It’s Mother’s Day here in the UK.

While it’s a day of celebration for a lot of people, it can be triggering for many others.

Not everyone has a relationship with their mother (me included) nor might they have contact with their children (again me).  Motherhood may have been denied to you or perhaps it was only a fleeting moment that ended in loss.   You might have chosen not to have kids (totally respect your decision) or you might struggle with the demands of motherhood.

There are so, so many reasons why it probably isn’t a good idea to have a yearly, commercial holiday revolving around motherhood. 

And yet, here we are again.

I might possibly get a text message today from my eldest and a sort-of-acknowledgement from my youngest.  My middle child pretends I don’t exist.  The last contact, of sorts, I had with my mother was about 7 years ago when she sent me back any mementos she had been keeping of me – first birthday cards, photos, baby toys etc.  

There would have been times when I’d allow myself to wallow in the bittersweetness of the day.  Pulled along by memories of the past when situations were different and buying into the idea that one day a year should be given to show gratitude for motherhood in all its messy glory.

It has taken a lot of inner work to come to peace with today.

I have felt deep shame at not being the daughter or mother expected of me.  Guilt has eaten at me for all the mistakes I made.  I’ve grieved hard for the dead relationships I have with living family.  I’ve seen myself as the victim and the perpetrator.  I’ve felt I had failed the hardest challenge of my life – motherhood.

In recent years, I’ve been tracing my maternal family tree (on and off because it is much harder to trace women than men).  Piecing together what I know of my maternal family and what I’ve found in documents, I’ve noticed a pattern of loss and estrangement.

My story has threads running through it from at least my great-grandmother.

The wounds we carry might not be just our own but part of family history.

There is so much healing to be done. 

I’ve come to a place of acceptance.  I can’t change how my son or mother sees me or how they choose to interact with me.  But I can change myself.

I can practice forgiveness.

I can be grateful for everything, including the situations that have taught me so much through heartache.

And I can choose to enjoy Mother’s Day no matter what. 

If you’re not too fond of Mother’s Day, I invite you to enjoy it with me.  Put your story aside and celebrate you. 

Buy your own chocolates or flowers if you want them, eat cake, start a gratitude list, enjoy Mother Earth, forget about the housework, read a book, create something, nourish someone you love (including yourself). 

Choose to be happy today.

Love yourself.

Don’t be defined by the past or by a commercial holiday – you are SO much more than that.

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