Dreading Mother's Day
Mother's Day is, and always has been, a very tough day. It is my second hardest day of the year. Christmas takes top prize, for similar reasons just amplified by the even more insane commercialisation and social norms.
For me it is the leading up to Mother's Day which is worse than the actual day. The questions around it, the messaging everywhere...the knowing of what is to come in terms of emotional pain. Like seeing the waves rolling in and just knowing they are going to engulf me.
I have previously written a blog before called 'Motherhood Without My Mother'. I wrote this back in 2017 which feels like a lifetime ago now. It is worth a read for new followers. In short, I had a very hard, complicated relationship with my mother but she chose not to be involved in the lives of my older boys. Through the period of 2016-2017 I went through an emotional boundary process (with support from my therapist) where I fully separated from my parents, until which time they were safe for me and my boys to engage with. So far this has not happened, and most likely will not ever happen. This meant that my mother never knew about my second miscarriage. Never knew I was pregnant with Ray or that he was born.
Ray's Birth & Deep Grief
I have never really talked about the early days with Ray and the deep, contrasting grief that I was also thrust into simultaneously. This grief came from the finality of him being my last baby.
I would never have my mother at a birth. Never see her hold my sons. Never have her love, care and support during this incredibly vulnerable, life changing time.
The never part of it was absolutely crushing.
Also knowing the unfairness of why this was the case. That it was because I ultimately chose the needs of my boys and mine over any possibility of small pockets of involvement.
A choice no child should ever have to make.
All the while knowing the help, support and care other mothers receive.
I say this grief was contrasting because I also experienced many positive emotions with his arrival. I had wanted a third baby for a long time, experienced the loss of a baby (my second loss) and concieved him naturally when thinking I was facing a long fertility battle - I found out I was pregnant with him at a fertility assistance appointment. My newborn days with him were different as I was not doing my PhD at the time, like I was with his older brothers. So to experience joy as well as deep grief, while in the throws of all postpartum hormones, breastfeeding challenges, body changes and just life with three children was a lot for my highly sensitive personality.
I had a lot of strategies in place but it was tough. I still feel grief about experiencing such grief during this time.
I had days where all I could do was cry. Feeling like my heart would split in two and yet deeply wanting nuturing as well.
I dread Mother's Day because these feelings never go....time does not heal all wounds....they just sit there waiting....and Mother's Day provides a trigger I cannot escape from not even with my own beautiful boys. I have to feel it all.
Why This Year
This year's Mother's Day is even more difficult than previous ones for me. Last year I went through something in my childhood family. I say 'went through' carefully because, I am still not through it but at this stage it is not for public consumption. If there was any tiny smidge of hope that my mother might be the mother to provide unconditional love, nuturing, understanding, guidence and acceptance...was without a doubt vanished in the actions she took in this regard. I had therapy sessions to unpack this and literally hear from a trained professional how wrong and cruel her actions were.
This is my first mother's day sitting in this new level of grief.
It hurts in an indescribable way.
It feels so grossly unfair that after all this time, all this work on myself, all this healing from things inflicted on me by those who choose to have me that I yet again have to experience painful grief. The social norms and comericalisation of Mother's Day has just ripped these raw wounds apart further.
Protecting My Inner Child
Tomorrow I am going to do what I need to protect and care for my inner child. My phone will be off completely. I will turn it off tonight and won't be back on until Monday morning. This is to avoid all triggers online and stop the flow of input into my brain. I will not be posting anything else as I just simply do not want to contribute to this narrative at all - my life's work is with family units and I think each and everyone involved is amazing well beyond a commericalised day.
I have also reworded Mother's Day to be 'warriors day' for myself. This is not gender specific, not just in reference to those with children (or children here on this earth), not specific to those who have mothers or mother-in-laws or even have someone to recognise them as mothers and the work they do. I wish that Mother's Day could be actually reframed somehow because given the structure of so many family units today it's very outdated and so isolating for many just like myself even for different reasons.
I will spend tomorrow with my boys doing things we love - coffee for me in the morning, pancakes and a fav dinner of mine (lamb shanks). They have asked if we can go and get pink things for Pink Shirt Day next Friday which feels quite fitting really. Plus loads of time with our puppies.
Writing this blog (puppy on lap) and talking with some very close friends who know intimately what I am dealing with has helped as well - even when my default is to struggle alone.
For all of those who struggle with Mother's Day, for what ever reason, I hope that you too can wrap your inner child up and at the very least know you are not alone, your feelings are so valid and that you are simply a warrior.
x Dr Julie