With all the respect and sentimentality surrounding Mother’s Day it can be challenging for those who do not feel so warm and fuzzy about the May holiday. Many people don’t look forward to this holiday, because they are hurting in light of motherhood.
Greeting cards and commercials don’t encourage these experiences, but sadly, this is more common than we are shown in the media. For many, guilt and bitterness shows up.
Just because some have been unable to maintain a close, meaningful relationship with their mother doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate what she may have done for them. In fact, this is one large reason for the presence of so much guilt.
Growing up isn’t always easy, sometimes we lose friends or choose not to maintain contact with those who aren’t supportive of our life choices even if that person is our mother. We choose partners, take jobs far from home, and may have a sexual preference that our mom’s don’t support and may not know how to accept.
One of the greatest pains witnessed is the pain of feeling unaccepted by your mom in the face of life decisions or one’s own identity. Cultural implications don’t encourage distance from our mothers even if the relationship is toxic.
Others hurting are those women who desperately long to be mothers and have paid upwards of $10,000-plus per round of infertility treatments to attempt the role only to be met with disappointing results. The great pain and turmoil the holiday brings for these women can be unbearable.
Among those struggling include not only those with deceased mom’s, but those with living mothers who have dementia and cannot remember their own family. Grieving for a living family member is also painful.
As a reminder, when so many environmental signs point to the normalcy of a magical, heart warming connection to the woman who brought us into the world, let’s also open ourselves to the commonness of the pain present here for so many others who are hoping for magic to fix the brokenness they hold.
To those sons and daughters longing for the validation and contact to their mom, let us honor your emptiness and sorrow. To those women desperate for a child of their own, let us carry your burden and understand more fully the magnitude of your sacrifices.
To those wounded by their mother’s lack of acceptance, let us welcome you into our families. And to those who left their moms in their home country to work toward a better life, let us empower your efforts to create new opportunities for yourself and your mother.
Finally to those with a mother they can take to brunch and be in healthy communication, let us be joyful for your gift with true appreciation.
Stephanie Willis is president of Willis Counseling & Consulting a private group therapy practice in Naperville and Chicago. She can be reached at www.williscc.com and 312-476-9064.