When Mother’s Day isn’t all Sunshine and Roses

The avalanche of posts has started.  Really beautiful tributes from children to their mothers.  Moving stories from moms about the powerful ways that their children have changed their lives.  I love all these posts.  But a part of me notices that there is a piece missing.

There are so many women who are longing to be mothers–but they don’t have their children yet.  They are in the middle of a long and painful infertility struggle.  They are in the middle of a long and anxiety-filled adoption journey.  They are carrying the invisible heartbreak of miscarriage or stillbirth.

There are other mothers who are living through the isolation and pain caused by postpartum depression or anxiety, or other mental health struggles.  Mothers who love their children, but feel crushed by the weight of their sadness or their fear. Mothers who read the glowing words of others and wonder “what’s wrong with me?”

There are still other mothers who have lost their children to illness or accident.  Mothers whose grief is re-ignited by the absence of their kids.  Birthmothers, who because of their initial courage in giving their children loving families, may never receive Mother’s Day acknowledgement.

This post is dedicated to all those mothers and mothers-in-waiting whose hearts are broken this Mother’s Day.

If you know a mom who might be experiencing some of these challenges, I hope that you reach out to them.  Not sure what to say?  Here’s a few thoughts:

  • I was thinking about you and wondering if this weekend would be difficult.
  • Would you like to talk about it?
  • Would you like to do something special for you this weekend?
  • I wanted to let you know that you were in my thoughts as Mother’s Day approaches.

Maybe the most powerful thing that you can do is to just acknowledge that Mother’s Day will have an impact on them.  To know that it might be hard, that it might feel lonely.  It is best to ask how someone is feeling, rather than assume that you know.   If you are a mom in one of these situations, what words and actions would best support you this weekend?  If you know a mom–how do you plan to reach out?


Image Credit: Broken Heart by CarbonNYC via Flickr

14 thoughts on “When Mother’s Day isn’t all Sunshine and Roses

  1. Thank you so much for this post, Ann. I’ve been through Mother’s Day after a miscarriage, and it’s really, really difficult to see all of the Facebook updates and advertisements for the holiday. I also have a good friend whose young son just died of cancer a few weeks ago, and my heart is breaking for her especially as this holiday approaches. I always try to keep space in my heart for the folks who are struggling during this holiday, and I plan to reach out intentionally to a few friends for whom I know this day will be particularly difficult.

    1. Rachelle,

      I am so sorry to hear about your loss–and the loss of your friend. Both of you will remain in my thoughts this weekend. I love your plan to reach out to others. What a lovely way to turn your pain into compassion for those around you.


  2. Ann,
    Thank you for this. Another category is those who lost their mothers at an age so early, that they cannot remember their mother. They just know that their is a hole in their heart.

    1. Arlene,

      Thank you for that reminder. There are so many ways to feel loss. All of them deserve respect and recognition–maybe especially around holidays.


    1. Kathy,

      This post talks about issues that I’ve lived through, and I remember the isolation and loneliness that I felt. If this post lessens that isolation or loneliness for one person, I’ll celebrate.


    1. Thanks JoAnn,

      I agree with you–holidays of all stripes are tough. The expectation of celebration can be at odds with grief and loss.


  3. Having struggled through infertility through several Mother’s Days, I know how truly painful and isolating not being able to celebrate such an occasion despite longing to so badly. Thank you for this post.

    1. Ivy,

      Thank you so much for sharing this small piece of your story. I am so grateful that the post felt helpful to you. I hope that there are Mother’s Days filled with joy in our future.


  4. I really appreciate this lovely post. Especially the part about reaching out to those among us who are mourning losses as we near mothers day. It is hard to know what to say but I think that genuine caring is almost always good and appreciated. Thanks.

  5. Ann,
    Thanks for a very caring and compassionate post. A timely reminder of the pain we don’t see on days like Mother’s Day. This year I reached out to a young adult friend whose mother (my age) died suddenly two weeks ago. And I’ve had friends over the years who felt bitter and alone on Mother’s Day due to infertility.

Leave a Reply