Mother's Day is a time of celebration for so many, and yet for some, it's a very difficult time. Not only the day itself, but the lead up to Mother's Day, and all the advertisements and promotions, all the special sales and posts for this celebratory event. It can feel difficult and very hard, often very lonely too. I thought to share just a few things that have helped and supported me and others I've shared conversations with through grief support groups - perhaps if this is a difficult time for you, you will find something of comfort and solace here.
This isn't the first Mother's Day without my daughter, but it doesn't matter the years that have passed, as the lead up to this time, and seeing images of mothers and daughters everywhere, can feel extra hard. In many ways, to be honest, Mother's Day is just another day, as in reality, I don't miss her just on this one day, I miss her everyday she's not here. But I know it's only normal for feelings and emotions to be heightened during these times, when we can feel we are alone with what we are going through too.
Mother's Day can be very hard for so many, for so many reasons too. And whatever that reason, whatever your loss, however your heart feels at this time through your own circumstance and experience - know that it's normal, it's okay, it's valid, and to feel acknowledged by someone or those you trust, with the truth of your own lived experience, is everything. In this world, and especially the online space too, where motherhood is 'everywhere', it can feel so easy to forget that we are not alone through our grief and loss, and others are feeling the difficulty of this time and the day itself too.
I so often find it difficult to write generalisations as to what you might feel supportive, as I know just how personal and sacred all our grief journeys are. But I do feel and believe that where there is loss and grief, there is love - even if it's complex - and there are ways we can fill our hearts and spirits with love, to keep memories alive, and to keep our hearts wide open. To keep love alive to carry forward in all the ways we can. I know that as time has passed, this has become even more important for me to lean into this, each and every day, not only through this time.
On Mother's Day and in this lead up time, these are few things that might help - to take or leave as to what feels supportive for you, and to feel into and listen to your own heart -
As much as you're able to, limit time you spend on social media and online. The 'algorithm' on social media is all about promoting mother's day, so it's only wise to be discerning with what we take in. Even consider watching less TV right now too, to avoid seeing advertisements or messages that can bring up strong feelings, emotions and reminders, throughout the day. There are many 'triggers' for grief, and sometimes we expect these, and other times, they just come to us out of the blue, and I know for myself and many women I speak to, that to limit exposure to things at this time, can really help. It means that I can make as many conscious choices as possible, as to what I engage with, and take in.
Take time to reflect on what you need right now, what feels supportive, and who you most enjoy engaging and connecting with. This is a time for you to do what feels best for you - and this can be hard for many us, I know it can be for me. But I've learnt over the years now, that to put myself first is necessary for my nervous system and for my whole wellbeing. The grief and love for my daughter resides within me every day, I think it always will. I feel very blessed to have my mother still alive, and a beautiful supportive relationship I share with her, and there are no expectations or pressure for me to be a certain way. But I know for some, in your own personal circumstances, relationships can feel hard and difficult and it can be a challenge to put your needs first, to have healthy boundaries, and in this lead up time, if you don't already, it's very supportive to consider what changes and choices you can make for yourself right now, that will best serve you.
Plan how you might spend the day when it comes. Ask yourself questions about how you might feel doing something, and imagine yourself on the day. Do you feel like being around others, or do you know you'll prefer to be alone, or just with someone close. Is there a special ritual you might do or have, or a way to remember and bring memories into your heart with love. Is there a special place you love to go. Is there a way you might create the day around things they used to love, or things you used to do together, or does this feel too much or too hard. Only you will know this, and I so encourage you to listen yourself and your heart, and to trust in this. Is it a day you could gift yourself love and fill your day and heart with self love and small things that bring you joy. There are so many things, that can feel supportive, but different for us all.
I like to buy flowers. I like to listen to favourite songs that evoke loving memories and cherished moments. I like to look through photos, but I didn't used to - it's true that time can change so much, and what supports us one day will feel different the next. I've learnt through grief, to lessen any expectations, to understand loss and be within it, as I would in a river or the ocean as the water ebbs and flows. I just allow myself to be with however I'm feeling, and I release any pressure or judgement or need, for anything to be any other way, than how it is and feels. And on these days that feel hard, like Mother's Day, and other days of birthdays, anniversaries, significant days where emotions can be extra heightened and felt - I acknowledge it all, I let my tears fall, I allow myself to feel it all - it's hard, it's awful, it can feel as if we are fragile and will break, but I trust in myself, I listen to my heart and the love that resides within, and I know that in my own time, I will return to a space of stillness again and peace. I so hope this for you, too.
Being gentle and kind to ourselves, is everything. As is, to practice self compassion and to truly gift ourselves grace. It is okay and normal to find these times to be very hard, and all your feelings and emotions are valid and deserve to be acknowledged. I know how lonely it can be to hold things inside, to pretend things are okay when they're not, and to not feel we can reach out for support if we need it - but I so deeply encourage you to. Know that I am here, if you would like support at this time, as sometimes being brave and talking to an external person and professional can truly help. As can be talking to a trusted friend. Being brave and asking for what it is that you need, if someone can support you during this time.
And if you're reading this, and you know someone who might be finding this time and lead up to Mother's Day to be hard - let them know that you care, that you are thinking of them, and that you are there for them, through and within it all. I can promise you that this care and compassion will mean so much, and can feel like everything.
Sending my love to all who find this time to be difficult and hard. And all the others times we feel this way, too. If you'd like to book a support session, I am available for you - you can book a time here.
However you choose to spend this time, and Mother's Day, know that I hold you in my heart, and am with you alongside, and send you ease and calm.
With love x
PS. PS. If you would like to experience a beautiful and supportive meditation to help bring ease and calm - you can receive this 'Soothing Calm' meditation, here.
Katie Jane is a Holistic Therapist, Life Coach, Health Coach, Nutritionist, Naturopath, Meditation teacher, writer and author. Katie has been working in the wellness industry for over 15 years, in private practice and online, and brings all of these qualifications and skills, along with her own lived experiences through challenges, changes and transitions. Her approach to life and wellbeing is truly holistic and unique for each individual. She supports and coaches clients to make powerful changes, to feel calm through uncertainty and change, to embrace self care as a way of being, and to thrive through life transitions.