Mother’s Day advertisements and commercials give you the idea that it is all about flowers, gifts, and family dinners, and for some that is the case. But for many others, the focus on Mother’s Day for weeks leading up to the second Sunday in May is a painful reminder of what might have been, could have been, isn’t, or will never be.
Mother’s Day has been a hard day for me for many years. At first, it was hard because of the years of infertility, waiting to become parents when everyone around us seemed to have no problem conceiving. Then it was hard because of our losses. Every year, for three years, it was a painful reminder of the baby we had lost since the last Mother’s Day. Even now, with two living miracles in my arms, I celebrate Mother’s Day with an enthusiasm tempered by my own legacy of more children in Heaven than on Earth and the knowledge that this day is so hard, so painful, for so many.
It’s not just the moms of babies in Heaven and moms-in-waiting who find this day hard, though.
It’s those who miss a mom who has passed away.
It’s the mom whose children are walking a path they would not have chosen for them.
It’s the mom whose children and grandchildren who live far away.
It’s the mom whose relationship with her children is strained.
It’s the adult child whose memories of mom are not the stuff that Hallmark commercials are made of.
If Mother’s Day is hard for you, here are some ideas to make it easier on your heart.
Tell someone. Tell your husband, your own mom, your best friend, your sister. Tell someone empathetic that Mother’s Day is hard for you this year. People can’t support you if they don’t know you need it.
Change your plans. You don’t have to get together with extended family or go out to dinner or even go to church (yes, I am a pastor’s wife and I said that) if you know you will be confronted with circumstances (lots of pregnant bellies, lots of focus on the mom with the most kids, lots of baby dedications) that will have you in tears.
Wear something special. Choose something to wear – whether an outfit or a special piece of jewelry to remember the mother or child you are missing. I will be wearing my bird’s nest necklace with seven beads in it to represent ALL my children.
Reach out to others. If your heart can handle it, find a way to make someone else’s day special – a child without a mom, maybe? Or a mom without her child? Maybe do something special at a nursing home? My motivation for this comes from understanding the history of Mother’s Day. It was begun by Anna Jarvis, who was childless herself, and whose own mother (herself a bereaved mother who had only four of her children live to adulthood) had just died. Let that sink in, because the very things that make it so hard today for so many are intimately bound up in its history. There is an irony it that that is not lost on me.
Also – if Mother’s Day is not hard for you, but it is for a friend or family member, would you give them the greatest gift of all?
Understanding. Let them know that they do not have to put on a show for you, and give them the space they need on this special but poignant day.
I do hope, if Mother’s Day is hard is for you, you will still have a peaceful and blessed day. Is there something that makes this day easier for you? Share it in the comments below!