Before I became a mom, I celebrated my mom on Mother’s Day. When I became a mom, I continued to celebrate my mom, but I also wanted to be celebrated on Mother’s Day. I could pretend to be humble and say I didn’t need or want anything special, that I just wanted to be with my people. And while the being with my people part was true, the rest wouldn’t have been. I worked hard as a mom, so yes, I would take the adorations of the day, whatever form they came in.
But two years after my first Mother’s Day my second child died – the Sunday before Mother’s Day.
I was living in a fog. I didn’t even know what day of the week it was, much less that it was such a stupid “holiday.” Those were my thoughts at the time. It took fewer than five minutes of me scrolling through social media that morning to realize it was Mother’s Day, and I was, quite frankly, pissed about it. This day was meant to recognize moms and here I was a mom without her child. I felt broken and now it felt like even more attention was being called to it. I joined this club of people who had lost a child and an even broader club of people who find Mother’s Day hard.
One year later I was prepared to know that Mother’s Day would be hard. I was sensitive to those around me who had also lost a child realizing that the day would be hard for them as well. But it was that year that I learned that Mother’s Day is hard for so many people. It’s not just those of us who have lost a child, but also those who have lost their mother. Those who have given a child up for adoption, those who have been adopted and grieve for their birth mother, those who never knew their mother, those whose mother never treated them the way a mother should, those who long to be a mother and aren’t, those who have suffered with infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth, those who have held their baby or their child and then suddenly they were gone. Those who have poured their heart into raising their children only to have that relationship strained. Those whose children are walking the path of addiction and aren’t the people their moms once knew.
There are so many reasons for Mother’s Day to be hard.
In this age of social media, it feels like Mother’s Day can be even harder. While not intentional, it feels as if it is rubbed in our faces. We see cute, smiling kids and happy families and lovely flowers and meals and gifts and when we don’t have what our heart most desires, it just hurts. Seeing it displayed in others’ lives feels like salt being rubbed in our open wounds.
If you are a person who finds Mother’s Day hard, for whatever reason, please know that you are not alone. We see you and we remember you this Sunday. And if you are someone who only has joy around Mother’s Day, not hurt, then I am truly so glad for you. I hope you enjoy your day and I encourage you to reach out to someone in your life who may find the day hard. To a neighbor who is lonely, a friend who struggles with infertility, a nephew who lost his mom – whoever it is, let them know you see them.