Mothers Day can be difficult for some women. Here’s a few tips on what to do when Mother’s Day seems hard.
For many people, holidays (especially Mother’s Day) is a painful day. Instead of celebration and excitement, it represents pain and loss.
In this article, we will discuss the five major reasons Mother’s Day can be filled with hurt and disappointment. Then we will talk about five things you can do to reclaim this special occasion.
Why Mothers Day Is Hard
There are many reasons Mother’s Day represents pain and disappointment. Here are the five biggest reasons.
When You Don’t (Can’t) Have Children
I have a niece who couldn’t have children. For her, the month of May didn’t represent a new season (Spring), or new growth. It represented what was missing in her life. Children.
Mother’s Day was a difficult day. She wanted to honor her own mom, but there was a growing sense of lack in her life. When she saw young mother’s (and mothers-to be) getting cards, flowers, and gifts, it triggered pain in her heart.
When Your Mother Is Deceased
Billy lost his mom to cancer. She died on Mother’s Day. Since then, it’s been difficult to look forward to that day.
He loves his wife. He is a proud father of three boys. And he wants to make sure his wife experiences the joy of being a mom. Yet it is often difficult.
Some years are worse than others. But that sense of loss creeps in without warning.
At times, he thinks more of his loss than what he has to look forward to.
When You Lost A Child
Our dear friends lost their only child several years ago.You can read their story here.
They are strong and have learned to turn their loss into an opportunity to help others. In spite of that, Mother’s Day is a reminder of loss.
Their faith sustains them, yet the pain is real. Although they have many happy memories, it is still a reminder of grief.
When it Represents A Painful Experience
Sarah has a hard time every Mother’s Day because that was the day her dad decided to tell the family he was leaving. She was 11 at the time. Since then she dreads Mother’s Day. It is a constant reminder of her loss.
When You Have Strained Relationships
Many people have complex mom relationships. Instead of a positive relationship, they experience a complicated relationship.
Take Abigail for instance. She has an estranged relationship with her mother. Mother’s Day is not a time she looks forward to. Because of her difficult relationship with her mom, she tries to avoid the day all-together. What should be a celebration, has turned into a dread.
Her emotions often keep her from enjoying her own family, making most holidays awkward.
5 Things To Do When Mothers Day Is Hard
Since Mother’s Day can be painful to many women (and men), what can be done to buffer the heartache it represents.
Here are five practical (yet important) things you can do to take the sting out of Mother’s Day.
1) Don’t Avoid Your Pain
Before we explore this concept I will be the first to admit (and even advocate) there are times to distance yourself from things that represent pain in your life.
For example, if you recently lost a child it will be very painful the first time you experience Mother’s Day following this event. It may be advantageous to avoid big crowds and to surround yourself with close family and friends. This is normal and helpful.
However, in time, it is necessary to face your fear, disappointment, and pain. Running from hurt will not help you heal.
The American Psychological Association says:
Though avoidance is normal, too much of it can prolong your stress and keep you from healing. Gradually, try to ease back into a normal routine. Support from loved ones or a mental health professional can help a lot as you get back in the groove.
2) Create A Support Group
I use the term ‘create’ instead of ‘find’ because this puts the power in your hands. Many people wait for someone else to do something; if you are hurting, be proactive.
The worst thing you can do is allow your pain to control your life.
God never intended you to be ruled by fear, pain, or circumstances.
There is no shame in needing help, so reach out to others who have experienced loss and help each other. If you don’t have a support system, create one.
This will do several things:
First, it will help you change your focus.
Second, it will allow you to help others.
Finally, it will connect you with people who will be there when you need them most.
3) Realize Your Value Is In Being Loved By God
We live in a culture where everything has a label. If you don’t feel well physically, you have ‘label goes here.’
Sometimes there is value in labeling (identifying things), however, many times it puts us in a box. We begin to identify with that specific label.
For example, it’s one thing to identify as single or married. This puts you in a category that can be helpful. I know if you are married, I will not try to set you up with my uncle Pete. If you are single I know you are willing to stay up past 10:00 pm. (Ok, that last one may not be true but I hope you get my point).
It’s another thing to identify as barren, or childless. That label is not helpful or validating.
All labels tend to box us in. Some labels work against us by shaping how we view ourselves. They have a negative impact on our sense of being and identity.
This is why it is important to realize your ultimate value is not in what you do or have, but in the fact that you are created in the image of God and loved by Him.
4) Celebrate Others
This may be difficult but it is a part of maturing and growing as a human being.
Psychologist note that when we celebrate with others it increases our ability to experience joy ourselves.
When we celebrate others a few things happen:
1. We let go of our past little by little
When we focus on others, the grip of our pain lessens.
The more we focus on our past experience (wounds, hurts, disappointments), the stronger the grip becomes. It’s like we are in a vice that tightens with every memory.
When we change our focus and think of others (even for a moment), we loosen the grip.
2. We increase our strength
Najma Khorrami writes:
Beyond seizing an available opportunity where possible, our sense of embracing others’ achievements helps to expand our own willpower.
When we focus on others we get stronger. Which means we are better equipped to face the tough times in our life.
3. Our happiness factor increases.
We actually become happier when we think about others and celebrate their wins in life.
Steve Kux from LifeHack puts it this way:
When you enjoy the success of others, you start a positive feedback loop of positive thinking in your own mind.
4. You stop comparing yourself to others
The pain of loss is difficult. We often make it worse by comparing ourselves to others.
Kara Harms calls comparison ‘the thief of joy.‘
For example, the pain of losing a child intensifies when we compare our lack to someone else’s gain. It’s like putting a magnifying glass on our wound. Everything gets bigger and more intense.
When we turn our attention to something (someone) else, we shift our mental perception and relieve the inner pressure.
Note: I am not suggesting that doing these things means you will never hurt again. Nor am I implying you should forget what you’ve lost. On the contrary, we hurt because we love. Yet, we should strive to heal so our hurt doesn’t control our lives.
I think we overlook one of the best things we can do when we are hurt, which is pray.
Glenn Harris (University of North Georgia) says, spirituality suggests there is more to life than what we experience with our five senses. The human spirit is the source of life that vitalizes humanity. It is the intangible that governs our mental and emotional existence.
We tend to interpret all of life as if we are merely physical and emotional (mental) creatures. But we are much more. There is a spiritual reality in life.We cannot approach the deep issues of life merely from a physical perspective. We must incorporate a spiritual aspect.
Prayer is how we connect to the spiritual nature of reality.
Scriptures on Comfort
This [is] my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. … 76 Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant.Psalm 119:50, 76
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,Rom 15:5
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Therefore if [there is] any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,Philippians 2:1
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;John 14:16
Mother’s Day should be a celebration of life, yet for many, Mothers Day can be difficult.
In this article, we talked about 5 things to do to take the sting out and allow the process of healing to take place.
- Why Mothers Day Is Hard
- 5 Things To Do When Mothers Day Is Hard