It’s the run up which is just as bad as the event itself and it can seem as if there is no escape from Mother’s Day, but if you are anywhere near Liverpool on Sunday, there is something you may want to know about. It’s called the Mother’s Day Runaways service, will take place in the Lady Chapel at Liverpool Cathedral and it aims to offer a safe space for those who find Mothering Sunday difficult.
Whether you’re grieving the loss of a mother, the loss of a child, or a baby through miscarriage, whether you’re struggling with infertility or childlessness, singleness or a difficult relationship, whether you never even knew your mother or whether there is another reason why you might find Mothering Sunday painful, this quiet, reflective service has been designed with you in mind.
It will be an informal gathering, where you will be guided through an hour long service and you can find out more from Saltwater and Honey (and you can find out more about them here.
It’s one of the most difficult times of the year for anyone trying to conceive, and it’s here again. A day focused on celebrating motherhood is bound to be challenging for anyone who is longing for a family, but the time leading up to it can be the hardest part to deal with. It’s virtually impossible to escape Mother’s Day when every local shop has jumped on the commercial bandwagon and even the local supermarket seems to have decided to label anything you might possibly give to anyone else as a “Mother’s Day Gift”.
Mother’s Day can act as a horrible reinforcement of the sense of isolation and loneliness that you may feel as more and more of those around you seem to be pregnant or new parents. It can make you feel like an outsider whose life has become completely cut off form those around you.
If you know anyone else who is experiencing difficulties getting pregnant or who doesn’t have children, this can be the ideal time for meeting up with them. Getting together for a day out, a trip to the cinema or theatre or sharing a meal can be a good way of reminding yourself that you are not alone. This Thursday evening, March 3, there’s a get together for anyone experiencing fertility problems in Central London and if you’d like to come along and join us you’d be very welcome (for details, email firstname.lastname@example.org). On Sunday March 6 itself, you may be interested to know that Gateway Women’s Jody Day will be giving a live talk on BBC Radio’s Mother’s Day Service – you can find details here
However you decide to spend Sunday, remember that you are not alone. There are around 3.5 million people in the UK alone who are going through difficulties at any given time, and every one of them will be experiencing very similar feelings about Mother’s Day.
I got an email the other day from the supermarket I use for online shopping which was all about special offers for Mother’s Day. I was about to delete it when I noticed that the suggested purchases included chocolates, daffodils and two different brands of gin – I must admit, I’d never imagined a bottle of mother’s ruin as a traditional Mother’s Day present…
Gin aside, the email summed up the way that Mother’s Day has become such an enormous marketing opportunity and why it is so difficult to escape. You go to the corner shop on a Sunday morning to pick up the papers and find yourself faced with endless lines of Mother’s Day cards, all the bath oils and body lotions in the chemists have suddenly been re-labelled as suggested Mother’s Day gifts – and it starts to feel as if the entire world is conspiring to remind you of the one thing you want to be but aren’t.
It is hard to get away from, and it is one of the hardest times of the year for anyone experiencing fertility problems. It can make you feel horribly isolated, especially if most of your friends have children. I always think Mother’s Day is a good day to meet up with those you know who don’t have families and do something together, but this year I’d also say, don’t forget your own mother if you are fortunate enough to still have her around. My lovely mother died a few months ago, and this will be my first Mother’s Day without her – it made me realise that Mother’s Day isn’t just sad when you aren’t a mother yourself, but also when you no longer have anyone to buy a card for. So, I’d say if you are able to then maybe try to enjoy being a daughter this Mother’s Day and make the most of your own mum.
I wasn’t going to write anything about Mother’s Day – it’s one of those days that you’d rather not know about/think about/read about/talk about when you’re trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant – but then I thought about it some more and decided it wasn’t right for anyone to feel upset about something that was largely a construct of the gift and card industry nowadays…
I wrote an article about Mothering Sunday for a website a few years ago and hadn’t appreciated until then that in the UK the day originated as a time for people to return home to their Mother Church (that’s their own main local church). Domestic servants would go back to their home church and would visit their families for the day. It was originally a Christian holiday rather than the commercial event it has become.
I think it’s time that women without children made the day their own – you don’t have to go traipsing off in search of your Mother Church, but I think you should devote the day to doing nice things for yourself – maybe with your own mum. You may want to avoid restaurants full of families – but why not go and see that exhibition you’ve been meaning to catch before it closes, or buy yourself that dress you’ve been admiring? What makes everyone happy is different – but whether it’s having a manicure or going for a long walk, make some time on Sunday to do the things you want to do.
Not being a parent doesn’t make you any less special, or any less valid or any less deserving – have a happy weekend x
It’s not the easiest day of the year when you’re trying to conceive unsuccessfully, but it is worth trying to remember that you’re not the only one who will be finding mother’s day difficult. I was thinking about this today, and it made me realise how often we assume that we’re the only one experiencing difficulties with an event or a celebration because of our fertility problems. In fact, one in six or seven of the population will be having problems getting pregnant – which means that at pretty much any event or celebration, there is going to be someone else feeling exactly the same way. You may not ever find out who they are, but it can be quite heartening to gather strength just from knowing that you’re not the only one….