Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day: Easy or Queasy?

Mother's Day is a holiday that is marked world-wide. Countries such as the United States, Canada, The UK, Australia, China and Japan, just to name a few, highlight the day on their 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 is a day of celebration, of expressing one's love and appreciation for a mothering figure. The day is met with happiness and the sharing of joyous memories of times past and the anticipation of good times to come.

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 be felt by those who've never had a good relationship a mother.

In my work, anniversary dates or holidays can be especially difficult for anyone who's 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 evoke the most profound emotional responses.

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


CrackerLilo said...

It's another unwelcome reminder that I *can't* join those ranks, at least "naturally." As you saw in my blog, that's one of the real true heartbreaks of my life.

At the same time, focusing on the women I know who are mothers and wishing them happiness has made me feel much better, even as I put smiles on their faces. Isn't it weird (and cool) how that works?!

Ms.L said...

Thank you very much for that!

You can sure bet that I'm going to be enjoying the attentions and love of my own kids and husband and honouring my mother in law,a wonderful mum I look up to and love dearly.
I am the mother I never had,to myself and my kids:)

Miranda said...

Very good post. I find since the split up, Mothers day has been extremely had on me. Last year being the worst. I was lucky I got a happy mothers day. The eldest really couldnt say she forgot (as she was working at Hallmark). The youngest, was busy with a dance comptetion, claimed she didnt have time.
I never expect much for mothers day. What I'd like is a 'happy mothers day' and maybe they can do some chores without me nagging them.
I just pray that one day they will realize, Im not so bad. lol

Im not sure if you are a mother or not so 'Happy mothers day to you!' anyway.

Raine said...

Hmmmmm I not sure if you are a mother yourself but even if you arent, you are a therapist and I would think that qualifies you as a nurturer so Happy Mother's Day to YOU!!!

Ian Lidster said...

I'm afraid I have to join crackelilo's sentiments in regards to this day, much to my regret, too, Deb. And in that I have to commend you for putting the matter into an all-inclusive perspective. And, I too extend my love and wishes to all the wonderful mothers I have known and continue to know. I was just one of the kind of 'unlucky' ones in my personal experience as a kid in the universe.

healthpsych said...

My daughter came to me just when we had been told we wouldn't be able to have children and so I really empathise with those for whom this day drives home the heartache of childlessness. What having a child has done has also made me re-evaluate my relationship with my own mother (which has been quite torturous at times). It would be simplistic to say that having a different perspective has resolved all the issues but it has at least given me a greater understanding of how hard motherhood can be at times and to treasure my mother for the good that she has done rather than simply focus on the negative aspects of our relationship.
I'm ambivalent about the need for a special day though. In my mind, we should be treasuring our friends, family and community every day.

Michelle said...

Where would the world be without our mommies? You and your blog visitors have to stop by my blog and post some of your best travel tales. Come on Doc, take my U Trippin' challenge to celebrate the release of my new book! Fabulous prizes can be yours! HEE!!!! Have a great weekend and fabu Mother's Day.

Have a great mother's day!

Fallen Angels said...

I am one of those that has a bad time on Mother's day. After reading JIP's blog this morning I made a decision about the day wchich I commented about there. I will post a blog about it on my own.


Anonymous said...

I told my therapist that Mother's Day has always been hard for me because of my relationship with my mother. She replied "Mother's Day is also about YOU and your children." Maybe someday it will be however now, I never think of myself when it's Mother's Day. It's still about my mom. I have a mix of anger and sadness about it this year. *sigh*

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Lilo,
I love that you can celebrate with others, and it is not weird that you smile when you celebrate another. You celebrate yourself when you do that.

Dear Ms. L.
I *love* that you are the mother you never had to yourself. That sentence always makes me feel so good!!. I, too, am the mother to myself I never had.

Dear Miranda,
I am a Mom, my little baby will soon be 13. Hard to believe. Not a baby anymore, for sure. It is hard when after a split these holidays come around. But you seem to have a really good outlook.

