Mother’s Day Dread

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For many, Mothering Sunday (11th March this year) represents a time to bask in the joy of motherhood – be it for yourself, or for the maternal figures in your life. However, this isn’t the case for everyone – and if you’re approaching this time of year with a sense of anxiety, or dread, you’re not alone. Three women have shared their own less-than-perfect experiences with Mother’s Day – and how they’ll be dealing with it this year. 

Natasha, 33  

Natasha lost her mum nearly nine years ago, making Mother’s Day a time where her loss is greatly felt – but she’s instead using it to celebrate the good times, and the women around her.

‘Mother’s Day has been a bittersweet time for me ever since I lost my mum in 2009. It might seem like ages ago, but in actual fact, it just feels like yesterday since she was gone – and ever since, Mother’s Day has always been one of those days that hurt.  

It’s not just Mother’s Day: it’s Christmas, it’s birthdays – but especially Mother’s day because it is all about your mum. It always been one of those days that have been difficult just because everyone else is celebrating their mums and unfortunately I don’t have that opportunity to. It doesn’t help that we have Mothering Sunday and the rest of the world has a different day – I’m Zimbabwean, and there, it’s in May – so it’s like a double blow, every year.   

I know they mean well, but what gets me most is that people who know about my loss instead try to avoid telling their plans for the day, or talking about Mother’s Day at all. It was fine for the first few years, but as time’s gone on, it only makes me feel left out and isolated. My mum brought people together, and I have increasingly found that I’ve been in situations where I do the same: I enjoy seeing the best in people, and that is definitely something I got from my mum.  

I know I’m not the only person who’s lost their mum, so I’d say to anyone struggling to try to use it as an opportunity to celebrate other people – say, a new mum you know, who’s having a tough time. My nephew was born in October 2013, and having that new lease of life around us and feeling the joy that he brought helped to give a new meaning to Mother’s Day the following year.   

All in all, there’s a temptation to ignore all the festivities, but I have always felt better when I don’t sink into myself, and instead celebrate who my mum was, and the women around me, instead.’ 

Georgia, 20, student  

Georgia and her mum were close for her entire life – but things began to change when her mum reunited with her dad, who’d previously been absent for the majority of Georgia’s life. She tells Pride about their loving, but confusing relationship: 

‘Lots of people think that the perfect family setup is: mum, dad, children. But my dad wasn’t around at all, growing up – it was just my mum and me, and it was amazing.  

Our relationship was great – apart from the usual clashes that happen as you grow up, my mum and I were close. I have struggled with my mental health for years, and in the height of my struggle, she was there, helping me, looking after me. But over the last two years, things have changed – because she is now with my dad again. It is a bit weird because I don’t even call him ‘Dad’. And because I have no relationship with him, it’s really messed up my relationship with my mum.  

At first, she was lying about going to see him – she’d say she was on a night shift at work, when really she’d be round his. I know she did it to try to protect me, but their relationship has made things really awkward between us now.  Whenever I try to talk about it with her, she either gets angry and starts shouting, or sweeps the way I feel right underneath the carpet. I even moved out because of this whole situation. 

They’re getting married in October – and at this moment, I’m not planning on going. Of course, it could change; I could wake up tomorrow and be like, “Oh my god, I can forgive both of them” or it could take years and years. My dad missed twenty years of my life, so I am just taking all the time I need. 

I love my mum, of course – but as Mother’s Day is coming up, I’m getting anxious, because I don’t know how to face it. She is my mum but I feel all this pain and a bit of anger towards her. I don’t know if it will get it back to what it was before – I just know that I need some time.’ 

Nicki, 34creative entrepreneur  

Nicki has struggled with Mother’s Day ever since her mum passed away – but each year, she tries to not let the celebrations of others get her down.  


‘In short, I hate Mother’s Day – every year, I can’t wait until it’s done.  

I lost my mum when I was 16 – I’m 34 now – and I haven’t celebrated it since. It became a bit of an irrelevant date; like being single on Valentine’s Day. There’s this cloud looming over you. I’m just thinking, ‘Oh wow, it’s Mother’s Day – nice for you guys,’ because everyone else is making such a spectacle, and I don’t feel like I can. 

The first couple of years after Mum’s passing were tough – I wasn’t coping very well. I hid away from the family a lot; there was a lot of lashing out, without really knowing where the anger was really coming from.  

At the beginning, you’re thinking ‘why now? why her?’ and there’s never any answers –  so once you’ve adjusted to that person being absent a little, you’re dealing with missing them, and finding positive ways to keep them in your life, as opposed to it stemming from anger and pain.  

You have to find little positives, memories and things that make you smile, and celebrate the time you actually did have. I remember the secrets we’d share – like when we’d watch TV together before my siblings got home, with a bowl of chicken Super Noodles – or, when I’d see her car parked on a side road by school. 

The relationship we had was so special. I’m sure she had her own special connections with my siblings, but we had our own, clandestine thing that we didn’t share with anyone else. Those are the kinds of things that I cherish. 

This year, as usual, I’m just going to treat Mother’s Day like any other day. My siblings have children of their own, so they can be celebrated, or celebrate the mothers of their kids – but Mother’s Day hasn’t taken on that new meaning for me. I’ll just carry on, and be happy for the people in my life whose mothers are still with them.’  

 How to cope if you’re dreading Mother’s Day

The lead up to Mother’s Day, as well as the day itself, can bring up a lot of difficult feelings – life coach Kiran Singh (kiransingh.net) has given her top tips for coping, if you’re feeling low:

  • Plan ahead of time, and think up some reactions to common expected situations that will create the least stress and pain for you – whether you’ll be navigating a difficult relationship with your mum or whether the occasion will highlight loss. 
  • Do something nice for yourself on Mother’s Day – there’s no reason to feel lesser-than even if you can’t take part in this occasion in the same way as others. 
  • And if the day goes badly, leave it behind you. Move your thoughts to something you’re excited or happy about – you can accomplish so much more without bad movies replaying over and over in your mind.
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