When Mothers’ Day Is Anything But Happy

Tomorrow, mothers will be served breakfast in bed, taken out to brunch and children of all ages will happily send cards, flowers and good wishes to the women who raised them.

Social media, well… all media will be filled with reminders of the day, stores will be filled with shoppers, restaurants will be overflowing with mothers and their children and even your local street corner may be occupied by someone selling mothers’ day flowers.

It will be a day of love and happiness.

But not for everyone.

It will be a day of inescapable pain for many.

Women who have tried to conceive and been unable

Mothers who have lost children

Those who have lost their mother

Those who were abused or neglected by their mother

Those who are estranged from their mother

Yes, a woman who has been unable to conceive can adopt, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel a great loss and/or inadequacy for not being able to do what many traditions deem to be the most important and sacred duty for a woman. Add to that, the fact that the average cost of adoption in this country ranges from $34,093.00 to $39,966.00 which is a hefty debt to take on, on top of what it costs to raise a child and it’s not so simple or even possible for many.

For a woman who has lost a child by miscarriage, illness, suicide or accident, Mothers’ Day is nothing but overwhelming pain, loss and (unfounded) guilt. We all expect to outlive our parents, but no one expects or should have to bury a child.

While we all expect to outlive our parents, it doesn’t make that loss any less traumatic and life altering.

Many more suffer in silence because they were neglected or abused by their mothers. It’s still considered taboo to speak about such things, and often when the victims of such behavior choose to share with those they trust, that trust is most often, albeit, unintentionally violated by well meaning but misguided advice to forgive and get over it. It’s not that simple or perhaps even possible, and if you are ever tempted to give that little nugget of advice to someone… Don’t.

For those whose abusive, or neglectful mothers are still alive, they may have made the painful decision to sever ties for their physical and emotional health and that of their families. No matter how grievous the offenses against them and no matter how many other options were exhausted first, they are wracked with guilt and don’t need someone telling them that they should “reach out” on Mothers’ Day. Again, if you’re tempted to offer this advice… Don’t

Those of you who are or still have their mothers, embrace that day, tell and show them how much you love them.

If you are a mother, hug and kiss that child and tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them (bonus if they are of an age where they pretend to hate it 😉

None of us will begrudge you the happiness that we lost or were never afforded. We don’t want to ruin the day for you. If we care about you, we want you to have your happiness because we never know when life will change or end and that happiness is fleeting.

I share this, in hope that you will not, in an effort to help, make this day harder on someone who is estranged from their mother or has bad memories of their mother.

I share this because many people (far more than you would likely ever imagine) will be in pain tomorrow, most of them will not tell anyone how painful Mothers’ Day is for them out of fear of ruining the celebration for others and/or the fear of being judged and given unsolicited, inappropriate and damaging advice.

I share this so they will know that their experiences and pain are valid and that they are not alone.

~L

 


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Fatherless Day

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A couple years ago, I sincerely wished my friends who are fathers or who have/had fathers a “Happy Father’s Day”.

When I did the same last year, a friend jokingly commented on my Facebook post asking if those who were “immaculately conceived” need not apply.

I simply explained that some of us never knew our fathers; we were never given the opportunity so the observance does not in fact, apply to us.

I don’t want to put a damper on the celebration or happiness of others, so I generally keep my experiences/feelings/pain surrounding this particular holiday (as well as mother’s day) to myself.

Then other people started sharing their stories of divorce and being kept from their fathers.

Still more started sharing their stories about having their children kept from them.

It was then that I was reminded that while I don’t want to ruin the day for others, there are many others who need a place to vent and share there feelings.

In addition to not having, been kept from or losing a father, some were abused by fathers or step-fathers. Yeah, I got the double bonus in the “father” department; one I never knew and one who abused me.

People who were abused as children feel a wealth of pain and anger, and even guilt for being estranged from/not loving their father.

This is a difficult and painful day for so many people; many of whom are spending their first Father’s Day without their fathers or the fathers of their children.

Yes, they may have happy memories, but to them, this day is a painful reminder of their loss.

I have no words that will comfort those who are feeling pain and loss today. I have no words at all other than.

“You are not alone”.

I do however have words for women who are keeping children from their fathers. Actually, they are words for anyone keeping a child from a parent.

Unless the child is in danger/being abused, there is no excuse to keep a child from their father just because you think he’s an a$$hole.

My mother left my father when I was barely three years old.

I have no memory of him at all.

I never even saw a photograph of him.

When I would ask my mother what he was like, she snapped at me, “You don’t want to know what he was like, he was a terrible person, all he cared about was money. He is incapable of loving anyone, he didn’t love or want you or me.”

We moved a lot and she always made sure that we had an unlisted phone number and could not be tracked down.

I finally found his family when I was an adult; I found them too late, he had died two years prior.

I remember curling up in a ball in my kitchen and crying because I was too late. Yeah, I felt guilty for not trying hard enough.

I did finally meet his/my family. The letter I received back was from my step-mother, who had me come visit her.

She gave me some things of my fathers and told me that he did want me and did try to find me. My name was listed in his funeral program. I visited my aunts and met my grandfather before he died. They gave me a few photographs, something I had missed and craved my entire life.

Part of me was comforted by that, and part was very VERY angry for having been lied to my entire life.

I have had to do a lot of forgiving of my mother in regards to this, and other situations. It is a challenging and ongoing process. After she died, as I was going through her things, I discovered the true, terrible depth of her lies. Trust me folks, if you keep a terrible secret, it will be found found out eventually.

I share my story, not to bring anyone down or to ruin the holiday for those with reason to celebrate.

I share my story in hopes that some parent out there will make a different, better choice than to keep a child from their parent.

For those of you who are keeping your children from their other parent (for reasons other than the child would be in real danger) I have these words.

Taking away a parent, even photographs and stories, takes away half of a child’s identity.

Telling that child that one of their parents in a terrible person, teaches them that they are also a terrible person because it’s half of who they are.

Telling a child that one of their parents doesn’t want or love them teaches them that there is something wrong with them and that they are not worthy of love.

Lying to a child, teaches them that they can not trust anyone.

Please don’t do that to your child. They deserve better.

the above photo is of my grandfather and grandmother Lawrence, my father (the one who looks like trouble) and his five sisters/my five aunts

~L


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