Nurturing Your Heart on Mother’s Day 


Dear Heart, how are you feeling this week? 

Are you finding ways to support and comfort yourself through the sticky moments of this journey? 

There is a lot going on at the moment. This past Sunday marked ‘International Bereaved Mother’s Day’. It is also ‘Maternity Mental Health Week’ in various countries at the moment, and of course Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, 8th May. It can be a confusing and bittersweet period where we each do our best to walk the fine line between grieving loss and infertility, and celebrating motherhood/the mothers in our lives. 

In recent years, I’ve noticed more and more awareness around and consideration towards the infertility and pregnancy loss community. I’ve seen many touching posts offering support to women dealing with infertility and to those who’ve experienced losses on social media over the last week, as well as a lot more media coverage on these topics. A few companies have also shown some sensitivity with their email lists, giving subscribers the option to opt out of receiving any Mother’s Day related correspondence as they are aware that it was a difficult time for some.

I appreciate these small thoughtful gestures because they are indicators that wider society is acknowledging the emotional and mental impact of infertility and pregnancy loss. It gives me the sense that years of speaking out, educating and advocating for understanding and sensitivity towards women who struggle with infertility and how it affects their lives is paying off, is helping to shatter the silence, the stigma and the shame that often accompanies it. It opens up space for those of us who face infertility to feel seen and it says – ‘You’re not forgotten, your loss is not forgotten, we see your pain and you’re included in our societal narratives’. Being seen, acknowledged and included is profoundly healing in many ways. With this as a foundation, my hope is that it becomes easier to keep building forward, allowing women/couples to better access the support and resources that they need.

Nurturing Your Heart

Even so, this week may still be a challenging time that amplifies your hurt and sense of longing for motherhood. It also doesn’t erase the realities and the pain of your struggle that you face on a daily basis.

“Despite the overwhelmingly positive narrative of Mother’s Day that we see in commercials and advertisements, we know that this is a tough day for people experiencing infertility and loss. And it is important to remember that for many, this day is even more emotionally fraught if their own mothers have passed away, if they have conflictual or complicated relationships with their mothers or if they have one or more kids but have also lost pregnancies, infants or children. This day can catch us up in so many layers of sadness, anger, jealousy and profound grief.”  

~ Dara Roth Edney

So, I’ll offer this gentle reminder: Remember that you are not alone. You are entitled to your feelings, be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to do things that nurture your wellbeing. If you feel the need to, then by all means, disconnect from social media and all the Mother’s Day messaging and take some time to do things that you enjoy. It is okay to set boundaries to protect your emotional health.

“Keep those rivers of self-compassion and love flowing over you, with an abundance of patience and kindness.”

~ Shannon, Mothering Your Heart

Three years ago, shortly after my ectopic pregnancy loss I came across a wonderful email series called Mothering Your Heart ( This email series was created as a support resource for women after pregnancy loss. Around Mother’s Day they sent out a series of soul soothing emails. These daily messages were beautiful anchors for grace and came with a workbook of journaling prompts. One of these writing prompts was about ascertaining the best way for you to access calm on Mother’s Day. They asked several questions along the following lines:

• What is the most soothing place I could physically be today?

• What is the most calming event I might include in my day?, and

• What is the most comforting music that I’d like to listen to today?

Just having these simple thinking points to guide me forward brought some ease to something that could have been much more emotionally challenging. The contemplations felt so healing to me. It gave me something different to focus on, allowing me to spend my weekend taking care of my own needs.  

“…be proactive about taking care of yourself. Take the time leading up to Mother’s Day to try and anticipate what will make the day or weekend harder, and then take steps to protect yourself.”

~ Dara Roth Edney

I’d thus like to encourage you to contemplate what your needs are right now and then investigate how you can nurture them this week. 

What is your heart calling for most at this time? 

How can you hold yourself in self-compassion? 

Don’t be afraid to give yourself these things. Set self-nurturing boundaries in order to prioritize your own needs if necessary. Set aside self-judgement and meet yourself with acceptance and compassion. Nurture yourself and your heart lovingly. 

I’ll end off by sharing a verse from a moving affirmation that I stumbled upon last year, as it really touched my heart. It is called ‘Mothering Heart’ by Carly Marie, and reads as follows:

“While I may not have any children here to raise on Earth, I became a mother the moment I opened my heart to the idea of bringing a child into this world. My mothering love has grown and blossomed since that day.”

Love Notes For Tough TTC Days

It’s easy to be happy some days. It’s easy to be optimistic, hopeful and positive that at some point things will turn around again. On those days, I have this inner knowing that eventually I will wake up feeling alive, blessed and centred in the family focused life I’ve always dreamed of. Yet, at the same time, the bad days always come around – those treacherous days where I feel like I’m falling apart because nothing’s working the way I want it to. Doubt and depression rise slowly to cast their silent shadow in spaces that hope and certainty once filled, and the underlying sense of sadness becomes that much more palpable. I find myself feeling like a marching quiver tree in the semi-arid Namaqualand desert acutely aware that in order to thrive I need to make my way to higher ground, to a place where I am better able to breathe, refocus and support my well-being.

