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I never knew those two words would become a trigger for anxiety and pain. Or that I would feel so ambivalent about my very first one. Losing my only child has cast a cloud over all future holidays. But this one in particular is a piercing reminder of all I have lost and what I cannot do. When Christian died, the future we had together went with him. I cannot conceive celebrating Mother’s Day when my son isn’t present to bring me that joy. Even though I am his mother and will always be, I hardly feel like one in his absence.
How Can You Survive This Mother’s Day?
If you’re anything like me, your memories and thoughts have a way of sneaking in. They tend to cause grief no matter what you’re doing on any given day, particularly those special days. If you’ve also lost a child, you may be floundering on how to spend Mother’s Day this year. For grieving Mommas, there may not be a way to completely escape the day without pain and grief. However, the following tips may help you reduce the stress and increase your enjoyment as you face the prospect of the day without your precious child.
Don’t feel obligated to be a part of family gatherings.
This is a key way to reduce stress and anxiety, although it can be difficult to put into practice. We usually spend each holiday celebrating with family, and we usually split the days between our two families. But this year we will excuse ourselves from any festivities. It’s difficult to think of celebrating the mother’s in my life without celebrating my own motherhood.
Thankfully our families will be understanding. Though even if they were not, it would be best for me and my mental and emotional health to stay away from any additional reminders what I have lost.
Stay away from social media.
Inevitably there will be myriads of “Happy Mother’s Day” posts on social media. And there will probably be just as many posts about kids. There is nothing wrong with celebrating in that manner. But those seemingly harmless types of posts can cause triggers that will cause great pain. Many times a post from a friend celebrating her beautiful child has set me back emotionally, though obviously no harm was intended.
Instead, consider turning off your phone. Or taking the social media icons off of your devices so that you can’t mindlessly open them and scroll. It’s worth a day or two away in order to keep yourself from additional, albeit indirect pain.
Fill your day with self-care.
Make plans for the day that will help you relax. Find experiences that will enhance your mind, body, and soul. Whether it’s binge-watching Friends, hiking with your family, or having a spa day with your spouse, try something that keeps your mind away from your grief. The pain will still be there, but being purposeful about how you spend your day can help lessen your stress and anxiety. Check out my free printable for more self-care ideas!
Take a vacation or getaway.
This is perhaps the best way to get away from all the pressure of a highly stressful day. Take a vacation, weekend getaway, or maybe just an overnight trip if you can’t do something longer. Getting away can help alleviate the tendency to dwell on what might have been or should have been. You’ll feel better getting away for a trip than sitting around dwelling on your grief. Fill your day with experiences and excursions that will keep your mind and body occupied. Go somewhere you’ve never been before or find a resort where you can be pampered.
My wish for you
All holidays and milestones are painful after the loss of a child, infant, or pregnancy. But one of the days that should be the most joyous can be the most painful. It’s a shame that Mother’s Day does not bring us the happiness we imagined because we cannot share it with the little one who we still mourn and hold in our hearts.
But my wish for you is that you would be able to spend that day with people you care about and who care about you. People who understand your limitations and are willing to help you stay as stress-free as possible. I hope you can find some respite from the grief and enjoy a day doing something that makes you happy.