Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day: A Painful Day?

As a child, I really enjoyed Mother's Day. I would take out my chalk and mark up the sidewalk in front of our house and our neighbor's house in giant letters, spelling out the words 'Happy Mother's Day.'

If any neighbors of mine did not have children right away, I in my innocence assumed they were having difficulty and prayed for them to have children.

There was an event recently that I attended where mothers were honored. And as I watched all the mothers take the dais, what went through my mind was: Mother's Day is really hard on some people.

Because now I know. I've been introduced to the world where people I know, people I am friends with, are struggling to become mothers, to stay mothers.

There is an individual that I know, who I went to school with, who has been struggling to become a mother over the past five years. Not only has she been struggling with infertility, but she has also been struggling with the death of her children once they were born. You can read an incredibly soul-wrenching post that she wrote here. I look at her, at her struggle, at her journey, and I just think that Mother's Day must feel like a punch in the gut to her. She must look at all the advertisements, the cards, balloons and happy flowers, and it must just hurt.

Then we have another friend who lost her daughter to SIDS. She wrote about her daughter here and about learning how to mother again after losing her daughter to SIDS here.  This woman is now a mother to other adorable children, but I imagine that every Mother's Day, as her children present her with her cards and gifts, she remembers her other child, her daughter, and that this hurts, too.

And this is to say nothing of the children who have lost their mothers. I have a good friend whose mother died of cancer, and it must be hard to watch the world as a whole celebrate this day while missing your own parent.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have this holiday or shouldn't appreciate our mothers. But I now have a different perspective on it. The holiday that brings so much joy to some causes pain to others. I feel it's appropriate to publicly note and honor those individuals struggling to become mothers, struggling to mother through the pain of losing a child, or struggling because they do not have a living mother. For them, too, it's Mother's Day- but their associations with the day may be much sadder.

If it is at all possible on this day to reach out to someone you know who might be struggling, that might be appropriate as well. Just to say: Hey. I know this day is hard on you. I'm there for you. I love you. Tomorrow will be a better (and hopefully less painful) day.


Dana said...

Amen! What a beautiful and thoughtful post :)

Anonymous said...

Well said! People never really know what others have been through because often people keep their pain bottled up inside, particularly with regards to infertility, and other such nisyanos. I appreciate you taking the time to understand what Mother's Day means for some people.

Sympathetic said...

These people unfortunately suffer mental anguish all year round. It is only intensified on Mother's day.

Therefore in a religious society that does not celebrate Mother's day, because every day is Mother's (and Father's) day, this painfully increased despondency doesn't exist.

And while we're on the subject, I've witnessed too many instances of insensitivity when parents make a fuss about their children and display them like trophies in the presence of broken-hearted infertile couples.

Needless to say, a little more consideration would be in order.

Anonymous said...

IMHO this is a specific symptom of general malady. One doesn't always know what challenges their friends and neighbors are facing. The midah of tzniut can prevent a lot of damage to others. If HKB"H has blessed you, be thankful and be careful before you articulate those blessings to those who may not be as fortunate.
Joel Rich

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post.

Batya said...

This post has been including in Shiloh Musings: Jewish Blog Round Up, Let's Link Up Together.  If you haven't read my  "roundup" yet, then please click, check out the other links, comment and share, thanks.