When Mother’s Day Hurts: 6 Ways to Support Struggling Loved Ones

Mother’s Day brings images of vibrant flower bouquets, cards, and declarations of affection. It’s a day to celebrate the incredible women who raised us, nurtured us, and shaped us into who we are today. But, for many, Mother’s Day is a day of profound grief, disappointment, or a feeling of hollowness that brunches, cards, and laughter can’t fix.

It’s just one day, but this one day can trigger waves of complicated emotions, leaving many of us feeling isolated and misunderstood. The cheerful motherhood posts on social media and societal expectations can feel like a punch to the gut for those struggling with loss, infertility, estranged relationships, or the pressure of motherhood itself.

The silence surrounding these struggles can be deafening, making it seem like everyone else is basking in the warmth of familial joy, while others are left on the curb.

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, let’s break our silence on these struggles and explore why Mother’s Day can be hard on some people, acknowledging the emotions that come with it, and how you can offer your support to those who are hurting.

Why Is Mother’s Day Hard On Some People?

While society clearly states its expectations about Mother’s Day – with a brush of joy, let me add – the reality is far more complicated. While you might see people taking their moms out for brunches, buying them gifts, and pampering them all day, Mother’s Day can be mentally and emotionally challenging for others.


For one, Mother’s Day can be a stark reminder of the absence of a mom who has passed away. The day can be filled with a deep sense of longing and a painful awareness of the void her absence leaves. It’s never easy to move on from a loss, and it’s painfully hard when it’s your mom. Imagining my life without my mother is enough to make me teary, so imagine how hard it can be for those who have lost theirs.

Another reason Mother’s Day can be tough for some people can be an estranged relationship with their moms. A complicated relationship with your mom can make Mother’s Day feel inauthentic or obligatory. Feelings of anger, resentment, or disappointment can overshadow any positive emotion you might otherwise feel.

Mother’s Day can be a time for intense grief for those struggling with infertility issues or who have experienced miscarriage. Seeing others celebrate motherhood can be a painful reminder of their own unfulfilled dreams of holding and caring for their little ones. Even more painful can be the day for moms who have lost a child. Mother’s Day might be a day of joy, but it can also be a day of overwhelming sadness.

Being a mother doesn’t come easy. It’s a demanding and thankless job – even on Mother’s Day. This joyful occasion can highlight the exhaustion, overwhelm, and sacrifices that come with motherhood, leaving mothers all around feeling undervalued and unappreciated.

What to Do When Mother’s Day Isn’t Happy For Some?

If you have a loved one – partner, friend, family member, sibling, or even your mom – who is struggling on Mother’s Day, here are some ways you can offer your support;

Don’t Ignore The Pain

Let your loved one know you understand that Mother’s Day might be difficult for them. Validate their feelings, offer a listening ear without judgment, and don’t ignore what they are experiencing.

Offer Your Help

Don’t just say “Let me know if you need anything” – offer your help, but be specific. Offer to run errands for them, watch their kids for them, or just buy them some gifts to help them take care of themselves during this difficult time and complicated emotions.

See What They Need

Mother’s Day, for your loved one, might not be a day of great gestures or forced cheer, so focus on that. See what your loved one needs. Do they need some quiet time and space? Give them that and respect their choice. Do they need a distraction? Plan a low-key activity you can do together.

Introduce New Traditions

If traditional Mother’s Day celebrations are painful, then try and create new traditions that address your struggling loved one’s emotions and give them plenty of self-care. This could include having a spa day, a hike in nature, or staying home with a good book and company.

Celebrate Mother Figures

If your loved one (or you) are grieving the loss of a mother or missing the warmth of motherhood, then celebrate mother figures instead. We all have important women in our lives – grand moms, aunts, sisters, close friends – women who played a role in nurturing us. Celebrate them instead. Buy them a present to express your gratitude.

Share Your Love & Understanding

Grief, disappointment, or the emotional toll of motherhood can’t be erased overnight. If your loved one is buckling under the pressure of motherhood – impending or ongoing – be there for them. I know how hard it can be to face societal expectations, and if your loved one is facing it, then be patient with them and offer your support – as you can.

Motherhood & Mental Health

Motherhood is a complex and emotional experience. While it can be gratifying, it can also take a toll on the mental health of a mom – and her loved ones.

Here’s how motherhood can impact mental health;

Postpartum Depression: It’s a serious mood disorder that affects some women after childbirth. Symptoms can include intense sadness, anxiety, fatigue, and trouble bonding with the baby.
Maternal Anxiety: Many mothers experience anxiety throughout their pregnancy and motherhood. This anxiety can be childbirth-related or related to the baby’s health, finances, or their own well-being.
Mom Guilt: The societal pressure to be a “perfect” mom can lead to overwhelming feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and inadequacy.

These mental health challenges can be further exacerbated by the unrealistic Mother’s Day expectations and the picture-perfect portrayal of motherhood.

If you or your loved one is struggling with these issues or other mental health challenges that come with Mother’s Day, then here are some resources to help you;

Postpartum Support International
National Alliance on Mental Illness
American Psychological Association

You can also connect with professional counselors or therapists to talk about your feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Writer’s Thoughts…

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the incredible women who raised us and taught us to become who we are today. But, it’s also important to remember that the reality of motherhood is diverse, and the day can be a painful reminder of grief, loss, struggle, or unfulfilled dreams for many. Showing empathy, support, and kindness can go a long way in soothing the hearts of those who might not be feeling the joy of the occasion.

Let’s move beyond the Hallmark card version of Mother’s Day and create a safe space for our loved ones to express their feelings and find the support they need to cope with their emotions – this day and all days ahead.

I hope this article helped you find ways to support your loved ones on Mother’s Day. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Take Care!

Also Read: 

How To Overcome Stay-At-Home Mom Burnout (SAHM): Penned By a Mother!

I Hate Being A Mom: What To Do? (Penned By A Mother)

Make Your Mom Smile This Mother’s Day! 12 Best Self-Care Gift Ideas For Moms

The post When Mother’s Day Hurts: 6 Ways to Support Struggling Loved Ones appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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