A Mindful Mother’s Day
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. The wish on this Mother's Day is – happiness. But this is not always the reality. Life is full of other emotions too. Sadness. Anger. Disgust. Surprise. Guilt. Fear. This is normal. Especially if you are flooded with images of the “perfect Mother’s Day” on your social media feed, it can get you down if yours doesn’t seem as “perfect.”
Life may be like a box of chocolates, but it’s not usually like a Mother’s Day advertisement for flowers.
I don’t have any magic suggestions to guarantee a happy Mother’s Day to you and yours. However, if you are hurting – know that you are not alone...
- If you are missing your mother or a child, you are not alone. If you are grieving the fact that you never became a mother or if you are worrying that you may never become a mother, it’s not just you.
- Maybe you’re angry because you didn’t have a great relationship with your mom. Maybe you are mad because you made your own Mother’s Day brunch or frustrated because -even on Mother’s day - you did not get to use the bathroom by yourself.
- Perhaps you are worrying that you’re a bad mom or that bad things are going to happen to your child.
- You would not be the only one if you are feeling guilty for not doing more (or “enough”) for your children or your own mother.
- It could be that even on Mother’s Day, you feel overwhelmed and underappreciated.
If you’ve lost a loved one, you may feel like you’re missing a little piece of your heart. If you’re adjusting to being a new mom, you may be feeling like you are missing a piece of yourself.
Mother’s Day is a less than happy day for many people. Emotions are complex. You may even find yourself feeling joy and sadness all at the same time. If you are struggling and happiness seems out of reach, try aiming for a “Mindful Mother’s Day” this year. Instead of resisting, blocking, suppressing, or trying to get rid of your emotions, try using mindfulness to manage your Mother’s Day feelings. Check out the mindfulness strategies on Anxiety Canada’s website https://www.anxietycanada.com/parents/new-moms/taking-care/mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness of current emotions is a strategy for letting go of emotional suffering. (Marsha Linehan 2015). Try these strategies:
1. Observe your emotion
2. Experience your emotion as a wave coming and going, then surf the emotion wave
3. Don’t try to push way your emotion or amplify it
4. Remember, you are not your emotion
5. Practice accepting your emotion and not judging it
If you are a new mom, this Mother’s Day may be especially wonderful for you or especially challenging. When people expect you to be happy, but you are not, this can be really difficult. More attention has been paid to new moms recently, and people are starting to understand that perinatal anxiety and depression are common. For the new moms and moms-to-be out there who are dealing with anxiety, check out Anxiety Canada’s Perinatal Anxiety site - http://perinatal.anxietycanada.com.
On Mother’s Day, feel whatever you feel. If you are not feeling happy this Mother’s Day, know that you are not alone. Mindful Mother’s Day to you.
Marsha Linehan (2015). Emotion Regulation Handout 22: Mindfulness of Current Emotions: Letting Go of Emotional Suffering. From DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition.
Dr. Melanie Badali, R.Psych.
Dr. Melanie Badali is a Registered Psychologist and is CACBT-ACTCC certified in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. She is on the Board of Directors at Anxiety Canada and practices at the North Shore Stress and Anxiety Clinic.