When Mother’s Day Brings Sorrow Instead of Joy
Mother’s Day is once again upon us. This occasion can be a time of reflection. Sometimes, the reflection staring back at us brings us deep sorrow instead of great joy. Whether you have faced infertility, experienced a miscarriage or the loss of a mother, daughter, or other loved one, this day of celebration can spark great sadness instead of joy and happiness. This reflection can even bring about feelings that you have fallen short of your expectation of being a mother. Maybe we weren’t able to breastfeed as long as you wanted or had to work outside the home when your children were little and as a result, we have the dreaded mom guilt. As women, we put so many expectations on ourselves, compare ourselves to other women and at times, hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard. So many times, we are asked when we will have children. It is an automatic assumption in our society that because we are women, we automatically will or will want to have children. Many do, but many do not. Maybe they want to, but for a number of reasons are unable to get pregnant. Maybe they have experienced a miscarriage(s) and maybe… just maybe, they don’t want to have children at all. Nothing is wrong with you if you have experienced any of these circumstances regardless of the expectations of those around you or what society tries to tell you. If you are struggling on this day meant for celebration, I would like you to remember a few things.
1. Experiencing sadness on special occasions is a normal part of loss and longing. These days often serve as reminders of what we have let go or do not yet have.
2. Embrace you emotions. It’s helpful to realize that emotions are not good or bad. They are just messengers that tell us about what’s going on in our lives. It is when we live by and make decisions based on these emotions is when we can get ourselves into trouble. Otherwise, they are nothing more than something to be acknowledged. Emotions are meant as stops along life’s journey rather than destinations. If you continually feel sad over a lengthy period of time or it seems as if there is no hope at all, then consider getting help from a professional.
3. Seek support. Support groups can be a great source of comfort. Consider joining a loss, infertility or breastfeeding support group. It helps to talk with others who know what you’re going through and you can learn from those who are further down the road than you are and offer help to those just beginning their journey. Support groups can be formally organized or they can be more casual, such as a group on social media.
4. Do something special because healing comes when we acknowledge and embrace our losses. The kind of action you take depends on your personality and the nature of your loss. For example, if you lost your mother then you might write her a letter or bake her favorite dessert to reminisce and enjoy with loved ones or to give away. If you lost an unborn child, you might donate to a crisis pregnancy center in his or her honor or volunteer your time at a hospital or center for babies in need. If you have experienced a stillborn or SIDS, donate your breast milk to a local milk bank to honor the life of your child. You and your spouse might look at photos of the loved one you lost or visit a place or do an activity you used to all do together or watch a movie you both loved. You may think, “But that will make me sad!” You’re right, but that’s okay. Experiencing grief is part of the healing process.
5. Know you are not alone and garner hope. It is our responsibility and often becomes a great joy to share what we have learned and how we have overcame difficult times in our lives, to be a source of light and hope for those coming behind us that will face some of the very same sorrows.
I want to wish each of you a Happy Mother’s Day in whatever capacity that looks like for you. Join us on Facebook and Instagram at Grey’s Cowbell Lactation Treats LLC or @greys_cowbell Feel free to send us messages with questions or to seek advice. We will share it anonymously with our community to support you in any way we can.