Celebrating Mother’s Day – When you’re grieving your own Mother.
Thank you to Victoria at Wilde Iris for inviting me to speak up about the bitter sweet time of celebrations like this.
Each Mother’s Day I feel so lucky; my partner and the boys always make a fuss with gifts, flowers and days out and I know this year my 4-year-old will be an excited ball of cute energy.
But it is also such a bitter sweet day for me. A reminder that my own amazing Mum isn’t here to share these moments, to celebrate Motherhood and to see her grandsons growing up.
I lost my Mum when I was just eleven years old after years of seeing her suffer and deteriorate. My coping mechanism as a child and teenager was silence! I couldn’t talk about her at all with family or friends. So, every year Mother’s Day since 1995 was a really difficult day and a reminder of the massive piece of our family that was missing.
More recently social media makes this day even harder, seeing the influx of images and testimonials to people’s mums all over my feed is always so gut wrenching (which is ironic as I’m writing these words for an Instagram campaign!) I now try and have a phone free day to save my mental health.
I didn’t really grieve the loss of my parents properly until I become a mum myself – which came as a BIG shock! Throughout my 20’s I missed my mum (and dad, who I sadly lost at the age of 22!) but life was more distracting – university, full time jobs, travelling, festivals, fun with friends.
When my son William was a young baby, my partner quickly returned to working in London every day, the postnatal visits started to die down and close friends and family were spread across the country – it hit me like a tonne of bricks! My village of support, my own parents, the people who knew every detail of my own childhood we not here to help. Not here to share my experiences, to drop everything and come to help, to ask if I was doing ok, to make suggestions, to guide me and love my son with all of their hearts too.
As any mother reading this knows, that first year of becoming a parent yourself is CRAZY – the change of identity nobody prepares you for, the small human you’re solely responsible for keeping alive, the pressure from society to “bounce back” not to mention the lack of sleep, breastfeeding, hormones…. The list could go on! Even with a supportive partner, a great NCT group of friends and so much love and gratitude – I felt the need for my own parents more than ever. Simple questions I wanted to know such as; “How was I at sleeping” “Did I have any food allergies as a baby?” or simply “Am I going *this* right..?”
It has taken a lot of inner work, I found a great therapist, simple mindfulness techniques, and having to pull myself out of quite a grey place mentally to speak about this so publicly. I started sharing my story last year and found that when I did SO MANY other people were in a similar boat – also brushing their grief under the carpet and carrying on for the needs of the family!
So, I want to send all the mums on Mother’s Day who also find this day a bitter sweet experience, torn between wanting to enjoy the day with their own children but really missing their own mums too – the biggest of hugs and solidarity.
We are doing an incredible job and always remember our Mums are SO PROUD. It’s also ok to have a cry in front of the kids and explain to them why, maybe get out the old photo albums and share some stories of your own childhood with them. Keeping their story alive is something on my agenda going forward – no more brushing under carpets!!
Big hugs, Carys xx