Irene Summers Temple
Mother’s Day Meditations
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Mother’s Day was last Sunday and I’ve had some time to reflect on my experiences over the last 6 years and on the experiences of the mothers in my life. This is supposed to be a day of celebration of all things mom, but for many women Mother’s Day is bitter sweet. We understand the theoretical happiness of Mother’s Day, but often anger and sadness overshadow this day.
Here are some of the reasons why Mother’s Day isn’t always a great day for everyone.
Some mom’s suck - Not everyone was blessed with a devoted, compassionate, nurturing mother. Many women have unhealed mother-wounds. If their mother is still alive, they likely interact with their mother periodically and Mother’s Day can feel like an exposed nerve.
Grief (1) - Most women are never ready for their mothers to die. When they do, it can leave a void that will always remain. This a grief that can exist for the rest of her life. Other women find that they are grieving the mother they never had. There is anger, sadness, resentment, and love. This combination can be confusing and conflicting, but nevertheless it all exists within the same person. Disenfranchised grief is a grief that others do not recognize. Many women experience a grief for their mothers that most people will never understand.
Grief (2) - About 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. It is impossible to find a woman who is not close to another woman who has experienced a miscarriage. 1% of births are stillborn and the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is 6 deaths in every 1000 live births. With these statistics in mind, it important to remember that grieving mothers are around us every day. They are experiencing memorials, anniversaries, and birthdays often in silence. You can see how Mother’s Day could be a painful reminder.
Motherhood can suck - being a mother can be awful. We often hear amazing granola stories about intervention-free childbirths, enough breast milk to feed a nation, homemade baby foods, love at first site, and securely attached parent-child relationships. That’s all well and good, but motherhood is also growing mindlessly accustomed to sleeping in 2-hour stints, going out in public just to realize you haven’t groomed yourself in 2 days, it taking 3 days to watch 1 episode of How to Get Away with Murder, and no longer possessing your own body or any sense of privacy.
These are just some of the reasons why some women don’t have a happy Mother’s Day. Be mindful when you ask a woman, “How was your Mother’s Day?!?” Don’t ask that question if you don’t really want the answer. Believe me, if someone hates Mother’s Day, like many women do, they likely will not be upset that you didn’t ask.
Ask these questions without judgement and allowing for a negative response.
If you care enough to have the conversation, you can try asking, “Do you celebrate Mother’s Day?” And if they do, then you can ask, “How was it?” Ask these questions without judgement and allowing for a negative response. This will show that you honestly care about their experience, not just your own.
Irene Summers Temple, PhD is a licensed Counseling Psychologist in private practice at Irene Summers Temple, PhD LLC in Rapid City, SD. She specializes in multicultural counseling, coaching, and consultation, serving helping professionals, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ individuals, fostering mental wellness and identity development.