Dear Raine,
I like to think I've been a mom even before I had children. I think it is very important for each of us to be a Good Mother to ourselves. So, I wish you a good Mom's day too :)

Dear Ian,
Holidays are often very tough for many people. The media sometimes colors it rosey with flowers, candy and warm family gatherings. But for some, it is not that way at all. I think it is important to realize that there is a spectrum of emotions when holidays come knocking on the calendar door.

Dear Healthpsych,
I'm with you on the "day" thing. We should honor each other everyday. And with regard to being a parent, experience so often helps us to know more. I guess that could be said of any experience, right?

Dear Michelle,
I am still waiting for my book to come from Amazon! I will visit now! But sadly, I have no trips planned.

Dear Fallen,
I hear you. I will visit JIP and you now.

Dear Traci,
I really like your therapist. Sounds like she really supports and empowers you. BUT, it is hard to acknowledge all of those emotions. Especially with all that you have recently gone through!


Fallen Angels said...

Hey are too fast lol!! The post is up now and I also replied to your comment to Jesse's post.


east village idiot said...

I've really enjoy mother's day ever since I became a mom. It means a lot to me because I had such a shakey start (post partum depression).

Yesterday I had to rent a car in NYC. The place was PACKED with cars. The National Car Rental guy said "they send an overload of cars for the upcoming Mother's Day." Then he laughed and said "On Father's Day they don't send anything extra!".

Interesting, huh?

Nancy said...

you are so right when you say its a tough holiday, because everyone has a mother and everyone has good or bad experiences. My mother passed, 4 years ago. we once had a friend relationship but a "self-fish" sibling put a wedge between me and my mother. We sort of made peace before she passed but it was not the same. The hurt is still raw. Now the "alcholic selfish sister" want to act like my mother and do thing that my mother did, like send cards on BD's and call once a week. I can not stand it. But it is not worth my efforts and emotions to react to her. i let her call and 1/2 listen, because life is to short. I read a book, The Four Agreements" by Miguel Ruiz and it really put my anger at bay. Agreement #2 "Is Dont't Take Anything Personally" and that is the one agreement that has helped me the most through my rough times.
Instead of dreading Mothers Day maybe people will consider to "Become a Bone Marrow Donor" in honor of Mother Day.

Google Bone Marrow Donor and find an center in your area. I did it a few months ago and It made me proud of my self. If I could help save one person, I would be honored.
Happy MD to all

Sunnie Dee said...

For me mother's day just falls in the basket of "holidays and special days best ignored" I don't celebrate my birthday, christmas, easter, mothers or fathers day. Until I changed jobs I always offered to work on those days so people who wanted to celebrate could plus it kept my mind of all the stupid thoughts that make feel bad.

Wanda's Wings said...

Thanks for sharing. For many years I felt guilty about seaching for a Mother Card that didn't say I love you. I was not what I felt. It good to know we don't have to feel a certain way

Moof said...

First of all - a happy Mother's day to all of the Moms!

My own Mom has been gone since 1997, but I still have my mother-in-law, who is now 83, and has become one of my dearest friends.

I feel very lucky to have her. I hope I'll be able to continue saying that for years to come.

How sad it is to no longer have any parents. You can feel like an orphan no matter how old you are ...

Beth said...

In the Uk, we celebrate mothers day in March, so its been and gone for me. I feel similarly to Traci, my relationship with my mother makes it hard to be one of those special days. I buy the card, the gift, but its almost robotic, not much thought goes into it. I know she did the best she could, but looking at my friends and their mothers I feel like I've been denied what should be a very significant relationship. And thats hard to forgive.

Precisiongirl said...

I always assumed that our Mother's Day is everyone else's Mother's Day.


Ours was 28th March.

Chris S. said...

We were one of the millions of infertile couples and the agony I felt on Mother's Day those many years was awful. I had a wonderful Mom and celebrated her on those days but such a huge part of my life was missing. We finally adopted our son and I began to truly celebrate Mothers Day that year. I only had 2 more Mother's Days from then till I lost my own Mom-a few weeks after my second son was born. I now have 3 terrific son's but on Mother's Day I still take a minute to think about all the women that have an enormous longing to be Mom's, and I also say a little thank you to our oldest son's birth Mom-I can't even imagine her thoughts that day. I just pray that she is at peace somehow knowing how wonderful he is and that there are not words to thank her for helping me become the Mom I always dreamed I would be.

