Mother’s Day can bring a bittersweet taste when it is an opportunity to celebrate our deserving mothers, but also a cold reminder for some that their dream of motherhood is unfulfilled.
Some women talk about the pain of Mother’s Day being so excruciating that they can’t get out of bed. Others say that they choose to boycott the day by refusing to go to family functions and other events. Their pain is made worse by a culture that blindly neglects to notice the hidden impact of celebrating the wonderful role of mothers. A role they long to share in. It is difficult to understand the depth of this pain unless you are going through it, but we can notice it, offer our empathy and our support.
Other women talk about reaching a point where they realise they have a choice – to continue to be swamped by the sadness and anger about being childless or they could look for the mothers in their life and celebrate them for who they are. This choice is one of the hardest and biggest choices a woman can make.
They are choosing to acknowledge the gift of mothering offered by their own mothers, grandmothers, adoptive mothers, foster carers, generous friends. They have come to a realisation that mothering is not just a biological process, it is an attitude, a warmth, a gift.
How do they do this? Usually with the support of their closest loved ones, or other women who are experiencing the same torment.
Our hope for you is that this Mother’s Day you can come to think about honouring the ‘mothers’ in your life – family members, friends, neighbours. Think about stepping outside your pain and hurt of what life ‘should’ be like and really be open to the people who care for you.
Motherhood, however, comes in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we can overlook our own gift of mothering, because it isn’t exactly as we would like or want it to be. In this moment you may not be a biological mother, in the future this may change.
Love has no boundaries, and it is important to recognise your own mothering even if it isn’t what you expected it to look like. Think about a list of names; include people and pets you look after in some way or another. This may be a neighbour that you pop over to see, take a meal to or sit and chat and listen to how they are seeing the world today. It may be the child of a friend who has confided in you, feels safe with you, can trust you. Or, it may be a pet that you shelter, feed, play with and love. Don’t underestimate your gift of mothering to them, as their lives are all the richer for having you care for them.
So this Mother’s Day, yes acknowledge your pain and sadness, but if you can, find a way to put that in a place that doesn’t overwhelm you and look towards yours and other mothers’ wonderful gifts. Look to send gratitude to your own mother or those who have helped mother you, doing something special to mark their impact in your life. A phone call, a thank you note, a special visit, there are many ways to recognise their impact and to say thank you.