Saturday, May 07, 2011

Two Takes on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a holiday that is marked world-wide. Countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, China and Japan, just to name a few, give moms a special day shout-out on the yearly calendar.

Historically, Mother's Day has been a day where children and other family members honor mothers or individuals who are nurturing and caretaking in maternal ways. For some, it's a day of celebration, of expressing one's love and appreciation for a mothering figure. The day is met with happiness and a full heart.

However, for others, Mother's Day is not so easy. It can bring forth sadness, loss and yearning if one's mother has died. Or if a mother has lost a child, it can become an excruciating day filled with grief. Anger and resentment can give way if a person has not had a good relationship with his or her mother. There are many more examples....too many to list in this post.

In my work, landmark days, anniversary dates or holidays of any kind can be especially difficult for anyone who has experienced loss, death or the recognition of toxicity in a relationship. Of all the days in the calendar year, Mother's Day and Father's Day can evoke the most profound emotional responses.

To those of you who struggle with this day, know that you're not alone. Give yourself permission to feel and think whatever may come from within. It's important for your to mother yourself.


References:
Hinton, C. (2004). Silent grief. Portland: New Leaf Press.
Pollock, G. H. (1970). Anniversary reactions, trauma, and mourning. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 39: 347-371.


11 comments:

Wanda's Wings said...

My mother really did not want us. So mother day really hurts. I so miss my wonderful son Chris and my daughter Alice is so far away. I will be spending Mother's Day with some members at the church so I won't be alone. My heart is breaking while I type this. Thank you for checking in on me. Wanda

Xmichra said...

Mother's day had set a divide in my family in previous years (long story) so this year I am spending it with my two girls and my husband only. Some people like to interject and tell me how selfish and terrible I am, but I know what I am doing is better for my mental health and for my mother and marks mother in the long run. I will have effectively not chosen sides, and chosen myself. Sometimes you just have too.

~Just me again~ said...

I have to admit I used to dread mother's day. Last year was the first year that it was really good.

This year, sadly, Linz is living out too far away. But I do get to spend it with Kat and her step children. So...lol I guess it's kind of like going with 'grandchildren'

CrackerLilo said...

Thank you. I have (as you may have seen) such a conflicted relationship with my mother--she worked hard to provide us what we needed for a good life, but had very few emotional tools at her disposal. She is critical, judgemental, and harsh. I work very hard not to turn 13 all over again when I communicate with her. I saw something about "Mother's Day cocktails" yesterday and joked about how I'll need one to call her tomorrow. I'm glad I have the excuse of being out of state to not see her, and plan on having "one of the cats get into something" if the conversation goes places I don't want it to.

Even worse, my wife doesn't talk with her mother at all--ever--because she turned a blind eye to her father's physical abuse. So all the ads and iconography around that day bother her, too. As far as she's concerned, it's a day to teach a couple gym classes for people who are observing Mother's Day followed by a Wings game that night.

Jamie said...

Thanks for the reminder to care for those in need on Mother's Day.

Sarebear said...

I hated my mom growing up and in my teen years she reinforced this by hitting me 'round the head, face, and shoulders. Never QUITE hard enough to bruise, so no proof.

In the last 15 years, I've gotten over some of it, not all of it, and realized that she's changed ALOT. Because she has, she's no longer the person who beat me.

Once I got married, and especially after having a child, Mother's Day became less emotionally loaded for me; less negative, more positive.

dawn said...

mothers day makes me bitter and I hate feeling this way. And not because I don't think everyone else should enjoy this day, but because it's unfortunate that I am forced to be thankful to someone I don't belive deserves thanks. Just because she gave birth to me doesn't mean she is a mother. Just my opinion...

Lois said...

Mother's day for me is really a special day. You don't just greet your mother "Happy Mother's Day" but you get them to feel loved more than any other day in the year. As for my case, I am very close to my mom so it's really a time for us to share things together happily by going out on a "mother-daughter date" thing. I'm really glad that people appreciate having mothers who are very doting and caring!

Dr. Deb said...

This is a very difficult subject for some of you. I can understand the double edged sword. For those of you who can "celebrate", it is a good and wonderful thing.

Battle Weary said...

I've finally come to a place where I can say that my mother is who she is, will never change, will never be that "mom" I needed her to be, and I accept those facts. I placed the obligatory phone call on Mother's Day and was not reduced to tears afterward. I then went ahead and had a good cry for the person who really was that "mom" but passed away before I realized the extent of the relationship (I was 6 months - 3 1/2 years old when she was "mom").

It wasn't a "great Mother's Day, but it wasn't one that triggered huge issues to bring up in therapy, either!

Dr. Deb said...

Battle Weary,
Wow, you've done a lot of work on this. It shows.