in-vitro fertilization

As a Mom Who Suffered From Infertility, Mother’s Day is Bittersweet

I’m not going to lie, and I shouldn’t have to. I love Mother’s Day. It’s strictly selfish, and I have no problem with that.

The holiday was never widely celebrated in my house growing up (“we should celebrate mothers every day,” “this is just another Hallmark holiday”), but ever since I became a mother for the first time, I have anticipated the day with a childlike excitement. What craft will my 2-year-old proudly bring home from preschool? I now wonder. What beautiful words will my husband put to paper, to be uncovered one day by our great-grandchildren? And even, Will I get something pretty?

The thing is, it took a lot for me to become a mother, and although it is no longer in the forefront of my mind, occupying every moment of my time the way it once did, I have not forgotten–the tests and treatments, the surgeries and procedures, and perhaps most significantly, the waiting and uncertainty. I went through a total of four IVF cycles for my two gorgeous sons, and I am reminded by my doctors that if I want to have another child, I will need to do IVF again or adopt. I may be a mother, but I still suffer from infertility.

And I know that this day is a well-deserved celebration of all the sacrifices mothers make, all of the love, time, energy, money, and independence that they give of themselves, but there are many out there whose dreams of motherhood are far from being reached. The ubiquitous advertisements, commercials, and decorations give me flashbacks to when I was childless, and the immense sadness and longing that I would feel. I remember having friends with infertility who could not look at a pregnant stranger without bursting into tears. I know one woman who would not turn on the television for the week before or of Mother’s Day, because the greeting card commercials would send her into depression, and each sitcom’s plot revolved around a day that she could only dream about for herself.

I am in a strange place today–the precarious position of knowing how painful Mother’s Day is for those who cannot conceive, or bring a child to term; and having the overwhelming desire to celebrate, perhaps even more than I would have had I not suffered from infertility, because of the very fact that being here today was such a difficult journey. And I think that’s okay. I think I deserve to celebrate. And I think that mothers deserve to be celebrated. I just ask that amid the celebrations, we all take a moment to remember that not everyone is celebrating today. That today is quite difficult for many women. That celebration is not the same as flaunting, and that we should all learn where that line is drawn.

I wish all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. And for all those who want it, I hope that your dreams of motherhood come true.


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Talia Liben Yarmush

Talia Liben Yarmush is the Director of Communications for Uprooted: A Jewish Response to Infertility. She is also a writer who has just finished her first novel. You can read some of her work on her website www.TaliaYarmush.com. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two IVF-conceived sons.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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