Mother’s Day is a day to honour the mother or mother figure in the family. To celebrate motherhood, maternal bonds and family connections often bestowing flowers, chocolates and homemade gifts as we give thanks to these special ladies in our lives. However, Mother’s Day can be a vastly different experience for different people, highlighting how sometimes we may need to take a mindful approach to Mother’s Day.
For some, it is the joyous occasion that the window displays, racks of cards, advertising, and social media content portray, but for others not so much. The experience of being a mother, the path to becoming a mother, and the unique way that some people relate to their own mothers – these things are often complex and challenging.
Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of a journey with infertility, the loss of a child (born or unborn) or the mother. It can also highlight strained fractured relationships. For these people, Mother’s Day can bring up bittersweet (or simply just bitter) emotions of grief, loss, emptiness, and longing. This is where a mindful approach to Mother’s Day can help cultivate feelings of love and support for those experiencing grief on this day.
It can often feel easier to stay silent on Mother’s Day, especially if we do not know what to say. We, humans, can travel into the vastness of space and explore the depths of the oceans, but we often struggle to understand grief, unsure if our words or support will be welcome or well-received.
If you are wanting to support a friend or loved one this Mother’s Day but you are a little unsure about where to start, you are not alone. It can be difficult, depending on the circumstances and depending on the stage of grief. We have put together some simple approaches for you to show mindful support this Mother’s Day.
Be present when your friends are feeling alone, be there for them, let them know you are thinking of them and acknowledge their grief. If you are away, check in anyway by picking up the phone.
Ask if they want to talk
A simple, but strong question is ‘do you want to talk?’ allowing your loved ones to express as much or as little as they wish. If it feels right, ask ‘tell me about them’ is a wonderful way to let your friends keep their loved one’s memory alive. If talking about the day is too much, say hi and have a good old catch-up about what is happening in both of your lives.
Really listen, let them cry, let them laugh, let go of you and know you do not need to heal or fix them, they need you there, give them your time and be present for them.
Acknowledge their grief
Recognising the pain of grief does not make that grief any harder. Recognising helps you connect with each other. You can say things such as:
- “I know today brings up mixed emotions for you, but I want to remind you that I love you always”
- “I’ve been thinking about you—sending you my love”
- “I know Mother’s Day may be hard for you, and you may not want to talk about it, but I am here if you do”
And if you don’t know what to say, be honest and explain that, but let them know you wanted to reach out and support them all the same.
Say the loved one’s name
If someone is grieving a loss, you may be wary of speaking the child or mother’s name for fear of upset. In truth, speaking loved ones by name can bring solace to the individual knowing that people still remember them.
Send them something
It does not have to be a grand gesture – a special note or a card to let them know you are thinking of them on this day. You could send something special and unique to them like a favourite chocolate bar or bath soak.
Bringing a mindful approach to Mother’s Day can help with how we relate and connect with each other. The gift of presence to our loved ones not only cultivates an openness for them to respond to you, but you will also find it benefits you too.
If you or someone you know, is struggling with low mood, did you know there’s a wealth of services ready to help, such as the wellbeing centres located across East Sussex and low cost or free counselling services? For a full list, please visit our East Sussex mental health directory.