Helping women with chronic illnesses

Mother’s Day Mourning

This Sunday will be a day of mourning for many. For patients struggling with infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and adoption loss, Mother’s Day is a time of grief, exquisite pain, and sorrow. With 1 in 8 couples experiencing infertility, the odds are very good that someone you know is struggling with it. Due to societal stigma, privacy and other reasons, they may or may not share publicly about their struggle.

About 40% of patients with endometriosis will experience some degree of infertility. (Please note that worldwide there are 89 million patients with endometriosis, one of many possible causes of infertility).

Here is some information from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association:

Coping with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Where’s My Card That Reads I Support You?

I think it’s worth noting that what is supportive and helpful for one friend or loved one might not be what’s best for another. The best way to know how to help an infertile friend or loved one is to ask them. Everyone grieves differently. One infertile friend might find that staying home on Mother’s Day and having some peaceful, quiet time is most helpful. Another infertile friend may be up to socializing. The bottom line is that we as a society should be sensitive to this issue and provide support to those who are struggling with infertility.

Offering platitudes or phrases meant to be helpful (that aren’t) can really hurt those who are enduring a painful struggle with infertility. If you’re tempted to share what worked for your cousin Donna or your sister Sue for getting pregnant, please resist the temptation. Infertile patients are bombarded with well-intentioned “advice”. Leave the medical advice to your friend’s physician.

Finally, there are other reasons that Mother’s Day can be a day for mourning besides infertility. For those of us who have not lost own our mothers, we may forget that some people’s mothers have passed on.

So, as you set off this weekend to do whatever it is that you plan to do (which for some may be to stay home for some peace and quiet), please be mindful of the fact that there are people around you who are grieving for one reason or another.

Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, if you do not struggle with infertility yourself you more than likely know someone who does. Again, you may also know someone whose mother has passed on.

So, this Mother’s Day weekend… please take a moment to think of those who are mourning. If you know someone who could use support, let them know you’re there for them and follow their lead on what you can do to be supportive.

Thank you.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: Mother’s Day Mourning


1 DianeNo Gravatar { 05.07.10 at 1:50 pm }

Thank you so much, Jeanne, for this spot-on post! Last year on Mother’s Day, two weeks after I’d had my one remaining fallopian tube cut due to endometriosis damage (and cutting off any chances of ever becoming pregnant “naturally”), a waitress in a restaurant at which we were eating breakfast randomly asked me whether I was a mother. I know it was an innocent question, but I wanted to scream at her!


2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.07.10 at 2:03 pm }


I’m so sorry that happened to you. I never, ever ask someone if he/she is a parent. I’ve heard too many stories like yours where asking that question is salt in a wound. People don’t realize that asking a question like that can be the last thing a person wants to be asked when they are going through a situation like what you described. I’m assuming you didn’t scream at her but who could blame you if you did? While she was clearly just making conversation, I personally believe that our society needs greatly heightened awareness on this topic so that people don’t go around randomly asking others if they are parents. I’m so sorry that happened. I know that you were already grieving the loss of being able to conceive “naturally” and that her question just wasn’t helpful. 🙁 Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure many others have had similar experiences and sometimes it helps just to know that these things happen to many people. Sometimes it helps people not to feel they are alone. My hope is that someday people will use more care in asking questions that can stir up all sorts of emotions.


3 Kelly DNo Gravatar { 05.08.10 at 12:38 pm }

A very nice post for those still in the struggle of building their family.
.-= Kelly D´s last blog ..Non-Mother’s Day =-.

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.08.10 at 9:22 pm }


Thank you, Kelly. I was happy to see that you posted Pamela’s New York Times article and I have posted about that as well:

A Non-Mother’s Day


5 JennNo Gravatar { 05.10.10 at 6:26 pm }

Thanks Jeanne, this is another great post about a sensitive topic.

I lost my mom when I was in kindergarten, so I have experienced many lonely Mother’s Days. I can still recall elementary school projects to make a present for your mom for Mother’s Day. I felt like I was the only girl in the world without a mom. (Which of course wasn’t true, but it felt like it to me because I didn’t know any others). I made my projects for my Grandma & tried to go unnoticed.

For years, I put on a happy face & never talked to anyone about how sad Mother’s Day was for me.

Thanks for the thoughtful reminder that Mother’s Day may bring sadness to some people, for their own personal reasons.
.-= Jenn´s last blog ..JIN SHIN JYUTSU =-.

6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 05.11.10 at 1:06 pm }


I am so sorry for the lonely Mother’s Days you experienced after losing your mother at such a young age. I can only imagine the making of the school projects must have been uncomfortable for you. I’m really sorry for the sadness you experienced. 🙁



7 Mourning Mother’s Day — { 05.06.11 at 4:30 pm }

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