After Years of IVF, Mother's Day Isn't About Gifts For Me – It's About Gratitude

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When I was a little girl, Mother’s Day was all about going with my dad to find my mom the perfect gift so she wouldn’t be disappointed on the special day. Some years, we chose wisely. Other years, well, let’s just say a new Dustbuster was not the best gift choice. On that one special Sunday in May, we would all get dressed up and enjoy a fancy dinner with my family. It wasn’t a supersentimental day other than the gift giving and dinner.

Fast forward to it being my turn to be on the receiving end of Mother’s Day. The last thing I think about on Mother’s Day is a gift. Forgive the cliché, but being a mother is a gift in itself. I know it’s cheesy, but considering my journey to parenthood, Mother’s Day has such a deep meaning to me.

When my husband and I got married, we assumed we would become pregnant on our honeymoon. Our honeymoon came and went, as did five more trips around the sun. We encountered a lot of needles, bills, and heartbreak while trying to conceive and ultimately pursued many IVF cycles.

We had many hard days during our infertility journey, but Mother’s Day was particularly challenging. Of our group of friends at the time, we were one of the few couples who were not parents. Every year, the Sunday of Mother’s Day got very quiet for us. All of our friends were busy with their children, posting pictures of their breakfast in bed and gushing about how much love they have in their homes. We were very lonely and down on Mother’s Day. Everywhere we turned reminded us of what we did not have and so desperately wanted. I recall promising myself that the next Mother’s Day would be one that we would celebrate with our baby. Mother’s Day was a very hard day for us, as it is for many other couples experiencing fertility challenges.

Related: I Love Being a Mom, but I Don't Care About Celebrating Mother's Day – Here's Why

Fast forward to present day, where we are enjoying being parents to our delicious 4-year-old daughter. After years of trying to conceive, we finally became a family of three. Every year when May comes around and I see that first Hallmark card appear at the grocery store, I’m reminded of how we used to feel when we started seeing Mother’s Day commercials on TV. And it reminds me of how lucky we are that we have a happy and healthy daughter. For me, it’s a time of celebration and reflection; it has nothing to do with getting a gift that in reality I probably don’t need. Don’t get me wrong; we certainly celebrate the day. My little one tries to create a breakfast-in-bed situation with my husband, and she beams with pride when she gives me her homemade card. We find something fun and low-key to do as a family, and Mama gets a break from cooking dinner and we all go out for a simple meal.

One thing that’s changed the most is that I now make a point to reach out to friends who may be having their own difficult time on Mother’s Day. Perhaps a friend recently lost her mother or, heaven forbid, lost a child. While having a day designated to celebrate mothers is a wonderful idea, in reality it creates a day associated with painful feelings for some people. My own journey has given me perspective and empathy, so I want to be sure I’m there for my friends who may need some extra love but aren’t outwardly expressing it.

For us, Mother’s Day is more about spreading love and expressing gratitude than anything. I’ve got so much to be grateful for that taking this day to really appreciate it all is what matters to me. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my birthday is celebrated two weeks after the holiday. And on my birthday, all bets are off when it comes to receiving gifts! Hear that, hubby?

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