Dreaming again said...

This year is strange for me. I've been sad for the last several. My step mother has been mentally ill ... and divorced my dad 16 years ago longer having her as my second mother has been hard.
Probably always will be. (she is still a friend, but because of the schizophrenia, she'll never be able to be that mother figure again)

My family has never done a good job of mothers day with me (but I've got a sneaking feeling that might be changing ..trying to not get my hopes up)

This year, I'm wondering with my mom ... things have changed so much with her cognitive functioning ... and her health, how many more mother's days do we have? I'm trying to find a way to celebrate it with her and not be overwhelmed by that feeling. Hopefully tomorrow's 'Red Hat Lady' theme at church (which my mother is a member of) will help me to really celebrate it with her.

Dreaming again said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Fallen,
Yup, I am fast, and follow through with my promises!

Dear EVI,
That is the best mother's day story! I told my hubby and he lol about the car thing for Father's day. So glad you can enjoy Mother's Day. PPD is such a rough thing to go through. :)

Dear Nancy,
What a great idea to become a donor. I will check out that site. Giving life to those who are ill is the greatest gift of all.

Dear Sonnie,
I hear you. Being in my line of work I know that holidays often are not easy for many people. You seemed to have found a way to keep yourself busy. Distraction is a very good healer.

Dear Wanda,
Your comment made me feel really good about doing this post. I do want people to realize that ANY feeling is an okay thing during holiday times.

Dear Moof,
I remember my Dad saying a long time ago that he felt like an orphan when his parents died. I was a toung girl at the time...and didn't understand what that meant. I do now. You are so lucky to be able to call your m-i-l a friend. Not many can do that. :)

Dear Beth,
Mother's Day is different on the calander across countries, but it surely evokes both good and bad feelings on that day. I know that it is hard to not feel denied. You were, in fact. And it is hard to forgive, I know. Acceptance can sometimes be healing too. Sounds like you accept your Mom's limitations but acknowledge that you deserve(d) more. I like that.

Dear Precsion Girl,
Nah, that's not weird.

Dear Chris,
What a beautifully moving post. I am sure your mom knows all that you are thinking and feeling and that she is a peace.

Dear Dreaming,
I do hope that you have a good mother's day this year. I hope your intuition is right. So hard when mental illness takes the heart and soul of a loved one away.


Belizegial said...

Dr. Deb, good afternoon.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all mothers through your blog.

Although 'letting go' of one's children is hard to do, it is as necessary to them as the air that they breathe. Letting go means that you trust them enough to do the right thing and to be independent thinkers.

To all you hardworking Moms, have a great Mother's day and be nice to yourselves.~~Saludos

Rose said...

I try to remember that I have a mother and a good relationship with her. So I try to work out any differences that we may have. For my friends and others I try to acknowledge them because I know that this may be a difficult time for them. Sometimes we cqan forget how blessed we are to still have our mothers and often may take advantage of that blessing.

astrorat said...

happy mothers day Deb...

your post touched my deep inside...

Cathy said...

Wow; thanks for this, Dr. Deb.
First, Happy Mother's Day to you!

I am thrilled to celebrate this day with my two sons and loving husband, but I hate this day as a day to celebrate my mother because I have such a strained and odd relationship with her; how am supposed to feel about a woman who never hugged me, told me she loved me, kissed me or played with me, never went to events at my school or nurtured me in a loving and motherly way? My sister has accepted her for who she is and they have a decent relationship; I can not feel warm and loving towards her. I gave her a card and a phone call this morning, but she was brusque and cool towards me; I didn't do enough; my sister took her to dinner and shopping last night. But last week my mother told me she wanted nothing and didn't even want to celebrate Mother's Day; that she was too old for that; she does and says this kind of thing a lot and we usually ignore her and make a fuss anyway. This time I didn't and she let me know that she is annoyed. Why should I make a fuss over her now when she never did when I was a child?

Nancy said...

Happy Mother's Day to you Deb!


SkyeBlue2U said...

I didn't know any of that thank you. Have a wonderful Sunday. :)

Heidi said...

