Mother’s Day is a special day dedicated to celebrating and honouring the mothers in our lives. It’s a day to express our gratitude for the love, support, and guidance they have provided us with. But for some people, Mother’s Day can also be a source of stress and anxiety, particularly if their relationship with their mother is strained or if they have experienced loss or trauma related to motherhood.
The importance of attachment
Attachment theory is a psychological framework that explains the emotional bond that forms between infants and their primary caregivers, usually the mother. The quality of this attachment can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health and well-being throughout their life. Research has shown that secure attachment is associated with higher levels of emotional regulation, better self-esteem, and more positive social relationships.
But not all individuals have had the privilege of experiencing secure attachment with their mothers. For some, their relationship with their mother may be characterised by neglect, abuse, or other forms of trauma that can lead to complex emotions and psychological distress.
For individuals who have experienced difficult mother-child relationships, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of these experiences. Seeing others celebrate their relationships with their mothers can trigger feelings of jealousy, anger, or sadness. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and allow ourselves to feel them without judgement or shame.
Managing difficult emotions
If you are struggling with difficult emotions related to Mother’s Day, there are several strategies that you can use to help manage them.
- Validate your feelings. Recognise that it’s normal to feel a range of emotions related to Mother’s Day. You are not alone in experiencing these difficult feelings.
- Practise self-care. Engage in activities that promote self-care and self-compassion, such as meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature.
- Seek support. Reach out to friends or loved ones who can provide emotional support during this time. Consider seeing a therapist or counsellor who can help you process your feelings and develop coping strategies.
- Set boundaries. If being around family or social media is triggering for you, it’s okay to set boundaries and take a break. You don’t have to participate in celebrations or engage in activities that make you uncomfortable.
Celebrating Mother’s Day in a healthy way
While Mother’s Day can be a challenging time for some, it can also be an opportunity to celebrate the positive aspects of motherhood and maternal relationships. Here are some tips for celebrating Mother’s Day in a healthy way:
- Focus on gratitude. Take some time to reflect on the positive aspects of your relationship with your mother, or the positive maternal figures in your life. What qualities or experiences are you grateful for?
- Express your appreciation. Whether through a card, phone call, or in-person visit, expressing gratitude and appreciation for the maternal figures in your life can be a meaningful way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
- Embrace non-traditional motherhood. Motherhood comes in many forms, and it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the diverse ways that people experience and express maternal love. This includes adoptive mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, and other maternal figures.
- Practise self-care. Remember that taking care of your own mental health and well-being is just as important as celebrating Mother’s Day. Make sure to engage in activities that promote self-care and self-compassion.
Mother’s Day can be a time of celebration, but it can also be a source of stress and anxiety for some individuals. By recognising the impact of attachment on mental health, validating difficult emotions, and practising self-care and healthy celebration, we can navigate Mother’s Day in a way that honours our unique experiences and emotions while also celebrating the positive aspects of motherhood.
Remember, it’s OK to have complex feelings related to Mother’s Day, and there are resources available to help support you through this time.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.
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