I wrote this piece in 2014 – 5 years on, little has changed and yet much has….this is why I am respectfully abstaining from Mother’s Day
Is it wrong that I don’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day?
I am a mother, so why wouldn’t I want to be pampered, indulged, appreciated and respected? After all, isn’t that what is supposed to occur on the second Sunday in May each year?
Truth is I do crave those things, not just on one day of the year but at least every other day.
I want those tangible things to be conveyed in such a way that they just happen, like breathing is natural and happens instinctively. I am not talking about diamonds and champagne, nor reverence beyond measure, just a healthy ration of recognition for being a mum, the most challenging role one could take on.
I am not implying my children don’t love or respect me, they do. It is much deeper than that. I love my family and I nurture and nourish those around me. I gave life to those two remarkable and amazing human beings. I have also lost two babies before they drew breath and I do wonder, from time to time, what might have been.
My face is etched with lines from living, loving and being hopeful. I have lost a parent and I can comprehend loss at that most primal level. I know, feel and understand the bond between a child and a parent and that of a parent and a child.
So I don’t need the mainstream media to tell me how I should feel, look, behave and conduct myself as a mother on this so called ‘Mother’s Day’….or on any day. I am the best barometer of that; and also my harshest critic.
I am not perfect.
I get it wrong.
I get it wrong a lot…and that’s OK!
So this year (again) I am going to abstain from Mother’s Day out of the respect for many. Why out of respect and for whom you may ask? Simply to honour and afford some protection to those who will feel pain on this very commercially focussed day.
Here are my thoughts on who may feel vulnerable, for these women and men who have loved and lost I have the greatest respect, they are:
Those whose mother’s heart no longer beats;
Those women who hold their newborn babe in their arms and have no feelings, no connection, nothing but emptiness and numbness;
Those women who are sad to the depths of their soul after giving birth and don’t understand why, because they are constantly reminded by friends, family and the media that becoming a mother should be the most joyous time in their lives;
Those who do have a mother but do not have a cherished relationship with her;
Those who mourn the loss of a child and whose pain is beyond compare;
Those who will never be a mother because Mother Nature dealt them a cruel hand and left them childless;
Those women, by choice, who have not procreated, yet struggle finding acceptance for their very personal decision.
Instead of a symbolic breakfast/lunch or dinner, I am going to request a novel gift. I am going ask to spend some time, alone, reflecting on my life so far. I am going to write a list of what is good in my life and I am going to give thanks for those blessings.
I am not going to complain about missed opportunities because I am the only one to blame for not seizing those moments in time.
I am not going to write a ‘bucket’ list of my own but rather I am going to commit to doing more for my children and for their future. I don’t know what that will look like but I know that I will recognise the actions required. I will act on my instincts because that type of spontaneity is intrinsic in mothers.
I am not going to stop worrying about whether my great grandchildren will have clean air, clean water and nutritious food. To do that would not express a mother’s love or her concern.
I will always have high expectations of my children. I quietly observe their relationships with others and reflect on their ability to show respect and to be respected. I believe that through nurture and by their very own nature, they too will work hard, be focused, motivated and passionate.
It pleases me that they value their friendships and their loyalties to others, as I do. I am proud of their deep sense of empathy and compassion for their fellows and that they care for those around them.
I hope they never stop believing that it is better to talk to resolve issues rather than to bear arms. I will continue to be in awe of science and look to the night sky with amazement and I will encourage my children to do the same.
To act with grace, believe in justice and in being socially responsible will take them far in this life. I am confident their love and respect for the landscape around them will never be taken for granted.
My children will continue ask questions in pursuit of knowledge and they are learning to be good listeners. How do I know these things to be true? Because I am a mother; I am their mother watching them evolve into amazing people.
I see, feel and live this every day. I can see through their eyes. I see their thirst for knowledge and adventure, their community spirit and their empathy for others.
There will be times when their self-esteem will be crushed, their hearts broken and their morals called into question. But they have learnt to be resilient, they have self-awareness and have emotional intelligence and with that comes the amazing potential be part of a better world.
Importantly though, they have a mother’s love.
So this Mother’s Day, I am asking for the gift of time and solitude so I can stop, think and reflect.
That will be their gift to me and one day they will come to realise my gift to them.
If you or someone you know might be experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy or the perinatal period seek help and contact a health professional.
More resources can be found at: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or by calling 1300 22 46 36
Blog image: Painting by Hughes Merle “Mother & Child” (Copyright expired – in the public domain)