Supporting Friends who Struggle on Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be a wonderful time to celebrate the most special woman in your life, but what if your Mom isn't around? Maybe you're estranged, maybe she's passed on, maybe she just lives far away, but it still hurts every time you get those emails from Shari's Berries with a discount coupon. 

Mother's Day sadness can also come when you are trying to have a family and struggling, or maybe you've lost a child. 

These are all reminders of a day that should be filled with joy, but for you it's full of sadness. 

Here are some ways you can support your friends who need you this week. 

If your friend is struggling with child loss or infertility: 

1. Talk about it. Again, you can bring up the topic of Mother’s Day if they’ve shared their challenge with wanting children with you before. If they haven’t, it may be best not to go there.

2. Listen. If your friend opens up to you about their desire for a baby or their apprehension about Mother’s Day, listen. As Dr. Johnstone suggests, “Don’t give advice. I can’t count the number of my patients who have been brought to tears by a well-intentioned friend suggesting they ‘just relax and take a vacation, it’ll happen’ after years of unsuccessful attempts.”

3. Acknowledge their experience. You might not know how your friend feels about Mother’s Day, but you can acknowledge that it’s not easy for them. This goes a long way at a time when aspiring parents can feel left out.

4. Be sensitive. You can be excited about your pregnancy or that of another close friend, but share that excitement with someone else. It might be too painful to hear for your friend who wants children but doesn’t have them.

5. Invite them to do something that’s not kid focused. Suggest some adult-only plans so that your friend isn’t confronted with happy families at every turn. Go to a movie, sip wine at a tasting room, or dance at a concert.

6. Offer to help them plan how to spend the day. If they are close to your family, invite them to your Mother’s Day celebration. If they prefer to be alone, respect their wishes. Offer to check in or drop off a treat at their door.


If your friend is having a tough time missing their mom: 

I love you.I'm thinking about you today.I know what a sucky day this can be for people.If you need to talk, call me.

But to be honest, you really don't have to say anything at all. No one is trying to steal your Mother's Day thunder. The motherless daughter doesn't need you to shy away from your wonder and gratitude for the woman who gave you life. She just needs you to be comfortable with grief joining us for a bit. Make some space on the couch, or maybe offer it one of the leftover muffins you made. Because when we refuse to be motivated and intimidated by the fear of losing, we make space in ourselves for what grief can gift. We allow ourselves to be grateful for knowing and being known by others, for whatever time we are given.


Whatever the situation may be, Mother's Day is a great time to not only celebrate Mother's, but the great women who inspire you every day!

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