Coping on Mother's Day When You Have No Children

How to Redfine the Day and Take Care of Yourself on Mother's Day

Couple eating at a fancy restaurant
Mother's Day may be the perfect day to go out to a non-family friendly restraurant. Dan Dalton / Getty Images

Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for those without children – especially those who would love to have children but can’t for some reason.

In some cases, it’s infertility that causes Mother’s Day pain, but single women who wish to be moms can also struggle on this day.

Even moms who want more children can feel low on Mother’s Day. It may seem odd to those with primary infertility -- those without any kids -- but the day has such a strong focus on Motherhood.

A mom who wants more kids is reminded of just how precious the gift of motherhood is. It can hurt.

Here are a few ways to get through Mother’s Day with infertility. 

Way to Cope #1: Cocoon Style

In what I’m calling Cocoon Style, you cope by creating an almost protective cocoon around yourself. 

Of course, I don’t mean this literally.

It’s not easy to escape the marketing of Mother’s Day, but there are some places you may escape some of it.

Going out to eat at a family restaurant is probably not a good idea. Lots of moms with kids may be there.

But this may be just the day to reserve a spot at the fanciest (no kid) place in town.

The commercials and news on Mother’s Day will likely mention moms frequently.

Instead, on Mother’s Day, watch a movie or go on a Netflix binge.

Cocoon style also means finding a way to comfort yourself while you’re hiding out. Maybe this is the day you book a massage at a local spa.

(Yes, there may be Mother’s Day specials so... go prepared to see this sort of advertising.)

Take care of yourself. Treat yourself. Don’t accept the marketing message that only “moms” should get pampered today.

If you’re struggling to conceive, you’re in way more need of pampering than they are.

Way to Cope #2: Focus on Others

Another way to cope with Mother’s Day is to focus on others.

This can mean so many things.

Consider this:

  • Make the day all about your mother or grandmother. Focus on them, on what they have given to you.
  • Make the day about a friend who is a mother or other family members. If you fully embrace your aunty role, maybe this means taking out your nieces and nephews while their parents get a break.
  • Focus on mothers in need. Make the day about volunteering or helping at a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, or a shelter for battered women. Call and ask how you can help mothers who truly need help.

Focusing on others in Mother’s Day isn’t right for everyone. Some years, you’ve got to just focus on self care and that is okay.

However, you may come to a time when focusing on others is a form of self-care. If helping someone else is going to make you feel good, go for it.

Way to Cope #3: Redefine the Day

So, apparently, Mother’s Day is for mothers... but according to who? Mother’s Day is a Hallmark holiday. There are no real rules.

You can celebrate however you want.

Why not redefine the day? Perhaps call it... Mothering Day.

You don't need to have biological or adopted children in order to be motherly. (Sadly, there are plenty of traditional mothers who have no idea how to mother or nurture others.)

Think back to those in your life who have mothered you. I can think of a few special women who mothered me, as a child and as an adult. I cannot imagine who I am today without their special love, care, and attention.

I am sure you have mothered others yourself.

I'd say there's a high probability that someone out there felt nurtured and cared for in a special way by you. You may not know it. But they do.

Redefine the day as a day to celebrate those who give to others. Who care for others. Who make a difference in other people's lives. Who do these things even without any biological connection to the other person.

Celebrate that.

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