A Painful Perspective of Mother’s Day
I’ve never had a problem with Mother’s Day. I have a great Mom and growing up it was a fun way to celebrate and show appreciation to my mom. I never really thought of the fact that Mother’s Day could be a hard day for other people.
There are those whose mother or child has passed away, or who have a strained relationship with their mom, or have a mom whose mind is being ravaged by dementia or Alzheimer’s and is physically present but not mentally or emotionally.
There are those who long to be mother’s and battle infertility or miscarriages or the long process of adoption. So many scenario’s, mentioned and not, that we don’t think about on Mother’s Day unless we are personally impacted by one of them.
For the past three years Mother’s Day became something I dreaded. My husband and I were in the process of adopting three boys from Africa and it just served as a reminder that they weren’t with me and I couldn't physically care for them.
In my heart I felt like a mother to those boys but to everyone else on the outside I was just a young married woman with no children.
Even friends and family who knew our story didn’t acknowledge Mother’s Day, and I don’t blame them. If you haven’t experienced the painful aspects Mother’s Day can hold, it’s hard to acknowledge them for other people.
At restaurants and churches they often hand out flowers to mother’s, and for a few years in a row my church had mothers stand at the end of service to be prayed over. Both actions are so well intended to honor mothers, but they just amplified my hurt.
I have friends who have struggled with infertility and miscarriages that share feelings similar to mine on Mother’s Day. Even if we have Mom’s to celebrate, we still felt a deep ache in our own hearts as we longed for motherhood that was not yet attainable for us – at least in the eyes of the world.
Not only can Mother’s Day remind us of the pain and loss we’ve experienced or are experiencing, it also creates an expectation. Last year for Mother’s Day it was our first weekend home after living in Africa, which made the consumerism of the American culture really stand out. It was extremely overwhelming to see advertisements for gifts that costs hundreds of dollars and realize the amount of money that gets spent on gifts and eating out.
Why has it had to turn into a day with so much expectation to spend money and give gifts just to acknowledge and show appreciation to our Mom’s. Wouldn’t it mean so much more to do it on a random day rather than a day of mere obligation. I hope to never fall into the trap of having expectations on Mother’s Day.
I’ve come to really dislike Mother’s Day and this year is the first year I’m officially a mom. (See our adoption story here). Though I’m alive and loving my daughter to the best of my abilities, I’m not her first mom and I’m not her biological mom.
She can celebrate me as her mom, but I am her mom because of devastating loss she has experienced in her past.
I imagine Mother’s Day will always bring many mixed emotions for her.
As you prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day this year consider those around you who may be grieving because of what the day represents for them, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge the inevitable pain this day brings for many people.