Mother’s Day sets apart a special time to appreciate and honor our moms. Advertisements remind us to call, write, send a card, or get on an airplane to act on our love for Mother’s Day.

What can we do when the thought of Mother’s Day makes our hearts twist and our stomachs lurch?


Many people travel through life and experience events that lead them to a conflicted view of Mother’s Day.

  • For some, not having children creates a desire to avoid Mother’s Day. Maybe they are single and not sure if or when they will ever experience motherhood. Married couples in the midst of infertility may experience Mother’s Day as salt to their wounds.
  • What about the mother whose child passed away? The grief of losing a child (no matter the age) alters parents forever. Mother’s Day is a bittersweet time of confusion—thankful to be a parent, devastated to be left behind.
  • Many mothers await their child’s return from the chaos and choices that turned them away. The ache of absence overwhelms and they wait in silence for their prodigal to come home.
  • A broken relationship or estrangement resides with many children (youth and adults). How does the rejection and betrayal of a mother reconcile with warm fuzzy greeting card commercials?
  • The absence of a mother because of death, drugs, or prison, can dig a dark hole for the one who craves her nurturing presence.

What to Do

  1. Acknowledge

We can’t run from the pain in our lives. We might try to bury it deep within but it will rise up one day and won’t be pretty. Pain, anger, and bitterness are best examined in the light of truth and love, faced head-on (as you are able), and walked through at your own pace. Ask a trusted friend or relative for their support and presence. Depending on the depth and severity you may need the help of a professional counselor to walk with you through the process.

  1. Remember

Spend time reflecting on women who had a loving impact on your life. Make a list of those who have shown up, cared, and encouraged you on your journey. Call them or send a handwritten note (the flow of ink on paper stimulates the flow of memories) thanking them for specific, positive ways they influenced your life.

  1. Reach Out

Review your list of women who showed care for you. What did they do to show their love? What are specific examples of how they encouraged you? What have you seen women do for others through positive interactions in life, movies, or books? Write down these inspiring acts for future ideas. Then make a separate list of people in your family, neighborhood, and workplace who need to know that kind of nurturing care and encouragement. Reach out to them and pass it on.

We each have paths of pain to travel. No matter our personal situation, this Mother’s Day we can acknowledge our pain, remember those women who showed us “motherly” love, and reach out to those in our midst who need to know someone cares for them. It won’t immediately solve all of our problems or completely erase our pain, but when we reach out to help someone else we gain peace and meaning in our lives.

I am thankful for the gift of my mother—she is a loving example of care and nurture and demonstrates the beauty of a well-lived life.

While Mother’s Day gives me the opportunity to celebrate my mom it also contains an edge of pain. My greatest dream and desire in life, to become a mom, was never realized. The loss of the dream haunts me a bit each year. I want this year to be different. I want to live a Mother’s Day transformed.


Let’s acknowledge our pain, remember the women who nurtured us, and reach out to those who need love! In the process, may we find our own Mother’s Day transformed from ashes and mourning to beauty and joy!

(Please share a way in which someone helped you in your time of need.)