Protective Factors Against the Pain of Mother’s Day

Desi

Mother’s Day seems to be that one holiday a year where women of all walks of life are divided on their feelings with respect to the day and what it represents. (Similarly with Father’s Day for men.) I have friends who are pampered and tended to on Mother’s Day, their spouse and children doling out what they (as mother) so lovingly dole out to said spouse and children over the rest of the 364 days of the year. Definitely a nice change and something for them to look forward to. Other friends do the same thing on Mother’s Day that they do every other day – take care of the ever-so-many details and pieces that keep a busy home running smoothly (as possible). Other friends and family, including my own mom, despise the day – feeling like the perfect model of motherhood is esteemed so highly that they cannot hope to reach that lofty ideal. I have single-childless and married-childless friends who try to just buckle down and get through the day without an emotional breakdown. In addition, I have other single-childless and married-childless friends who LOVE Mother’s Day and all of the happiness that the day can entail, celebrating their own mothers, loving to be a mother to nieces, nephews, primary children and neighbor children.

Just as each of us have a varied reaction to the day, each of us have varied ways of dealing with the emotions involved, both good and ill.

Among the members of our Childless Mormon Facebook group there are different feelings and responses to the day as well. Just because we are all childless does not mean we approach the day in the same manner. However, no matter how our varied experiences have led us to our childless-in-this-life situation, we all acknowledge pain associated with Mother’s Day.

What can you do to provide a protective factor against the recurring pains which may be associated with Mother’s (and Father’s) Day?

I propose that you remember to take care of yourself. In the LDS culture there is much to be said about service and losing yourself in the service of others; however, we also need to carefully balance that Christ-like service with a healthy self-care plan. You can only give what you have left to give, and by tending your own heart and mind, you have more left to give others. Self-care is not self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is often used as an escape mechanism and to avoid dealing with real or perceived situations/emotions. Self-care is not something you do when you need to get away, but something you should do regularly!

In order for you to have healthy coping mechanisms (for every day, not just Mother’s/Father’s Day) you need to give yourself some acceptance and some nurturance. Look at what you are doing to take care of yourself. There are four basic areas for self-care: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, and Mental. Each has ways that you can take care of yourself that can make up for any areas you may be weaker in. For example, if you are doing well meeting your physical self-care needs, it may help compensate for your more neglected mental or emotional self-care.

 Self Care Wheel, Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, Mental means a Healthy Me

Self-Care areas

  1. Physical
    1. Eating healthy
    2. Indulge a little, gift yourself
    3. Go for walks
    4. Notice the flavors of your food
    5. Bubble bath!
    6. Dress for how you want to feel
    7. Do things that make you feel like a kid again! Go for a bike ride, a picnic, or color a picture
  1. Emotional
    1. Don’t take your feelings out on others
    2. Turn off the phone sometimes – give yourself the gift of YOU time!
    3. Avoid, or embrace, being around people (according to your needs)
    4. It’s ok to have needs and to work to get them met!
    5. Become less rigid in your beliefs around your value as a woman being irrevocably connected to being a mother (or a man being a father)
    6. Seek out others who are helpful and supportive. You don’t do this all alone.
    7. Read a book
    8. Create a playlist with music that gives you energy and makes you smile
  1. Spiritual
    1. Don’t run away from the loving Heavenly Father who can support you best – even when it feels like a good way to numb the pain
    2. Turn to the scriptures for comfort
    3. The Ensign and Conference talks have been growing more inclusive of all individuals, they can be great places of comfort as well as spiritual growth
    4. Pour yourself into being an awesome visiting teacher!
    5. Eagerly fulfill callings
    6. Take nature breaks or find other ways to connect with our Heavenly Father on more days than just Sunday
  1. Mental
    1. It’s ok to say no when you need to!
    2. Take part in positive self-talk
    3. Challenge negative self-talk
    4. Don’t allow yourself to be in “victim mode” where you believe things happen to you and you forget your agency in how you react to triggers
    5. Challenge yourself to learn something new
    6. Meditate
    7. Develop a new hobby or skill

Taking care of yourself is not selfish, but rather essential. As you take care of the whole you, you are able to move beyond fear and grief into an authentically joyful life where the abundant blessings of a loving Heavenly Father are once again clear in your eyes. He believes in you and has a plan for you. Adopting a self-care plan goes far in developing a positive attitude towards yourself and your place in His plan for you, as well as creating a space in which you can have a truly joyful life.

Keep Calm and Practice Self Care

Desi blogs from experiences in both her personal infertility journey and her professional training as a Marriage and Family Therapist to provide insights into strengthening marriage and easing the grieving process.

Desi
Author:
"I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength" Alex Elle

12 Comments

  1. April 16, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Great topic, and good wisdom, thank you for sharing!

    For self-care or goal setting, I also like to refer to Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Jesus as our example improved and focused on His personal needs. His areas of focus include knowledge, physical stature, spiritual, and interpersonal.

    • Desi
      DesiReply
      May 8, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      Very good point Rick. Thanks for contributing and for the reminder that taking care of our personal needs is also a way we can model our Savior. (And thanks honey, for reading my posts! You’re a great husband to me!)

  2. April 16, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Thanks it gave me such an uplift. I love your words and felt it was you. You help so much, I am glad you are my and our sister. The love we share helps us so much

    • Desi
      DesiReply
      May 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you Kirsten! I am glad we have each other too! Being able to lean on each other is one of my favorite parts of our sisterhood.

  3. Katie
    April 16, 2014 at 6:23 am

    This is fantastic! Thanks for the amazing reminder!

    • Desi
      DesiReply
      May 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Katie! Something I have to remind myself every now and then too…

  4. April 17, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you. Good reminders for us all!

    • Desi
      DesiReply
      May 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks for commenting and for reading Elizabeth! I need to be reminded of the importance of stopping and taking care of myself sometimes too.

  5. Janell
    April 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    This is a wise reminder of how important self-care is, not just on difficult days but every day of the year!

    • Desi
      DesiReply
      May 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Every day for sure! And especially this coming weekend!

  6. May 7, 2014 at 2:52 am

    I just found your website after reading this months lds living issue. It has been such a huge relief for me to know that there are other people who have been through and are going through the same thing as me. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t fit in because I am not a mother and have prayed countless hours wondering what to do about that feeling. It is so relieving to know that others feel the same way. I love this list you give about taking care of yourself. I also love that you said self-care is not self-indulgence. Thanks for the article and website!

    • Desi
      DesiReply
      May 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      I am so glad you found us then Lizzie! It’s so hard to feel alone and that feeling of relief is one that I feel too in finding this group on online sisters. Welcome, and stick around!

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