Mother’s Day is positioned as a day of celebration and family togetherness to honor mothers, replete with cards, flowers, and other recognition for moms. However, for those struggling to have a child or have recently experienced pregnancy loss, Mother’s Day can stir many negative emotions which may surface weeks ahead of time, amplified by advertising and social media posts that urge people to celebrate motherhood.
With 1 in 6 people affected by fertility challenges globally, your employees may be experiencing this struggle under the radar. However, suppressing emotions won’t help in the long run, and employers need to recognize the toll that fertility problems can have on employee mental health and wellbeing. People struggling with negative emotions stirred up by Mother’s Day need the time and space to feel what they feel, and can plan ahead to make the day slightly less painful (or even surprisingly pleasant).
Here are some coping strategies to share with your employees – you never know who it may help.
Focus on Your Own Mother
For people with a happy relationship with their mother, shift the focus to celebrating her on Mother’s Day. Do something nice that you both enjoy, or if you live far apart, call her (not a text!). Mother’s Day is difficult for people who have lost their mother or don’t have a good relationship with her. In that case, plan something you’ll enjoy to distract yourself on that day, or join up with members of your support team who find it a difficult day as well. You’d be surprised how many people don’t have a picture-perfect family and how many are sad on family-oriented holidays.
Just like any other family celebration, it pays to decide in advance if you want to discuss your fertility issues with the people who are there, or not. A well-meaning person may say, “When are you going to become a mom?” If you don’t want to talk about it, have a few responses prepared to shut down or turn the conversation when that topic comes up. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your emotional wellbeing, set boundaries, and redirect the conversation as needed. Saying “I’d rather not discuss that now, let’s focus on Mom today,” and simply walking away can put an end to the questioning. Also, avoid looking at social media if you think you will find that triggering.
Do Something Fun with Positive People
Make a date with friends or family members outside of any Mother’s Day celebration and do something you enjoy. Reach out to the positive, happy people in your support network. It will give you a lift to be with generally positive people. Plan an activity with your partner that you both enjoy. Cook a special dinner, go to a movie or a play, open an upbeat playlist and dance in your own living room.
Nature as a Mood-Elevator
Many people find that being outdoors helps raise their mood. Whether it’s a walk in a city park on your lunch break or a weekend hike in the woods, time spent in nature has been linked to many mental health benefits including lower stress, better mood, improved attention, and reduced risk of psychiatric disorders.
Supporting Employee Wellbeing
As an employer, you care about the wellbeing of your employees. Going beyond improving metrics like employee satisfaction and retention, providing support is valuable simply on a humanistic level. We hope that by sharing these tips, you can feel empowered knowing that you may have helped someone in your organization struggling in silence.
Taking it a step further, offering family-building benefits can be a tremendous resource in supporting your employees who are struggling to have a child. Not only do WIN’s benefits help ease the financial strain of undergoing fertility treatment, or pursuing a path such as adoption or surrogacy, but they also provide step-by-step guidance by Nurse Care Advocates. WIN’s Nurse Care Advocates are highly specialized fertility RN’s, sharing expertise to help employees navigate a complex journey and maximize their benefit. Combining clinical and behavioral health care with individualized support, employees can feel empowered knowing they are not alone in making the best decisions for their specific journey to parenthood.
Reach out to email@example.com to make a real difference in your employees’ wellbeing.