For those facing grief and loss, Mother’s Day can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you look after yourself and others.

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If your mum, or mother figure, has died, or you are grieving the death of your child or the loss of a pregnancy – Mother’s Day can be difficult. The day, and the lead-up, can be filled with sadness and grief.

We all grieve differently – in a way which is right for us. You might feel grief about the relationship you have lost; the relationship you wish you had; or a sense of hopelessness for the future.

However you are feeling, know that it is OK to feel that way. Here are some tips that might help you to cope with the emotions that surface as you navigate Mother’s Day.

1. Make plans for yourself

Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t feel like doing. Instead, you can spend the day doing things you enjoy. There is no right or wrong way to feel, and no right or wrong way to spend the day.

If you’ve made plans to spend the day in a way you enjoy, you may feel more in control. Allow yourself to do whatever feels right to you.

2. Allow yourself to feel however you’re feeling

There is no right or wrong way to feel. Allow yourself to feel however it is you’re feeling.

It is important to remember that just because it is labelled as ‘Mother’s Day’ doesn’t mean you have to feel sad. For some people it will be a sad day, for others it may be a happy day. Some people will feel neither happy nor sad.

For some people, they might want to remember their mum on this day, while others may want to avoid it. And each year you may feel different – and that’s OK too.

It might be that your relationship with your mother was not a close one, or a loving one. You might even feel guilty that you’re not feeling as you think you ‘should’ – and that others around you might not understand, or judge you. However you are feeling, know that it is OK.

3. Be cautious when it comes to viewing social media

In the run up to Mother’s Day you may find your email inbox is flooded with ‘what to do this Mother’s Day’ marketing emails. On the day itself you may find your social media newsfeed is full of others sharing sentimental Mother’s Day posts.

This can lead to painful or unsettling emotions of grief, jealousy or loss. Know that it is OK to feel this way.

Be cautious of viewing social media, and be gentle on yourself. If viewing other people’s sentimental posts is hard, and making you feel worse, give yourself a break. It’s OK to turn off your social media, and avoid it for the day. After all, it is just one day, and then it will be over.

4. Cherish the memory of those you have lost

If it feels right for you, you could take some time to remember your loved one on Mother’s Day.

You could eat their favourite food, listen to their favourite music, or do an activity they enjoyed or that you used to do together.

You could light a candle to remember them, or visit a place that was special to them.

Giving time to these memories can be a great way to maintain your bond with them. Your love for them is still with you, and you can celebrate that today – if you want to.

5. Share their memory and talk about them

Mother’s Day can be a good chance to talk about your mum, or loved one, and share your memories of them.

Others may be unsure of bringing up a conversation about your loved one, but if you start the conversation, they will know you would like to speak about them.

You could ask people about their memories of your mother, look at photos together, and talk about your favourite times together.

This blog was written by Judit Kecskemeti. She is a BAPT Registered Play Therapist and Registered Member MBACP. Judit works at St Clare Hospice as a Child, Young People & Family Therapist.

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