Mother’s Day in the United States is right around the corner and for so many, this is a wonderful day of celebration. Deservedly so, Mother’s do so much for their families and it is wonderful a day is set aside to stop and reflect on their contributions. While I am talking about Mother’s Day in this post, there might be other holidays or events that trigger emotions for you.
For others, celebrating Mother’s Day is a reminder of the desire to be a Mother but perhaps they haven’t found the right partner, have not able to conceive or carry to term, or lost their Mother. In the past, this day has been difficult for me, due to experiencing four recurrent miscarriages and so badly wanting to become a Mother. The one highlight was always being able to celebrate my Mother. This year will be entirely different. After a long battle with cancer, my mother passed away in December. This will be my first Mother’s Day without her.
I used to be the person to put on a smile, attend the planned Mother’s Day activities, and internalize all the sadness. While I wholeheartedly feel that Mother’s Day should be a celebration, it does not mean that I must always partake in all activities. There are several things I have done through the years to help find a balance between celebrating Mother’s Day while preserving my own mental health.
Send Mother’s Day Cards in Advance
Sending a Mother’s Day card to those special moms in your life, whether it is your mom, sister, mother in law or friend, show them how much you care about them and what they have done for you and/or their families. Do this a week or two in advance.
When doing this in advance allows you to celebrate those women, but also eliminates a need for you to participate in the day of celebration. These individuals in your life, are probably keenly aware of the difficulty this day brings you.
Stay off Social Media on Mother’s Day
If you are an avid social media viewer or contributor, I encourage you to stay off social media on Mother’s Day. Your feed will be filled with Mother’s Day posts. You may even want to make a post yourself, but for the love of everything, do not scroll, watch stories, or get pulled into commenting on posts.
Social media, while entertaining, is an environment primarily geared towards “it’s a wonderful life”. You will see photos enhanced with the best lighting and posed scenes accompanied by the obligatory “Happy Mother’s Day” text. This may start to cause feelings of sadness or comparison to only see “it’s a wonderful life”. One of the Instagram influencers I follow, Tinx, says it perfectly “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Plan an Outing for the Day
The outing may differ based on your situation and particular feelings for the day. You may also be aware of any triggers you might have, do your best to avoid those on that particular day. I enjoy going to church, but I know the sermon will always be about celebrating Mother’s Day, and each year I have always left in tears. Going to church on Mother’s Day is a trigger for me. Other ideas for outings include:
- Plan an outdoor activity: A round of golf, walk through the Forrest preserve, take a bike ride, go on a hike
- Visit an establishment: Check out your local brewery or distillery, treat yourself to a shopping trip,
- Pay tribute: Visit your Mother’s resting place
- Visit loved ones: If a large family celebration is a trigger for you, then plan for a small visit with your Mother or other loved one.
- Be one with thyself: For us introverts, one of the most relaxing things that can be taken out and Netflix. For others, this might cause you to stew in your own thoughts. Again, plan an outing based on your situation and feelings.
Vocalize your Feelings when celebrating Mother’s Day
If you are in a situation where you live with a spouse or significant other, and celebrating Mother’s Day is a difficult day for you, vocalize that in advance. Let them know why the day is difficult, how you feel, and things, and make the day manageable for you.
Waking up in the morning in a sour mood without forewarning will not lead to a desirable day between you and your spouse or significant other. Prior to the day, let them know how you feel and how you would like to spend the day. Your spouse or significant other might also have a very specific version of how he or she would like to spend the day. Communicate and find common ground where you both feel supported and comfortable. While you may have faith that you will find peace in your situation or your situation may change, it is ok not to be ok all the time.
In conclusion, I appreciate the day to celebrate everyone who is a Mother and our Mother. Just like religious holidays, however, they do not need to be celebrated by all the time. Know your emotional limits, respect them and find a way to embrace the holiday in your own way. Give yourself permission to step out and take care of yourself.