Happy Mother's Day...or Is It?
Mother's Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Moms and all the love they have poured out and the sacrifices they have made for us. It's a day to honor and thank them for helping us grow into productive, healthy adults. If you're a Mom, then it will likely be a day to bask in special attention from your loved ones. At least this is the way it's supposed to be...or we imagine it to be...
For many, Mother's Day can be a day that serves as a reminder of grief, emptiness, loneliness and disappointment.
Are you discouraged this Mother's Day because...
- your adult children don't call or visit as often as you wish they would?
- your Mom lives far away this year?
- your Mom passed away?
- your relationship with your Mom is strained?
- you didn't have the Mom you needed when you were a child?
- you don't have children of your own or had a miscarriage?
- you gave up children for adoption or had an abortion?
- your teen or adult children aren't leading the kind of life you hoped for?
- your child is struggling with a chronic illness or disability?
Sheila went to church last year on Mother's Day and was totally caught off guard by a special video showing children telling how wonderful their mother's were and how much they loved their mothers. She thought she had made peace with her mother, but cried the rest of the day grieving the relationship they never had.
Betty and her husband have not been able to have children. Each Mother's Day is a reminder of another year of an empty cradle.
Chris stopped at the pharmacy several times in the last few weeks to get a card for his Mom, but felt angry when the messages on the cards didn't fit his relationship with his Mom, but described the relationship he wished they had. Finally, he gave up and now he feels like a failure for not sending a card...again.
Bill notices that he and his wife, Ginger, tend to have an argument every Mother's Day that puts tension between them even while their children bring flowers and cards to their Mom. Bill wonders if his wife is still upset about the abortion they had a few years ago. Is she holding it against me?
Jean feels like such a failure as a mother. "How many mistakes I made with my kids that now affect my grandchildren. If only I had known then what I know now..."
If Mother's Day leaves you feeling sad, upset, depressed or empty, what can you do?
- Recognize the difficult feelings may be related to grief. Unresolved grief can easily be triggered at holidays and other occasions. Consider if you are willing to talk to a friend or family member about your feelings. Simply telling someone who listens compassionately without judgement can help relieve the burden. If that is not enough, a counselor can help you find peace and hope to get to the other side of the pain.
- Spend time with supportive, nurturing people who care about you. Make plans beforehand to do things that are fun with people you enjoy. Even if you must endure some time with family where relationships are strained, make sure to balance it out with other activities that refresh you.
- Pay attention to your thoughts. Don't let negative thoughts fester beneath the surface. Take charge of your thinking. Consider the positive things you have in your life or that your mother brought into your life.
- Is there a need for forgiveness? One of the most common things I do with people in the counseling office is help them through the process of forgiveness, so they can release the pain of past neglect and offenses. Is bitterness or resentment poisoning your heart? It is likely time for forgiveness.
As a counselor, I specialize in helping people recovery from grief and process painful life events, regrets and memories so that the pain is neutralized and those areas of life can be restored to hope, freedom and joy.
Give me a call at (805) 242-3569 or Email me to schedule a free consultation about how we can work together to reduce the pain.