Mother's Day & The "Non-Mother": A Guide

Monday, May 06, 2013

I know National Infertility Awareness Week is over, but with Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I really wanted to share this.


Mother's Day is a wonderful day; it's nice that we have a special day to honor mothers.

However, Mother's Day can be an extremely painful day of grief for some. There are mothers who have had to bury their children. Some mothers never got the chance to hold their little ones. There are mothers whose only children are in their hopes and their hearts. They are mothers, but to many in this world, they are not. They are forgotten. And on Mother's Day, they may want to do nothing more than curl up in bed with a bottle of wine and a box of Kleenex.

And you know what? That's okay.

If Mother's Day is hard for you:

  • It's okay if you don't feel like going to family celebrations, church, or other gatherings/events where there will be a celebration of mothers and/or lots of children. If it's too painful for you to go, don't. Don't let anyone (including yourself, because we're always our own harshest critic) make you feel guilty about it.
  • If you feel up to it, try to schedule something fun to do with your partner. Go see a movie, have a picnic, maybe plan a romantic weekend getaway. It's easier to not feel as down about it if you're too distracted to think about it.
  • I know it's hard, but if you feel up to it, maybe call a friend who is having a similarly rough time. It would probably do you good to hear a kind, understanding, supportive word, so someone in a similar situation could probably use one as well.
  • Take care of yourself. Schedule a massage, get a pedicure, do a little retail therapy -- whatever helps you relax and makes you feel better. If you see a therapist, maybe try to schedule a session for the Friday before or Monday after Mother's Day so you can discuss your feelings in a welcoming, non-judgmental setting.
But women who want and/or grieve for children they don't have aren't the only non-mothers affected by Mother's Day. There are women who choose not to have children as well. Unfortunately, the general consensus in our country for some reason seems to be that every woman wants kids, and that's definitely not the case. There's nothing wrong with a woman who doesn't want children. As a matter of fact, I really admire women who know they want a child-free life; it's so much better than a woman who never wanted children having a child she didn't want just to conform to societal norms, or pressure from a partner, or some other reason. A woman who doesn't want children isn't weird. She isn't cold-hearted. She isn't unkind. She just knows what direction she wants her life to take, and knows that it doesn't include children. Be respectful of that.

If are around a childless woman on Mother's Day:

  • For the love of Gumby, PLEASE do not ask when she's planning on having children. If she is dealing with loss of infertility, it could just be a painful reminder of what she doesn't have, and if she doesn't want children, it's just rude. Don't make any assumptions.
  • If for some reason the subject does come up, and a woman says she doesn't want children, don't tell her that she'll change her mind. Yes, there's a chance that she will, but it's just as likely (if not more so) that she won't. Saying that is disrespectful and condescending.
  • Please understand if a woman dealing with loss or infertility does not want to participate in Mother's Day activities. It can be extremely painful, so please be respectful of that. You'd understand those feelings if someone had lost their mother in the past year, so try to understand it for these women who want nothing more than to be a mother.
  •  Remember your friends dealing with pain on Mother's Day. Take the time to reach out to them and ask how they are; if they don't feel like talking about it, respect that, but they'll appreciate that you took the time to ask. If you pray, say a prayer for them.
  • On Mother's Day, the last thing someone in pain wants to hear about is what gift your children gave you. They aren't trying to be insensitive, it's just painful for them. 
These are just a few suggestions, but obviously every person is different and feels different, so what might help someone might not help someone else. Whether you are trying to be supportive on Mother's Day or someone who is grieving on Mother's Day, being honest about your feelings is the best policy. If you're hurting, say so. If you don't know what to say, say so. Honest conversation will be more beneficial to everyone involved.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this.
    Thank you for joining us at "Let's Get Social Sunday".
    Hugs,
    Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read it!

      Delete
  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I'm childless by choice and get so sick of people telling my I'm going to change my mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People can be really rude. What place is it of theirs to tell you that you're wrong about your own life and reproductive plans?!?

      Delete

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