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  • Writer's pictureSmita Parikh, MD

A new meaning for mother's day

The other day I was driving my boys to school when a commercial came on the radio for a mother’s day promotion. For several years, I had been very good at blocking out all of the hoopla surrounding the holiday. But, my 4 year old screamed out “Mommy! Mother’s day is coming up soon!” and it jolted me out of my daze. I smiled, but I also felt a sharp pain pierce through my gut and my eyes became tear filled. Those feelings of struggling to start a family and remembering how I felt on the “why don’t you rub it in my face that I don’t have a child” holiday came rushing back. And even though I have come full circle in my journey, I still feel a sense of guilt celebrating knowing that for many, this can be a painful reminder of what is not or what has been lost.

In the past, I would let myself wallow in self-pity about all of this. But I learned quickly that was not very helpful, so I found a few ways to cope with the holiday that worked for me – I avoided all social media, I bought myself my favorite flowers or hinted at my husband too, and usually my husband and I planned an outdoor activity where we wouldn’t be surrounded by mother’s day celebrations.

As I look back and have had more time to deeply think about motherhood and what it means, I want all of the women who are struggling right now to know this:

I hear you. I feel you. You are not alone.

You are a mother in your heart and this mother’s day, we are celebrating you too.

Becoming a mother is so many things but it ultimately means putting another’s needs before your own. Well, guess what? You are doing just that with your selfless commitment to starting a family.

You have sacrificed your time, spending days, months, and years at the doctor’s office being poked and prodded

You have turned down vacations and countless other opportunities to work towards your goals

You have endured the many cycles of hope and loss

You have learned to let go of control while still fighting for what is deep in your heart

You have learned that this experience does not define you

You have learned that life is about making choices and you have chosen to be happy and enjoy what you have even in the face of adversity

You are a mother and you will pass these invaluable life lessons on to your child.

It may be hard, but my one wish for you this mother’s day is to try to look at it as an opportunity to pause, celebrate you and your journey, and be proud of what you are working towards, rather than sad for what you don't have. Start the day off by taking a few deep breaths. Write down the things you are grateful for and then grab your partner and go do something special to honor your powerful journey together.

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