HOPES MOTH­ER­HOOD

For many, Mother’s Day means flow­ers, cud­dles and brunch, but for women silently strug­gling with in­fer­til­ity, it’s a dif­fi­cult re­minder of their plight. Here’s how to help.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - NIKKI M. MASCALI nikki.mascali@metro.us

If you’re look­ing for a story on the best last-minute gifts to buy mom for Mother’s Day on Sun­day, this isn’t it. In­stead, this story is go­ing to cover some­thing that isn’t usu­ally talked about ahead of the hol­i­day: How hard Mother’s Day can be on women who strug­gle with in­fer­til­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, one in eight women strug­gles with in­fer­til­ity, and de­spite the fact that 7.4 mil­lion women have re­ceived in­fer­til­ity ser­vices in their life­time, the topic is still quite taboo in so­ci­ety — and that’s “what can make Mother’s Day so dif­fi­cult,” said Dr. Maria F. Costan­tini-Fer­rando of Re­pro­duc­tive Medicine As­so­ci­ates of New Jer­sey.

“I think ev­ery­body knows to be sen­si­tive to Mother’s Day to­ward any woman who’s lost their mother or a child, but they don’t quite get how to be sen­si­tive to women who are try­ing to be­come a mother,” she added. “They’ve got that same sense of loss, but what’s added to that is the fact that they have this re­ally daunt­ing fear that they may never get to ex­pe­ri­ence moth­er­hood.”

So what can you do to help make sure Mother’s Day isn’t too dif­fi­cult for the women in your life try­ing to con­ceive — or too hard on your­self if you’re one of them? Read on for tips from Dr. Costan­tini-Fer­rando.

Ac­knowl­edge it’s Mother’s Day

Con­stan­tini-Fer­rando sug­gests let­ting her know you know how hard Mother’s Day might be for her.

“Ask her what you can do, how she wants to spend the day or if she wants to be alone, but just reach out to let her know you get it,” she said. “It’ll give her a sense of con­nect­ed­ness and un­der­stand­ing with­out im­pos­ing a sense of judg­ment about what she should do or not do.”

Be self­ish — and com­pas­sion­ate to your­self

Women try­ing to con­ceive should not be afraid to say what she needs, Con­stan­tini Fer­rando said. “I think it’s im­por­tant to be self­ish and put your­self first.”

And it’s OK to want to feel sorry for your­self. “You’re en­ti­tled, and it’s im­por­tant to feel com­pas­sion for your­self and self-love be­cause these women can feel like such fail­ures, which they are not,” she added.

It’s OK to be jeal­ous

Many “per­fect” Mother’s Day pho­tos are sure to be shared on so­cial me­dia Sun­day, which may cause many women to feel jeal­ous as they scroll through the flood — and that’s OK, too, Con­stan­tini-Fer­rando said.

“It’s nor­mal. Brush it off,” she urged. “Stay pos­i­tive, and know this is you now — it doesn’t have to be you for­ever. See your­self maybe a year or two from now, when you may post a pic­ture of your­self preg­nant.”

She does sug­gest stay­ing off so­cial me­dia al­to­gether if you can and “go back to the old days and con­nect to friends or other women who are go­ing through this, too.”

What causes in­fer­til­ity?

As much as one-third of women over 35 strug­gle with fer­til­ity is­sues and can be prone to mis­car­riages. Other fac­tors in­clude smok­ing, ex­ces­sive al­co­hol use, ex­treme weight gain or loss or ex­treme phys­i­cal or emo­tional stress that re­sults in fewer pe­ri­ods.

These fac­tors can also de­crease a man’s fer­til­ity, as can ex­po­sure to en­vi­ron­men­tal tox­ins, cer­tain med­i­ca­tions, high tem­per­a­tures or ra­di­a­tion, the CDC said.

“Ask her what you can do, how she wants to spend the day or if she wants to be alone, but just reach out to let her know you get it.” Dr. Maria F. Con­stan­tini-Fer­rando

ISTOCK

ISTOCK

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, one in eight women strug­gles with in­fer­til­ity.

PRO­VIDED

“I think ev­ery­body knows to be sen­si­tive to Mother’s Day to­ward any woman who’s lost their mother or a child, but they don’t quite get how to be sen­si­tive to women who are try­ing to be­come a mother,” said Dr. Maria F. Costan­tiniFer­rando.

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