Although I believe in looking at things with a different perspective and finding the bright sides of infertility and a childless life, there are moments when this positive outlook simply isn’t helpful. This struck me as I was watching Grey’s Anatomy recently. A terminally ill patient looked at her doctor and stated, “Hanging on to hope may make you feel better, but it just makes me feel alone.” What an incredibly powerful statement. Because I don’t ever want anyone to feel alone on this journey, I decided that perhaps for a moment, we should set aside the hope. Because in this moment, when a wobble (at best) or a grief attack (at worst) has struck, we need to figure out how to survive. If you are at a loss, here are four strategies to survive Mother’s Day and other triggers…
4 Strategies to Survive Mother’s Day & Other Triggers
Strategy #1: Allow yourself to grieve & honor the little you wanted.
I believe the first of our four strategies to survive Mother’s Day and other triggers is one of the most important. Because our loss is not seen by the world, we have to give ourselves permission to grieve and make sure to honor our little.
During her 2018 “We Are Worthy!” Summit event, Lisa Manterfield of Life Without Baby talked about childless grief and how important it is to take the time to process through your emotions. You can watch her event “You’re Not Crazy; That’s Your Grief Acting Out” here.
A few suggestions Lisa gave…
- Write a letter to your little.
- “Cast away” your pain by throwing out rose petals.
- “Release” your pain by letting go of balloons.
Sarah Chamberlin of Infertility Honesty wrote about planting a garden full of white flowers to help her heal from her grief and honor their failed treatments. You can read her blog post here.
Personally, I found journaling privately and now sharing publicly helps me process my emotions and honor the love I have in my heart for the little I dreamed of… Click here to find two different sets of questions to help you begin this process. (Even if you don’t decide to share publicly, thinking through your answers and writing them down may bring some healing.)
Just find a way to honor your loss because both your grief and your love are real.
Strategy #2: Believe that you are worthy of love and peace and joy.
After properly honoring our losses, we can move on to the second of our strategies to survive Mother’s Day and other triggers. Now, it is time to honor ourselves…
As treatments fail, divorces happen, life partners are not found, it is easy to start believing that you are a failure, a person unworthy of love, an outcast who doesn’t belong… This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth! You are most definitely worthy, and you have amazing qualities to offer this world!
Personally, I believe that despite being childless, we are still worthy to be a part of the tribe that helps young people. So, during the “We Are Worthy!” Summit, I spoke about being a host mom to a foreign exchange student. If you’d like to learn more about that, click here.
Strategy #3: Find Your Tribe
The third of our four strategies to survive Mother’s Day and other triggers intertwines with the first two. We can more easily honor our losses and ourselves if we have the support of others…
A huge deterrent to isolation is finding others who understand your pain, who “get” your journey. Although it may seem that you are alone, there is a vibrant childless not by choice community out there, ready to offer support. There are blogs, private Facebook groups, and other resources. You can find a list of them here.
Strategy #4: Celebrate What Is…
Finally, the fourth and final of our strategies to survive Mother’s Day and other triggers…
After allowing yourself to grieve & honor your little, discovering your worth, and finding your tribe, I pray the hope is starting to seep back in, even if only a little… If it is, here are some ways to start embracing the what is…
- Grab your fur baby and have lunch al fresco
- Sleep in, hang out in your PJs, and watch rated-R movies
- Mix up your favorite martini
- Enjoy a delectable chocolate shake
- Soak in a bubble bath while reading your favorite book
- Cook a fancy dinner and serve it on the fancy plates
- Light some candles, put on some music, and chill
- For you Grey’s fans, “Dance it out!” (like Meredith & Cristina)
Just Remember… You are NOT alone on this journey.
Please, remember that you are NOT alone on this journey. You do not have to navigate these strategies to survive Mother’s Day and other triggers by yourself. There ARE those who “get it.” There are others finding their way through this grief and those who have come out on the other side. Reach out, find support, heal…
I’m here if you need a listening ear. Feel free to contact me anytime.
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Featured Photo: Dylan Siebel of StockSnap.io