Happy Mothers Day Deb..Hope your having a wonderful day. :)

dragonflyfilly said...

yeah, when i worked at Aurora or the Shelter, mother's day was particularly stressful, as some of the older women have no contact with their adult children, and young mother's have children in foster care, and then the young mother's who have children in the shelter kind of walk around feeling guilty because they do have their children (and the other women try to glom on to the children)...the one day that i really do not like being at work

...well, today i do not have that worry...i'm going to be at a Technical Rehersal for MIKADO, then later my girl may drop by after she is done with work, and we are going to make dinner and watch is a lovely sunny day in Vancouver...and yesterday i met the most georgeous Dr. at the Arthritis Society Annual General Meeting and Conference...a most clever, charming and engaging man...actually the new Executive Director of the Society...and we shared a table for the buffet lunch and i am feeling the after glow of his magnetic personality...we may never meet again...but my life is enhanced by this brief contact...also one of the workshops i signed up for was Laughter was wonderful...i'm having a good mother's day weekend!

dragonflyfilly said...

p.s. have to say know, any day can be awful if we choose to make it so.

on Valentine's day i do not have a lover who brings me flowers and chocolates.

at Christmas i am not always with my mother and sister (and last Christmas i spent the day chauffeuring my daughter around).

then there is Thanksgiving, which my family do not even recognize...

oh and what about father's day, i have not been able to give my father a paper card since i was 10 years old, (actually in the past 10 years i have adopted the practice of sending my mom a card, as she was both my mom and dad!)...

..i have also never had a real grand mother or father in my life...(i could list a hundred things in my life that i could be miserable about if i chose to be)

...the list goes on, there will always be a reason to be miserable, but the choice is ours...come on people...celebrate the good things that you DO have in your lives, (maybe visit an old folks home and adopt a grandmother? - i bet there are hundreds of old mother's sitting neglected in hospital/retirement home corridors...if you don't have a mother adopt one, if you don't have a daughter, check out Big Sisters...i believe in being pro-active...if you don't like the way something is, try to fix it!

love and light to you all!
and in the words of the Buddah, "May all beings be happy"

A Flowered Purse said...

Hope you have a wonderful mothers Day!
I don't know if you are a mom or not, but all women deserve a happy mothers day!!!
Have a wonderful week

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Belizegial,
Good avice.

Dear Rose,
It sounds to me like you are very sensitive to those around you. They are lucky to have you in their lives.

Dear Astro,
Your comment moved me!

Dear Cathy,
It is so wonderful that you can have a Mother's Day with your immediate family. I do agree that there is a no win with your mother. Why SHOULD you do for her! And that she doesn't appreciate whatver you do offer, is not pleasant at all.

Dear Nancy,
To you as well. Hope GOM and the girls celebrate everything that is YOU!

Dear Skye,
Hope you have a good rest of the weekend :)

Dear Heidi,
Thanks for your well wishes. How did your birthday go?

Dear Dragonfly,
You raise a lot of good points in your comments. We CAN make any day good or bad, that is true. Here's hoping that all of us have more good days than bad.


Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Dianna,
I am a Mom, and I wish you a great Mother's Day too.


Stacy-Deanne said...

This was a very sensitive and compassionate post, Dr. Deb. I actually felt weird about saying Happy Mother's Day to people because I wasn't sure how their situations were with their moms. Some people have lost mothers as you said and others aren't close to theirs for different reasons. So I just didn't say anything. I'd rather not offend even by accident. I only said it to folks who said it to me. I think it's important that we remember everything isn't rosey in others' lives. To me, this is a wonderful day because I still have my mother. If I didn't, I may not feel so great about it. It's also my mom's birthday by the way. Also, some people who have lost their mothers say it doesn't bother them. But we also have to be considerate to folks who probably don't agree with the day. People are different and we must respect that. I try to. Boy have I missed you! Got some big news so head over to my blog if you can and check it out.

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day Deb. Thank you for making a difference in so many lives. My best to you and yours. Peace.

Shirazi said...

Happy Mothers' Day Dr. Deb. Nice post.

jumpinginpuddles said...

thanks for more confirmation what we blogged about wasnt stupid at all :)

phred said...

