Mother’s Day and Difficult Emotions

Motherhood is a big deal. It’s a tall order when you think about it. As a mom, you’re the first person your baby attaches to. A baby knows the sound of his or her mother’s voice while still in the womb. Infants like to be rocked at the same pace as their mother’s heartbeat. Babies know their mom’s scent, her mood, and if she’s had too much caffeine. Mother’s create the very first template of what relationships look like and feel like. Am I safe? Am I loved? Can I trust you? We take this template with us for the rest of our lives. And when we think about what motherhood is, many of us are filled with gratitude for Mom. She’s the pillar, our go to, always in our corner, and our unconditional support. But motherhood can bring up many more feelings, like resentment, bitterness, jealousy, and grief.

What if you’re the person in the card aisle reading all of the Mother’s Day cards and you leave empty handed and angry because not a single card was an accurate reflection of the relationship you have with your mother? Your mom wasn’t there for you. She cared more about getting her own needs met than she cared about meeting your needs. You know what you learned from your mom? Depend on yourself. Because if the one person in the world who was literally attached to you can’t even show up for you, then why on earth would anyone else? Maybe your mom neglected you, maybe she failed you, or maybe she even hurt you. Some of you would rather your mom hit you, because then you’d at least know you exist. As it is—you’re not so sure.

Some of you might be filled with jealousy and grief as you watch your friends celebrate their very first Mother’s Day. You’d give anything for the stretch marks, swollen feet, late nights, and floors covered in toys, but instead, month after month, you can’t get pregnant. Or maybe you’ve miscarried. You feel broken, defective, and devastated by the loss. You wish your mom and your friends a happy Mother’s Day, all the while fighting the tears and grief that the day holds.

And some of you are celebrating the first Mother’s Day without your mom, or maybe the first without your child. Whether it’s the first year or the annual reminder of your loss—it hurts. You miss your mom. You wish you could call her, send her flowers, or hear her yell at you for leaving your hairbrush on the table just one more time. You have questions about recipes and raising kids. And Mother’s Day might be a difficult day to get through rather than a celebration.

It’s such a mix of emotions on a day that is meant to be a celebration. To those who have their moms, , be filled with gratitude and enjoy your day. To those who don’t have a mom the greeting cards talk about, she probably did her best and you still deserved better. To those who desire to be moms, but are struggling with infertility or have gone through the loss of a child, I’m so sorry. That pain is so deep. And to those who are grieving the loss of their mother, as my mom always said to me, “put your right hand on your left shoulder, and your left hand on your right shoulder. Squeeze really tight. That’s a hug from mom.” 

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