Saturday, May 12, 2012

Not-So-Happy Mother's Day

What images does Mother's Day conjure for you? Is it flowers picked by chubby little hands, breakfast in bed, or maybe a big multi-generational dinner at Grandma's house? Does your Mother's Day include a long wait for a table at Mom's favorite restaurant, or maybe its a cross country phone call?
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.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I'm one with empty arms. One of the hardest things, on Mother's Day Sunday, is being in a church service when all of the Mother's are asked to stand. 19 or 90 they all stand. I sit alone and empty, politely clapping in honor of these wonderful women.
    I also hate going to my annual gyno visit, watching pregnant women waddle in, often with other kids in tow. Is there a gyno practice where non-Mother's can go?
    One more thing, my Mom died on April 14, 2012.