Mother’s Day is a day set aside by many countries to honor, you guessed it, mothers. Its intention is to be a joyous day centered on celebrating moms. Family gatherings, gifts, cards, flowers, and phone calls are common occurrences on this day. However, this day is not always a joyous day for everyone. In fact, it can be downright painful for many groups of people, including the very one it was meant to celebrate.
Who is Mother’s Day Painful for?
Those who have lost a child
Birth mothers may also experience challenging emotions on this day, as they may find themselves in the place of being a mother, but not actively parenting.
Those who long to be a mother
For women who long to have children and have been unable to do so, this day can be an incredibly painful reminder of what they are missing and want more than anything. In an attempt to celebrate mothers, many churches, grocery stores, and unknowing strangers will offer flowers and kind words to wish a Happy Mother’s Day. For those who are waiting to see two pink lines, those who are waiting to be chosen by a birth mother, or those who are going through fertility treatment, these simple gestures can be agonizing.
Those who have lost their mother
Grieving children will also find this day more painful than joyous. These children can be adults or children who have lost a parent. This loss can occur because of the death of a parent. It can also occur as a result of children being in foster care or even loving adoptive families. Days centered on motherhood can be painful when that woman is no longer present in your life.
Ways to Ease The Pain
As a nurse who experienced a challenging road to motherhood, I volunteered to work many Mother’s Day shifts in an effort to avoid a lot of the celebrating. I also am hesitant to post “I’m so blessed to be a mom” kind of posts on social media because I remember how very painful seeing something so simple was for me. Avoiding promotional emails wishing a Happy Mother’s Day sent by every company you have ever shopped from on this particular day can also be helpful.
Helping others is always a great way to heal your own heart. Studies show that volunteering is linked with an overall better mood and feeling of connection. According to Option B, sometimes you can turn your hurt into healing for others as well.
Sometimes knowing that a certain day may be painful for you can be half the battle. Preparing for the possibility of your sadness by planning a day at the spa or reading a book, speaking to your counselor leading up to the day, or making sure that you are with a close friend on that day can be helpful. Giving yourself permission to feel how you feel (sad, mad, tired) is also important. The ones who we grieve for or hope will one day fill our homes are important and it is ok to hold space for these feelings about them.
As a mom who spent many Mother’s Days wishing to be a mom and who now has four kiddos who will inevitably wake me up with handmade crafts and undercooked food, I have equally mixed emotions about this day. The aforementioned crafts are cute, as are the little cooks who tried their best. They buzz around and try so hard, at least for the first few minutes of the day, to make me feel so special. I also remember how much sadness I felt every Mother’s Day because I wanted nothing more than to be a mom. I hope no matter where you are in this journey you feel loved—by a child, by a spouse, by a friend, by a Starbucks barista that gives you a little bit of extra whipped cream because they know you need a little extra pep on this day.
If your sadness goes beyond the lack of joy on this day of celebrating moms and feels more like hopelessness and severe Depression, please seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available via phone call or chat and has counselors on standby to speak with you.
Chasidy Brooks is a nurse practitioner married to her best friend and highschool sweetheart, Ben. They are mom and dad to 4 kiddos, who are equal parts crazy and beautiful, ranging from preschool to middle school. Chasidy was born and raised right outside of Atlanta, Georgia, so it’s only appropriate that she cheers loudly for the Georgia Bulldogs and that her drink of choice is Coca Cola. Her passion is for being an advocate and a voice for those whose voices might not otherwise be heard, and this is evident in everything she does. Chasidy is the founder of Rainbows from Raya, a nonprofit organization that supports adoptive families through grants and mealtrains.