The most difficult day of the year

Mother's Day is so hard when you're struggling with fertility problems; here are some thoughts on how to get through it

Mother’s Day can be one of the most difficult days of the year when you are not a mother – by circumstance not choice. It is hard to avoid the wall-to-wall celebration and commercialisation of motherhood: the adverts on TV, the cards in shops, the posts on social media; some churches even have ceremonies where just the mums in the parish get to receive a posy of flowers. If you are not a mother, it is impossible not to feel left out in the cold.

Simply hiding away from it all is a perfectly reasonable response. I have done this when I knew I simply did not have the strength to face any reminders from the outside world that I was not a parent. Staying in bed all day, or on the sofa – with or without your partner – is allowed. Today, if you cannot have what you desperately want, at least make it a day of being good to yourself.

If you don’t want to stay home, then it is less painful to avoid places that will be full of families, such as restaurants, parks, the cinema and sporting venues. The problem can be where to go? A countryside walk could work, or somewhere you know to be a safe and supportive place.

Mother yourself today: indulge in those things you usually don’t – perhaps because you’ve been having fertility treatment. Treat yourself and your partner and give yourself the space to grieve as well. Mother’s Day cannot help but remind you of what you don’t have, or may have lost and it is important to grieve and remember.

A positive way to spend the time is to celebrate the original spirit of England’s Mothering Sunday. Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family. So, if you can, make it a day where you go to visit your mum, and celebrate her. But whatever you do, be kind to yourself.