For some, Mother's Day is a happy day. They get cards and gifts from their husband and children, get to enjoy the day together as a family and bask in the joy of motherhood. Other people recognize them as mothers and they are wished a "Happy Mother's Day" from many, even strangers. Yes, for some, this day is a day to celebrate.
And yet for others, Mother's Day is a painful reminder of what they don't have. A day to grieve the children they have lost or the children they long for, but for reasons outside their control, can't have. A day that is a bitter reminder of how life did not go as planned or hoped. Most of the world does not recognize them as mothers and a lot of people don't even give them a second thought. They feel lonely and isolated, left behind, sad. For some, this day is not a day to celebrate.
Mother's Day is a hard day for a large group of women. Some are still reeling from a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant/child death. Whether their loss happened a week ago, a month ago, a year ago or a decade ago, it still hurts. Losing a child is not something that you get over and forget about, it stays with you forever. Some are struggling with infertility and are wondering if their chance at having children will ever come. If they will ever get to see that beautiful second line on a pregnancy test and experience the joy that comes with it. If they will ever get to hold their baby in their arms. Some are in the middle of an adoption journey, waiting. Waiting for their home study to be complete, waiting for their file to go active, waiting to be matched, waiting for their child to come home. Waiting for a child to call them Mom. Some are motherless. They have either never known their mother, lost their mother to death or have a strained or non-existent relationship with their mom.
Yes, Mother's Day can be very very painful.
I'm not trying to say that Mother's Day is a horrible day and shouldn't be celebrated. Because it should be. Mother's all over the world should be recognized and celebrated and appreciated. Being a mom is not easy and shouldn't be downplayed.
I just wanted to share the other side of this day, that it can be a very hard day for many women and we shouldn't forget about them. This Mother's Day, give every woman you know a hug. Because you don't know the road they walk or the journey they are on.
Now after that long intro, I wanted to share with you what I plan on doing this Mother's Day. This will be my third childless Mother's Day and I wanted to make it a good day. In previous years, I have stayed home and done my best to not interact with anyone. I've felt sorry for myself and wallowed in self-pity, thinking that there is nothing worse than spending Mother's Day with no children.
But not this year, this year I have plans! A good friend of mine sent me this link to a blog post, 10 Commandments for Surviving Mother's Day, and I fell in love with the idea. So I decided to make my own list of 10 Commandments, following her lead and using some of her ideas.
Jenn's 10 Commandments for Surviving Mother's Day
- Thou shall not feel sorry for yourself.
I will not let myself wallow in self-pity this year. I have a lot to be thankful for and I will focus on the good things in my life. Like the original blogger says, I am allowed to feel sorry for myself the day before or the day after but not on actual Mother's Day.
- Thou shall avoid Facebook.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Facebook is hard when you're hurting and a lot of people will be posting Mother's Day type statuses and pictures. It will be best for me to just stay away.
- Thou shall do something nice for others.
I plan on sending out messages/emails to some of my other fellow loss moms. To let them know that I'm thinking of them and know that it's a hard day for us.
- Thou shall be especially nice to one's spouse.
I am so lucky to have an amazing husband who has been the greatest support and encouragement over these past four years. He is always there for me and I want to show it to him, especially on this day.
- Thou shall help out another childless mother.
I will be helping Laure and her family on their journey to adopting a special needs child from China. While I realize that this specific person already has a child, I love that her and her husband are planning on giving a family to a child that so many others wouldn't want. I will be purchasing some items from her Etsy shop, Lulazoo, as my way of contributing to their adoption fundraiser. If you want to read more about their story, please check out her blog, One Thousand for One.
- Thou shall spend time outdoors.
This is obviously weather permitting. I originally wanted to go out on our new boat but the weather is supposed to be cold and rainy. So we might just end up going for a walk in a park or something.
- Thou shall pamper yourself in some way.
I haven't decided how I will pamper myself but I plan on doing something. Even if it's something little like a bag of GF/DF brownies.
- Thou shall call the woman who raised you.
I will call my mom and thank her for raising me up so well and for being the best mom a girl could ask for. She did good.
- Thou shall cook or bake something tasty.
Once again, I don't know what yet but I plan on spending some time in the kitchen with my hubby!
- Thou shall remain hopeful.
This one is important. It's so easy to lose hope on this journey, to wonder if we will ever actually have a child of our own. That first Mother's Day, back in 2011, I was hurting but I was also so sure that we would have a baby by the next one. And here I am, celebrating my third Mother's Day with no baby in my arms and no baby in my tummy. I will remain hopeful though. Hopeful that one day Dan and I will welcome a child into our lives and we will get to celebrate Mother's Day with him/her.
And to end off this post, I wanted to share another blog post that I thought was really well written. It's an open letter to pastors about Mother's Day. It's worth a read, really.