Mother’s Day Grief
When your social media feed is jam-packed with feel-good family photos and sappy commercials seem to be peddling cards, flowers, and brunch specials in a perpetual loop, you’d assume everyone loves celebrating Mother’s Day.
But if you find yourself in a love-hate relationship with the second Sunday in May, you’re not alone. Not even close, according to HuffPost reporting. Mother’s Day grief is real, and it looks a little different for everyone.
While no one would argue that setting aside a special day to honor mothers of all kinds is a bad idea, the holiday can still be painful and triggering for some, including:
- Those whose mothers have passed away
- Anyone who is estranged from their mother
- A mother experiencing grief after the loss of a child
- A woman struggling with Mother’s Day infertility grief
- Women who’ve experienced pregnancy loss(es)
- Single women who want a family of their own
- Stepparents who are navigating new or challenging family dynamics
- Moms going through a difficult season with one or more children because of addiction, illness, or mental health complications
Awareness is Key
For someone who may not experience Mother’s Day grief, what’s the best way to be kind and supportive to those in your life who are? Being extra mindful, thoughtful, and a good listener is a great place to start.
Grief after losing your mother, in particular, makes Mother’s Day incredibly difficult for many. Whether you’ve lost your mom when you were young, or more recently, Mother’s Day is often a sad, difficult reminder of the milestones you have missed in her absence. Or, how family gatherings have changed, or simply the sadness of not having more time together.
Acknowledging the grief is important, as is lending support when someone you care about is struggling in this way. Below are a few simple gestures that can show your support:
- Share a fond memory of your friend’s mother or other thoughtful sentiments in a handwritten note.
- Make a donation in the mom’s name to an organization or cause that was meaningful to her.
- Leave flowers or a plant on their work desk or front porch to say you’re remembering their mom.
For women who face grief after the loss of a child because of infertility, miscarriage, or any other number of heartbreaking reasons, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of the loss. Finding a way to spend time together and honor them can make a world of difference on a difficult day, according to Hallmark.com.
It can be as simple as going out for coffee and letting them share their favorite memories. Maybe it’s educating yourself by reading articles or posts by moms who’ve lost children, so you have a better idea as to what to say and not say. Perhaps, it’s arranging a fun activity, writing a personal letter, or making a phone call to remind them they’re being thought of.
Surviving Mother’s Day When Grieving
Like many holidays, Mother’s Day comes with a pretty set idea of what it’s supposed to look and feel like. But how do you make the best of it when you’re struggling with Mother’s Day grief?
For starters, treating yourself with kindness will go a long way, according to VeryWellHealth.com. It can be as simple as getting enough sleep and making sure you’re eating well and drinking enough water. It’s giving yourself a break because grieving is hard, and everyone’s pace and triggers are different.
Planning what your day will look like ahead of time — with activities that bring you joy — is also recommended by Lulus.com. It’s also probably a good day to take a break from social media, which may help to minimize the inevitable comparisons and angst you may already be feeling.
And if there are family obligations you feel you can’t say no to, know that you can. You don’t have to put yourself in a difficult position on a day that’s already difficult. HuffPost experts emphasize it’s OK to “put yourself first” and reschedule family time on another day that’s easier for you emotionally.
Hope For Those Hurting
Another way that Mother’s Day grief can be hard to reconcile is when you’ve grown up with a mother who was absent, abusive, or not able to show love. Childhood trauma and toxic relationships aren’t easily glossed over. They make having healthy relationships all the more difficult.
If any of this resonates with you or someone you love, we at Willow House at The Meadows can help. With programs specializing in intimacy disorders, emotional trauma, and co-occurring disorders, our comprehensive, holistic approach focuses on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness that restores hurting people back to health. For more information, reach out to us today.