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Sometimes Mother’s Day Hurts

I believe there is a way to honor mothers while being sensitive and loving to those who find this holiday hard.
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The beginning of May is filled with pastel hallmark cards lining the aisle at the supermarket, and beautiful flower arrangements and corsages greet customers as they walk through the automatic sliding doors.

Commercials urge us to remember the mothers this month through hilarious and tear–inducing scenes.

It all paints a heartwarming, sentimental, and lovely picture. The second Sunday in May is set aside each year to honor the women raising or raising children. 

And it’s beautiful.

But some women are crying in the store’s ice cream aisle and changing the channel when the commercials divert their eyes all month.

Some will make plans to stay home from church this Sunday to avoid restaurants and most public places where they will be sure to be cheerfully greeted with a “Happy Mother’s Day!” Because sometimes Mother’s Day hurts.

I know because, for years, I was one of them. I would hide under my covers just a few minutes longer, forcing myself to get out of bed and ready for church. I would hope that the sermon wouldn’t be entirely built on motherhood.

I would take an unnecessary bathroom break when the pastor would ask all the mothers in the room to stand so everyone could applaud, and I’d duck out early to avoid the chocolates or flowers being passed out after the service… just for mothers. I would go home and cry and hope that this would be the last year I ever felt so low on Mother’s Day.

I struggled with feelings of guilt and selfishness. I have a unique and beautiful mother and enjoy a great relationship with her. I had people to celebrate on this day, and I did. But it still hurt, and I learned that I was okay over time. It was okay to love and honor my mom while aching over what was lost.

It hurts for a woman who is single and longing for someone to build a family with. She feels unimportant, unappreciated, and less-than. She might know in her mind that the message isn’t intentional, but it doesn’t matter because her feelings don’t match.

It hurts for the couples who have been aching for a baby for years. Who has been through the wringer with fertility testing and treatments and can’t figure out why it seems so easy for others and yet just won’t happen for them?

It hurts to be reminded that you can’t do something that comes so naturally to others, and it hurts to have a giant annual celebration for something that is causing so much heartbreak in your own life.

It hurts for the woman who is in the process of adopting, but while pregnant mothers are honored and recognized, she is not. Sometimes, the world doesn’t know what to do with adoption, so after the church service, when all the pregnant women are given flowers, she is passed over. It hurts to feel viewed as second-rate, and she wonders if her family will be viewed that way once their child comes home.

It hurts for the foster parents and adoptive who are protecting little hearts on this complicated day. They are responsible for helping their children navigate confusing feelings about family and motherhood, who to celebrate, and how and why. All while wishing life could be a little simpler for everyone – just for a day – but also recognizing the great honor it is to be the one to sit in the hard with these precious children.

It hurts for the mom whose teenager is heading down a dark and dangerous path, and while she has tried everything in her power to “save” her child from the pain that road brings, nothing has changed. She sat and wondered what she did wrong, even knowing that sometimes you can do everything right and things still go wrong.

It hurts for the mother grieving the loss of a child (or children) as she is reminded that this year and every year, her child will not pad down the hall with a homemade card and burnt toast. The pain is unimaginable, but everyone else seems so happy … how is that possible?

It hurts for the woman who has a strained relationship with her own mother and wishes the day could be filled with brunch, long talks, and laughter. But instead, she goes over the last phone call, the cold goodbye, and the deafening silence since. She wonders what life would be like if that relationship was different and tries not to focus on the “what ifs.”

It hurts for anyone whose mother has passed away—a lifetime of love and nurturing poured out and then gone. And even if the memories are reasonable, it still stings to know you can’t just pick up the phone and say, “I love you” one more time.

Mother’s Day can hurt. It can also be a beautiful time of joy.

I believe there is a way to honor mothers while being sensitive and loving to those who find this holiday hard

We can reach out to those we think the day might be hard.

We can send a card, text, or email to let them know we’re thinking of them. However, we can’t take the hurt away, nor should we try.

But we can tell them they aren’t forgotten, loved, or necessary.

We can show that we won’t let the hurt scare us away or silence us.

This Sunday, in our celebration, let’s be sure to love all the people in our lives well.

Avatar of Lauren Casper

Lauren Casper

Lauren’s essays, known for their vulnerability and personal story-telling style, have appeared on The Huffington Post, the TODAY show, Dailymail, Yahoo! News, and several other publications

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