Very good post.
For those that have lost someone..I offer this.
( borrowed from tsduff ).

This poem is posted on a plaque at the site of the Murrah Federal Office Building memorial in Oklahoma City.

And God Said

I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know".
I said, "God, I cry a lot." And God said, "That is why I gave you tears."
I said, "God, I am so depressed." And God said, "That is why I gave you sunshine."
I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That is why I gave you loved ones."
I said, "God, my loved one died." And God said, "So did mine."
I said, "God, it is such a loss." And God said, "I saw mine nailed to a cross."
I said, "God, but your loved one lives." And God said, "So does yours."
I said, "God, where are they now?" And God said, "Mine sits on my right hand and yours is in the light."
I said, "God, it hurts." And God said, "I know."

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Stacy,
How wonderful that Mother's Day this year fell on your mom's birthday!

Dear Traci,
I send the same senitments to you.

Dear Shirazi,
Many thanks :)

Dear JIP,
Nope, your post made alot of sense to me!

Dear Phred,
I had no idea that this was outside the Murrah building in Oklahmoma. It is beautiful, and what a fitting tribute to all those who persihed and were hurt there.


neuroticillinifan said...

For several years as I yearned to become a mother and yet failed, Mother's Day was a heartbreaker for me. I often skipped church on that day to avoid the cheerful Mother's Day greetings others received. One year we made the mistake of going out to eat on Mother's Day (I believe I had chosen not to remember that it was Mother's Day, or I wouldn't have gone out to eat). The hostess greeted me with a carnation and wished me a Happy Mother's Day. I pasted on the best fake smile I could, and with broken heart choked down my meal.

Fortunately, through adoption, God gave me a son seven years ago. Yesterday, he gave me not one, but two, handmade cards. They are by far the most beautiful cards anyone has ever given me for any occasion. They were covered with his love.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Neuroticillinifan,
What a beautiful expression of love you received from your son. How wonderful. It is true many people do not realize that their wish of Happy Mother's Day could cause heartache in another. They just don't know....but you were kind not to make the hostess feel bad.


Wendy C. said...

Paging Dr. Deb:

I hope you dont mind me posting a request here in your comments section. You may have already addressed this issue in past posts and I just didn't find it. If it happens to come up, I was wondering what treatment you might give the issue of prescription pain medicine addiction...the accidental sort, that might start with something innocent like a minor back injury...I have talked with so many people (including my Mom) who have been blindsided by their pain meds - I feel I am at risk too (if I wasn't such a control freak I just may have been snared...happened a few years ago right after my Dad died, and that pain medicine helped take away all kinds of pain for sure!) anyway - if it happens to come up...

Angel Chasse said...

Hey Dr Deb :)

I wasn't going to post on this topic, but I thought that maybe someone felt like me, and felt badly about their feelings. I know that I sure feel that way. I love my mom, A TON, and I love to celebrate her. I do something every year.

I also feel weepy and sad when I am alone on mother's day, because I want to be a parent myself, and for various reasons it has not happened yet, and who knows if it will happen. I often feel very guilty for the feelings that I have. I try not to live my life as a jealous or spiteful person, and I am overjoyed when other people get the great news that they are expecting. So when these moments happen that make me feel sad and angry... I usually end up feeling guilty. Thank you for making this post, and I hope that anyone who reads this post by me doesn't get the wrong idea about what kind of person I am.

Angel (again)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Wendy,
One of the issues that I am not specifically trained in is addiction - and I often refer cases to other colleagues who have a specialty in it. The best I could do is to tell you to find an addiction specialist who understands pain meds and the grip they can take on a person. It is often something that sneaks up on you, just as you said.

Dear Angel,
So many feeling arise during Mother's day, and I wanted to highlight them. Often, people think that everyone out there is celebrating....well, we know that is not the case. Many are feeling a variety of emotions. And I wanted to get that out there. You and Jim will make great parents one day. Till then, give yourself permission to feel whatever you feel without beating yourself up about it.


annabelle said...

It helps so much to have someone acknowledge the angst behind my "mother's day meltdown". Thanks for continuing to share great resources, words that enlighten my mind and comfort my soul.