Blog

To the Forgotten Moms on Mother’s Day…I See You Girl.

sad momI was 14 when my Mother died, and Mother’s Day became a day of grieving for me. In my twenties, infertility and miscarriage created another path of grief for this holiday. In my thirties (now blessed with four children), I’m realizing a new form of grief that can accompany Mother’s day…..being forgotten.

In the deluge of social media tributes to moms, daughters, sisters, and wives…my tribute was absent. According to Hallmark, Mother’s Day is the third-largest card-sending holiday in the United States, with 113 million cards exchanged annually. Zero of those cards were for me.

Mother’s Day accounts for roughly 12-14% of annual floral sales at 1800Flowers.com while Valentine’s Day only accounts for roughly 9-10%. Out of millions of flowers purchased, zero were for me.

Snappy Living reports that Mother’s Day is typically the busiest day of the year for any restaurant, thanks to the popular tradition of taking Mom out to dinner so – for one day of the year, at least – she won’t have to cook and clean up. Around 7pm I gave up hoping and threw a box of uncrustable sandwiches at my children and then ate a bag of chips for dinner.

122 million phone calls were made to tell Mothers they were loved. Raise your hand if you got zero calls. (My hand is raised).

Almost 85% of adult men and women celebrate Mother’s Day. What are the other 15% doing? Do they not have women in their life worthy of a few acts of kindness and appreciation?

To those of you who have good mothers in your lives that you failed to celebrate – shame on you. I cannot think of a good reason why you would withhold a kind word, gesture, or small gift from another human being. Busyness, laziness, selfishness, and sloth come to mind. Do you even know the messages you are sending to her? Do you realize the pain you are actively causing her with your inaction?

It hurts. As a forgotten mom this year, I feel unseen, unloved, unworthy of being honored, hopeless, depressed, taken for granted, and angry. The negative voices swirled around my head as I tried to figure out what I did wrong, why my feelings don’t matter to my family, and why I wasn’t worth a little time and thought from my husband. I love to love my family….so why don’t they love to love me?

To those of you moms who were forgotten – I’m not going to give you platitudes and fake encouragement, but here are some thoughts I’ve had as I’m working through my own pain:

1. This Sucks. You don’t have to sweep it under the rug and bury your disappointment inside yourself. You are allowed to be sad and disappointed. I would discourage you from acting angry and hostile though…because really you’re just hurt. Anger is the secondary emotion. The primary emotion you felt was pain, but anger seemed to be a more comfortable emotion to bask in. While you may want to run with that secondary emotion of anger, it will not help you heal the primary (pain-filled) wound.

2. You Are Not Alone. I see you, girl. I’m reading the social media posts, seeing the flowers in the stores, and driving past the jam-packed parking lots of nail salons and popular brunch spots (in non-Covid19 years). You spend the day popping back and forth between bracing yourself for the pain of being forgotten and being hopeful there is still a surprise to come that will make it all okay. I’m a good Mom and you are too. Our worth is not determined by how others treat us.

3. Treat Yourself. I know it’s not the same, but since everyone else got pretty things and pampered yesterday, maybe it’s a good day to have a “Mom Monday” and treat yourself to a (self)pedicure, brunch(delivery), and a movie(streamed). Take yourself on a date and buy yourself a treat (even if it has to be online shopping and ordering delivery).

4. Keep Being You. Keep being selfless, rising above, and loving that family that doesn’t always deserve it. They’re your people and they do have redeeming qualities (well…some of them do). Forgive them for their shortcomings and failures. Give them the grace that has been given to you.

5. Share. Share how you feel (once again…not in anger). Maybe they had no clue. Maybe you are so selfless that they didn’t realize the day mattered to you. There are several good reasons (I mean I’m sure there has to be, but I can’t think of many right now) they could have forgotten about Mother’s Day. There is very little chance that they will do something different next year unless they are made aware of how you feel in a way they can receive it.

They failed. We all fail at times. It’s part of the human condition. Acknowledge the hurt, forgive the failure, discuss a plan for change, and hope for the best next year.

Failed Infertility Treatments Are Hard

Your frozen embryo transfer didn’t work – now what?

You put your heart on your sleeve and went for it – only to get a negative pregnancy result. Whether you are an infertility pro at getting the news of a BFN (Big Fat Negative)….or this is the first time you’ve gotten the “I’m so sorry…” call…the cycle of grief contains the same phases. Before you swan dive too far into the grief, guilt, and donut box…please let me take your hand and remind you of a few things….

You did a great job. Goals are attainable, but dreams are dependent upon factors outside of your control. Did you reach your goal of giving those adopted embryos a chance at life? Yes – you did it! You crossed the finish line and completed a frozen embryo transfer. You did everything you possible could including shots (ouch), appointments (never-ending), diet modifications (your barista has considered reporting you a missing person), and a slew of embarrassing procedures (#stirrups) to get there. If this was an Olympic sport, you would get the gold. The results of the procedure were out of your hands. Nothing you did or didn’t do kept those embryos from implanting.

You were really brave. You took a risk, you stepped out in faith, and although you didn’t get the great result you wanted; you were really courageous and that is something to be proud of. One result from your bravery was that those embryos were released from being frozen in time, to finish the time purposed for them here on earth, and enjoy the splendor of heaven with their Creator….all because you loved them enough to give them a chance. You put your heart on the line for the chance to give life to another, and that’s commendable purple-heart material right there. “Even though life is sometimes wounded, sometimes shorter than we’d like it to be – it is still bigger than death.” Jenny Schroedel, “Naming the Child.”

We might never understand “why” on this side of Heaven. Claudia Mair Burney put it best by saying, “You can ask why, but don’t be surprised if you never get an answer. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it’s just life on the wrong side of heaven, Sweetie. It’s tainted over here, and it can get really dark and cold sometimes. And don’t go looking for a lesson in all of this. God doesn’t need to take away your baby to teach you something.”

“Not now” doesn’t mean “Not ever”. Jackie transferred two embryos on her first FET and got a BFN. Then her second transfer resulted in twins! Rebecca put in 2 embryos that were great quality and got a BFN. Then she put in one embryo that was not as good of quality as the previous two and got her beautiful daughter. I could tell stories for days of the third transfer being the one that worked, and I hang onto those stories for hope. It brings me both comfort and anxiety to realize that there is no perfect prediction or science about embryo donation. Your chances of success on the next transfer are just as high as they were on this one. As Mary Kay Ash put it, “Never give up, because you never know if the next try is going to be the one that works.”
It’s okay to be sad, to grieve both the loss of potential life the embryos could have held and the dreams you had for them. The fact that you may have already a child, children, or remaining embryos doesn’t erase the disappointment you feel.

In the midst of grieving this loss, just don’t forget to acknowledge these truths:

You did everything you could.
You were brave and sacrificed for another.
You don’t have to figure out “why”.
“Not now”, doesn’t mean “not ever”.

From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘In Memoriam’ ~ 1850:
I hold it true, whate’er befall,
I feel it, when I sorrow most,
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.