each are worth reading too.

  • Don’t say “Just relax!”.
  • Don’t minimize the problem.
  • Don’t list all the horrible things that could happen that could be worse.
  • Don’t say that someone isn’t  meant to be parents or it’s “God’s Will”.
  • Don’t ask why they don’t just do IVF .
  • Don’t be crude with helpful suggestions.
  • Don’t complain about your own pregnancy
  • Don’t treat them as stupid because they have an overly rosy (in your opinion) view of parenthood
  • Don’t gossip about your friends medical condition
  • Don’t push adoption as the obvious solution
  • Let them know you care.
  • Remember them on Mother’s Day with a “Thinking of you ” card.
  • Support them when they decide to leave treatment

A piece about surviving the idiotic things some people say with malice and aforethought, If you don’t have anything nice to say on Mother’s Day… by Nia Vardalos.

I also liked this post a lot!- about Surviving Infertility by Tertia Loebenberg who has been there and come back again.

Although not about mothers, per se, I thought this was an inspiring article about parenting and how despite the many obstacles thrown in their path, loving couples find a way to nurture children. Two gay dads and 12 happy kids by Karina Bland for the Arizona Post.

I want to wish everyone a great Sunday this May 8, however you want to celebrate -or not. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Sending you a virtual hug. 🙂




© 2011, Carole. All rights reserved.

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