Coping with Mother’s Day When It’s not for You

For many, Mother’s Day is just another Hallmark holiday. But, for others, it’s an annual reminder of loss, social expectations, and an age-old dispute regarding a woman’s place in society. If you find yourself in the latter category, here are some tips to help you cope with Mother’s Day this year.

If You Can’t Have Kids

For those that fall into this category, Mother’s Day likely elicits a painful truth, and you’re not alone. Many women feel betrayed by their bodies; their infertility can lead them to lose sight of their femininity and strength.

What’s important to note here is that these feelings are valid, and you aren’t selfish for feeling them. Whether you just recently received these results or have known for some time, this day, in particular, can bring with it a wave of emotion, and ignoring those feelings does a disservice to you.

So instead, allow yourself a moment to feel sad, angry, or any other emotion you may be feeling, and don’t feel guilty for doing so. And, once you’ve let it all out, then remember your ability to carry children does not directly correlate to your womanhood. Because whether or not it feels true, it is true.

If You Don’t Want to Have Kids

On the other end of the spectrum, you may be a woman that has no desire to have children of your own. Society (or your family or friends) may debate you ad nauseam on this topic, in which case Mother’s Day is just another day in which you feel the need to explain your life choices to others.

First and foremost, whether you choose to have children is your decision, and it doesn’t require explanation. The argument that you’ll “change your mind,” or that you “don’t know what you’re missing,” or that you “haven’t found real purpose until you have children” is as insulting as it is false.

Just because that’s someone else’s experience with parenthood isn’t to say it will be yours, nor is it to say your life experiences won’t be as purposeful without children. Everyone makes their own decisions based on their own desires, so don’t feel less than following yours.

If You Lost Your Mother

Conversely, Mother’s Day is about our own matriarchs, and for some, that means dealing with their loss. Whether this loss was recent or long ago, the sting of that absence is still felt with every annual celebration.

That being said, Mother’s Day is not specific to those still here in person and whose presence we feel in spirit. Today is still about your mother, and you can celebrate her even if she is no longer here.

Develop your own tradition, whether that’s leaving flowers at her grave, throwing a celebration at home in her honor, or curling up to the movie marathon the two of you used to enjoy. Whatever the tradition, try to focus more on the positivity of her memory than the difficulty of her loss.

If You Never Knew/Had Your Mother

Lastly, Mother’s Day can be particularly painful for those that never knew or had a mother to celebrate. In these cases, the day often goes without a gathering and is instead a stark reminder of a missing relationship.

The truth is, you aren’t alone, and there is actually a positive way to spend your time today. If you’re looking to give back to the community, visiting a nursing home to volunteer with individuals that are spending the day alone will not only brighten their day but yours as well.

If you’re looking to spend the time alone, don’t just allow today to pass like any other day. Instead, create your own tradition that celebrates your independence and perseverance. Sometimes, simply turning things around and focusing on positivity is enough to help you get through it all.

Mother’s Day is a celebration of life in this world, but that’s not to say it comes without the negative connotations. This year, focus on the positivity of that message and rely on these tips to get you through the day unscathed. And in the meantime, know you are always valued, regardless of your relationship with your mother or your ability or desire to procreate.

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