Motivational speaker and author, Dr. John Demartini, wrote that “The quality of your life is based partly upon the quality of the questions you ask yourself daily.”  I’ve incorporated this philosophy into my life and you may have noticed that I have a tendency of including questions in the blogs or articles that I write. So, when I am plodding through the troughs I try to ask myself questions that I know will help redirect me in a positive direction. I ask myself things like:

How do I want to feel?

What will help me cultivate those feelings?

And the one question that I often encourage my TTC sisters to examine when they are feeling overwhelmed – What is the most healing thing that I can do for myself right now?

I’ve learnt to trust the answers that come up because nine times out of ten, they’ve helped me get to a more grounded mental and emotional space. One practical idea that I stumbled upon while examining these questions was to create little ‘love notes’ for myself. These ‘love notes’ are like touchstones that guide me back to myself, back to a place of wholeness and calm. They take various forms. I jot down impromptu inspirational notes in my journal to refer back to when I need a pick-me-up. I write affirmations and short uplifting messages on cardboard bookmarks and place them in the books that I’m busy reading. My favourite love note is a kind of pep talk letter that I wrote for myself. I keep it in a special box on my bedside table and reading it on my lowest days always lifts my spirit.

I’ve accepted that as humans we are cyclical creatures. We’re always shifting through seasons of life and cycles of emotions. I’ve written about this many times before – while I’ve surrendered to the fact that there are so many things that we cannot control when it comes to subfertility the one thing I know I can exert some level of influence on is the way I feel and how I choose to approach this experience. Creating love notes for when the going gets tough is one small way of doing so.

How do you offer yourself love and care on the bad days?

What helps uplift you when you’re feeling low?

I believe that it is important to reach towards these things whenever you can. This simple practice of crafting love notes has been a bit of necessary soul balm from time to time. So,if you would like to create your own ‘love notes’ for days when you need a pick-me-up, then here is a little guideline:

Write Your Own Love Notes

Think of one of your close friends or family member, someone that you care very deeply for. You want good things to happen for them. You want to see them happy, thriving and living out their dreams. Now imagine they were going through a rough patch.

What if they are struggling with the exact same thing that you are experiencing? Navigating subfertility, going through the gruelling process of fertility treatment and trying to cope with the sense of loss, failure, anger, depression and a whole host of emotionally challenging curveballs that come with the territory?

What would you say to them to offer some comfort and reassurance?

How would you encourage them to care for themselves and their emotional well-being during their lowest moments?

What would your PEP talk for your friend sound like?

I’d like to encourage you to write down your thoughts, capture your words of comfort and encouragement for a moment.

Then turn the things you’ve jotted down into a compassionate pep talk letter. But instead of writing your friend’s name, write your own name. Write down all the things that you need to hear when you find yourself sinking into that sometimes dark and lonely place.  Pour all your love into it.

When you are done, fold the letter and put it in a safe place where you can access it later on when you really need to hear those words.

If you like, select some of your favourite lines and write them on bookmarks or make affirmation cards with them so that they are easy to use on a daily bases.

Devise Your TTC Soul-Care Plan

Taking care of your Self – mind, body and soul – is vital to your overall wellbeing and fertility, especially on those rough days when you’re plagued by feelings overwhelming sadness, frustration, inadequacy and tend to be hard on yourself. I keep learning that those are the days when you need self-compassion, kindness and to be gentle with yourself more than anything.  In anticipation of those challenging days where you may feel stressed out, anxious or out of sorts for one reason or another, having a plan to guide you back to a place of calm could be a worthwhile effort that helps you rescue yourself.

In devising your soul-care plan to support you through the difficult moments of your TTC journey, it is worth asking yourself questions such as – What anchors me when my soul craves restoration or inner harmony? What calms my mind and helps you to release your stress and anxiety?  

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
Worksheet from the Soulful Fertility Creative Journaling Bundle

The idea is to assess the things and experiences that offer you grounding, stillness, peace and inner healing, then investigate how you can integrate them into your daily experience as often as possible as you go about creating a soul-care plan for yourself.

The following are few ideas that you can draw from if you need a little guidance or inspiration:  

 The Calming Power of Breath Work: The quickest way back to presence is to focus on your breath. The rhythm of your breath is calming. It draws your attention away from distractions and back into the moment. At any moment when you become self-aware during an overwhelming moment, breathe deeply and allow yourself to be.

Meditation for Inner Calm: Like breath work, meditation is another gateway out of a cluttered mind and into a state of peace and serenity. The more you create space between your thoughts, the more you connect with your intuition and find comfort in the present moment.

Setting aside some quiet time to meditate for between 10 to 30 minutes a day can have a significantly calming and healing effect on you. There are various different types of meditations you can use – ones to de-stress and relax, to aid better sleep, to balance your chakras or to let go of worry or negativity.

If you are not experienced with meditation, then start by listening to guided audio ones. There are loads of free meditations available on YouTube and the ‘Calm’ app is also a fantastic stress release and meditation tool.

holiday calm (3)