Social media is The Worst when you’re trying to pretend a day doesn’t exist, especially Mother’s Day. Each year my feeds fill with happy, thankful people who are grateful to have good, kind, mothers in their lives. There is love. There is so much fucking love. And each year it feels like the massive wound I have in my heart is being poked at with a stick.
It’s a hard day for so many people, for so many reasons. Some people lost their mothers, while others just didn’t get the mother they deserve. Some people have mothers, but don’t get to be mothers. I know I’m not unique.
I’ve tried so hard in recent years to just tune the day out. I wish I could be like my friend, Adina, who marks the day by doing something her mother would have loved. It feels like such a beautiful way to process grief. But I really don’t know what my mother loved. She died when I was barely three and I didn’t get a chance to know her.
I do have an amazing group of motherly stand-ins, friends, and a good husband who support me and for whom I am so grateful. But I’m most grateful that this Mother’s Day doesn’t feel so focused on grief. It’s the first year that I’m experiencing the day as a mother instead of a left-behind daughter and it feels different. It’s all sorts of cliche, but Alice, who is named after my mum, fills my heart in ways I could never have thought possible. Having her makes the day feel less empty. It doesn’t hurt so bad.
So many life events, especially around becoming a parent, trigger grief. I wanted my mother when I was pregnant, and to take care of me after I gave birth. I want to have my mother to call when I’m scared and I don’t know what to do. (It’s easy to imagine a perfect version of what could have been, even though most people’s reality isn’t that simple.) But becoming a parent also offers a clean(ish) slate to create something new, and maybe also heal some old wounds. Today still makes me feel sad, but the totally ridiculous joy I get out of being that kid’s mother balances it out.