When motherhood isn't as expected
Posted on 29th March 2019 at 12:42
This weekend mothers all over the UK will be receiving gifts from their children and partners to celebrate motherhood. We would like to look at the holiday from a less common perspective, acknowledging those who may be experiencing more painful emotions than happy ones on Mothering Sunday.
Some of us may find this occasion difficult to celebrate because we have never been able to experience motherhood even though it has been one of our hopes and dreams.
Others may struggle with this day because motherhood has not been everything they expected it to be.
When we define grief, we refer to “conflicting emotions”.
Perhaps there is no better example of “conflicting emotions” than motherhood. The experience can be full of love and joy while at the same time frustrating, tiresome, painful and challenging.
To begin with, we have a wide variety of hopes, dreams and expectations that take root long before a child enters the world. As the relationship progresses, sleepless nights, arguments, defiance and worries create emotional energy within us. This buildup of emotional energy makes motherhood stressful to say the least.
Along with those hopes, dreams and expectations often comes a certain degree of disappointment. This is exacerbated by well-meaning friends, relatives and even strangers who tell you to “enjoy every minute, they grow up so fast”. This actually leads to isolation and unresolved grief because it fails to acknowledge the perfectly normal feelings that come with disappointment of any kind.
Our Mothering Sunday may be bittersweet due to any number of reasons, such as:-
A difficult relationship with a child, lack of respect or affection
A disappointing birth experience or health complications caused by the birth
Infertility or the inability to have (more) children
The death of a child including miscarriage, stillbirth
An estranged relationship with a child due to family matters
A loss of personal identity, career
Major changes in the body resulting from pregnancy and birth
A child who is affected by illness, injury, disability
Lack of support from family members or friends
Worries about child’s future, health, success
Many mothers also expect to enjoy a day of rest and relaxation on Mothering Sunday but find their children have little regard for their plans!
Whatever your situation, please know that it is perfectly normal to have mixed feelings about the holiday. Relationships are complicated and cause complicated emotions. We do not need to feel guilty for not “enjoying every minute”.
For those who would like to improve their relationship with their child and/or find relief from their pain, the Grief Recovery Method can be an invaluable resource. When we learn how to make peace with our motherhood story, we can find much more enjoyment – not just on Mothering Sunday, but every day of the year.
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