Unfortunately for some, Mother's Day is a holiday that is equivalent to an emotional boot camp. People who fall into this category either spend the day hiding out, refusing to even acknowledge all the public reminders, or spend the day with a fake smile pinned so painfully in place that they fear their cheeks will fall off.
So who are these women that would shirk such a warm and fuzzy holiday?
The Mother who has lost
I remember the first Mother's Day after Leo died I told my husband that I didn't want a single mention of the stupid non-event. It had been only a few short weeks since we lost him and I felt like I didn't deserve to be honored on a day celebrating maternal love and skill. I felt like the most basic part of being a mom was keeping your children alive and look how badly I had botched that! It didn't matter that this thought was completely illogical. I was pissed and not afraid to show it. At least I had two other living children at that time. What about the mom who has lost her only child? Is she no longer a mother? What is she supposed to do on that holiday?
The woman with empty arms
I've had many friends who have struggled with infertility. It's not hard to imagine how a day celebrating what you feel is your greatest lack would really suck. I have heard of many churches and restaurants that pass out flowers to all the moms that walk through the doors. I imagine this must feel so incredibly isolating.
The woman without a mother
Death or abandonment can leave many motherless. How lonely to spend the day remembering what should have or can never be a true celebration.
What can I do?
I am sure there are many categories of women who have a legitimate reason to dread this particular Sunday. How then should we act? I think the best thing to do is to not let them suffer in silence or ignore their pain. Resolve this Mother's Day to reach out to a woman who may be struggling. Tell her you admire her, tell her you know today is hard, or just give her a hug. Just don't let her hurt alone.