Navigating Mother’s Day Celebrations When It’s Hard

Lindsay Knake

| 3 min read

Mother’s Day can be a beautiful time to celebrate mothers, grandmothers, and mothers-to-be. But for those experiencing grief of loss, difficult or estranged relationships, or challenges with fertility, the day can be a heavy one. 
The history of the holiday is more than 100 years old and started as a memorial. Copywriter Anna Jarvis held a celebration in Philadelphia in 1908 to remember her own late mother, according to Time Magazine. It has evolved into a celebration of mothers, abundant with flowers, cards, and gifts.
If Mother’s Day is difficult for you, here are tips to manage:

Talk with a specialist

About 11%of women of reproductive age have experienced fertility problems, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Those challenges can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and grief, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Talking to a fertility specialist about managing the hormonal changes that can come with fertility treatment or therapist who understands fertility challenges who can provide emotional support.

Talk with others

Going through tough experiences alone can be one of the biggest challenges. If you have friends, siblings, or family members who have lived through the same experience, sharing your emotions can help both of you. Support groups or online support communities, which you can find through Resolve, the National Infertility Association, can connect you with others.

Set boundaries

If you have a difficult relationship with your own mother, mother-in-law, stepmother, or grandmother and you’ll see them on the holiday, set boundaries or time limits for the day. Plan to leave at a specific time or take breaks to breathe or meditate during the event to provide relief. Think of ways to politely steer conversations away from topics you don’t want to discuss, such as your own plans for children.


Have self-compassion and don’t feel like you need to enjoy or recognize Mother's Day. Allow yourself to feel the emotions you have rather than pressuring yourself to feel happy or joyful.

Utilize opt-out options from email marketing

Many companies now send emails offering opt outs from Mother’s Day messaging, making it easy to avoid the messaging that might be difficult for you.

Take a social media break

Allow yourself to close Facebook and Instagram for a few days so you don’t see your friends’ and family members’ posts about Mother’s Day.

Create new traditions and memories

Whether you want to take time to remember loved ones or do something else altogether, creating new traditions can be a way to give yourself what you need.

Supporting someone else

If you are supporting someone who has a hard time with Mother’s Day, check in with them and ask how you can support them.
Photo credit: Getty Images 

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