What to do When Mother’s Day is the Hardest Day of the Year

The Mother’s Dream

The Mother’s Dream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many women, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year.  Perhaps you are one of these women who have little to no contact with your child, outlived your child, tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child, or lost your child through a miscarriage or abortion.  Just the mention of Mother’s Day brings to the surface the emotions you have long tucked away of disappointment, deep sadness, distress, dejection, and despair.

Yet you are torn because in many ways you have learned to move forward.  You avoid the crowded churches, shops, and restaurants on Mother’s Day, spend time with other mothers or your mother, or even remind yourself how grateful you are to have had a child.  But the heaviness in your heart is still there and despite the good moments of the day, you really can’t wait for the day to end.

Will it always be this way?  Yes and no.  Much like other holidays which exist for the purpose of remembering the lives that have been lost such as Memorial Day or Veterans Day, Mother’s Day will be for you a memorial of sorts.  It is a day to remember what was lost or never even gained in the first place.  But just as the anniversary of a person you lost brings back memories and feeling, over time, the emotions won’t be so intense.

How can I survive this day?  Reserve a portion of your day for the purpose of being alone with your thoughts and feelings.  Don’t take the entire day to do this or pretend that you don’t need to do it at all, instead take care of yourself and give yourself a gift of remembrance.  This is a good time to journal your thoughts, allow the tears to flow, and pray.  Then choose to spend your day surrounded with people who love you and are sensitive to your feelings.

What do I say to others?  Be honest.  If you really want to go somewhere on Mother’s Day, speak up; if you don’t, say so.   If you are sad, don’t pretend that you are not.  Set reasonable expectations for yourself and for others instead of assuming they already know what you are thinking or feeling.  Then communicate those expectations kindly to minimize the hurt feelings later.

Why am I having anxiety over this now?  Even if your loss occurred many years ago, you might find a sudden resurgence in your emotions this year compared to previous years.  While the intensity may be less than the initial Mother’s Day, for some reason, this year is hitting you harder.  This is perfectly normal.  Take a moment to reflect on your life and see if there is any new circumstance lately in a relationship or your environment.  Your increased anxiety may actually be misplaced anxiety over new things that you are not properly addressing.  By addressing the new things, the old issues will subside again.

Everyone has hard days during the year that are more difficult than others to get through.  Mother’s Day seems a bit crueller because everyone else appears so happy.  Just remember that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings, many other women feel the exact same way and sometimes it takes the courage of one person to say this is a hard day to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Healing from an Abortion

Charlotte's Newborn Session

Charlotte’s Newborn Session (Photo credit: Christine ™)

This is a wonderful heartfelt letter from a mother to her aborted son.  The “F Word” is forgiveness and in it she asks for forgiveness from her son.  If you have struggled with how to heal from an abortion and find yourself thinking about how old your child would be or what he/she would be like, then this letter is an excellent example of a portion of the healing process.  You can heal from abortion.  You can be forgiven.  But you can neither be healed or forgiven if you don’t acknowledge the pain and seek help.  Hopefully this letter will inspire you.

The F Word, Part 2: A Letter to Aiden.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Dealing with the ghosts of your sexual past

One of the most frequently asked questions by couples preparing to get married are, “How much of my sexual past do I need to reveal to my partner?”  While this can be a difficult question to answer, there are some basic guidelines to follow.

  1. Don’t lie.  Starting off your marriage with a lie is not a strong foundation and sooner or later the truth will come out in the most horrible way.  Even though it might hurt your partner’s feelings or you might potentially lose them, it is far better to be honest and suffer the immediate consequences then it is to lie and live with life-long guilt and much worse consequences.  Remember a lie is not just speaking untruthfully; it is also withholding the truth.
  2. Disclose any health hazards.  Some states require that you disclose any sexually transmitted diseases or infections before they offer a marriage license.  If you or anyone you have slept with has or has the potential for a STD (sexually transmitted disease), STI (sexually transmitted infection) or HIV/AIDS, you must tell your partner.  It is lying to do otherwise.  While on this subject, it is a good idea for you to be tested prior to marriage as there are many types of STD’s or STI’s some of which cause or contribute to infertility.
  3. Disclose any sexual abuse.  If you have been sexually abused or molested as a child, raped as an adult, or the victim of sexually harassment, you must tell your partner.  This may be an embarrassing admission on your part, just remember you were the victim.  And as a victim of a sexual crime the potential for some word, phrase, touch, look or position to trigger memories from the past is likely.  Your partner needs to know of your triggers so as to protect you and not add to any re-traumatizing.
  4. Disclose any abortions.  Statistically, one in three women has had an abortion, so it is likely that either you or your partner were involved in an abortion.  While this topic may be controversial and seem more like a private matter, not disclosing it is again a lie.  Your partner may feel differently about abortions than you and this is an opportunity to learn more about each other. Also when you have children in the future you might feel differently about abortions and the remorse may surprise both of you at a time when you should be feeling joyful.
  5. Disclose any addictions.  Pornography is addictive and any and all uses of it should be disclosed to your partner.  While it may seem like most people look at pornography at some point in their lives and the need for it will disappear with marriage, too often this is not the case.  After the honeymoon wears off and problems surface in your marriage, escaping to pornography to feel better can and frequently does happen.  Knowing your partner’s weaknesses and setting necessary boundaries such as an internet filter is demonstrating love for them.  Ignoring the problem and hoping it will just go away is foolish.
  6. Disclose any sexual crimes.  Sexual crimes are molestation, incest, rape, abuse, harassment, trafficking, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sex with animals, or obscenities.  If you have been found guilty of a sexual crime, you must disclose it.  If you have been cleared of charges of a sexual crime, you should still disclose it.  If you have committed a sexual crime but have never been caught, you should disclose it.
  7. Disclose any adultery.  If you have been involved in an adulterous affair, disclose it.  While the affair may have ended a long time ago and you have parted ways without speaking about it, the guilt of having committed the offense will repeatedly torment you.
  8.  Don’t give too much detail.  While you must be honest about your past, too much detail about frequency, positions, locations, or anything else that could cause your partner to fantasize about you having sex with someone else is dangerous.  Say enough to be honest but not too much to cause your partner harm.
  9. Ask for forgiveness.  Once you have found the right partner, the other sexual partners of the past seem to fade in comparison.  However, the reality is that you did not wait to have sex with just your partner and this is precisely why you are having reading this article.  One of the hardest things to do is admit that you were wrong for having sex with anyone other than your marriage partner.  So begin by asking God for forgiveness and then ask your future spouse for forgiveness.
  10. Better to ask.  If your partner is secretive and refuses to disclose any information about their sexual past, be direct and ask them about the above points of disclosure.  If they are still not forthcoming, then seek professional help.  It may be that your partner is more comfortable dealing with this issue with a professional or it may be that they are unwilling to be honest.  If it is the latter, then know that you are building a marriage on unstable ground and it is likely to fail.

These guidelines are just that, guidelines.  They are not meant to be all-inclusive but they are meant to set the outside perimeter of what should be expected.  By discussing these issues prior to marriage, you will find more peace and less anxiety about your partner’s sexual behavior.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.