Mothers’ day – joy or distress?
With Mother’s day approaching, I cannot help thinking back to my first Mother’s day as a mum.
Our boys were about 11 months and I had just started to get back on track after a devastating experience of postnatal depression.
I remember being really excited about having to experience my first Mother’s day as a mum, however, the real experience wasn’t (as a lot of my other first experiences with motherhood) as special as I imagined it to be.
If you read my story, you know it took me a few months to develop a real bond with my children. My first year as a mother was the hardest year of my life and I cannot even start to explain how it feels when you are expected to be happy when all you want is to cry and turn back time.
The outside pressure to celebrate Mother’s day didn’t help either, as it only added up to my then strong feelings of guilt and failure. As well as to my unrealistic attempt to be a perfect mum who does and feels everything she is expected to.
Perhaps I even posted something heart-melting on social media to spread the impression of being a happy new mum even further.
Well, I am not saying I was not happy at all at that time, but I definitely was not in the right state of mind to enjoy the Mother’s day the way I was hoping to.
And I cannot even imagine how mums having Mother’s day immediately or close after giving birth must be feeling. Especially the ones who experience symptoms of baby blues of depression.
When they haven’t even got back to their senses yet, they might feel tearful and lonely, and the world is expecting them to celebrate and feel happy in their new role.
Personally, it took me something over a year to overcome any postnatal emotional imbalance and finally start feeling blessed to be a mum. And therefore be able to start enjoying Mother’s day the way I wanted to.
But I know there are plenty mums out there who don’t enjoy this day even years after they have become mothers. And that is ok too.
Everyone is different and so is every mum. Some love celebrating this day with their family, some would rather pass it like any other day. Which is, of course, pretty much impossible with all the mother’s day gift ideas, ads, posts and cards jumping at you from each direction.
This outburst can easily cause for an otherwise happy mum to start doubting herself. And when the day ‘D’ comes, she often finds herself along with her mum-friends comparing the gifts they got from their children on the background of the unspoken rule – the bigger the gift, the bigger the love.
And the pressure does not end here…
Schools encourage children to make Mother’s Day cards, which is surely a great thing to do, but on the other hand, often places pressure on children in care and could serve as a reminder that they don’t have a ‘normal’ life.
Mother’s day can also be a painful reminder for people who lost their mothers, or women who want to be mothers but aren’t. Women who lost their children, are infertile or have had a hard time to conceive.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the idea behind Mother’s day as it is supposed to be a celebration and appreciation of all the mothers in the world – the most challening role I can only imagine.
However, it feels like people gradually started to forget about the original purpose and (often involuntarily, but still) turned it into a day that is often more competitive than celebratory.
Countless people in the world (both women and men), therefore, feel under an ascending pressure. Pressure, that can result in something much worse than just temporal emotional discomfort.
The question is – what is the solution to this? What can we do to reduce or eliminate this pressure? It’s not an option to cut Mother’s day out of our lives (which would be absolutely ridiculous when you consider how long it has taken for women/mothers to be recognised for what they actually do) or make everyone in this world stop talking about it (No Thanks!).
What we can do though is to celebrate it the way it’s meant to be. Peacefully, joyfully, and in the way we want to and that makes us happy…
But each individual be given the opportunity to not celebrate it at all, if they do not want to without being judged why not?
Every way is ok. As long as no one gets hurt, in any way.