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Redefining Mother's Day

Exploring Its Complexities Beyond Societal Norms

Where Did Mother's Day Originate From?

Mother's Day holds roots in ancient times where maternal figures were celebrated with the modern Mother's Day emerging in the early 20th century in the US with other countries/cultures modeling and following suit.

Julia Ward Howe, in 1872, had initially suggested Mother's Day to be June 2nd and be a day dedicated to peace, however, this didn't completely come to fruition. Following Julia a few decades later, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in 1908 and in 1909 she campaigned for Mother's Day to be recognized as a national holiday. In 1914, US President Woodrow Wilson signed the Mother's Day proclamation making it a national holiday to honor mothers.

Since its inception, Mother's Day has been adapted across the globe in various countries and cultures to celebrate mothers. The days may vary and the specific customs may differ, but the premise remains the same - a celebration of motherhood.

Breaking Societal Molds

The question posed sounds so simplistic but is actually much deeper. Motherhood is defined by as the state of being a mother; maternity, the qualities or spirit of a mother, and mothers collectively. Again, simple, but is it really?

There are a lot of forms of motherhood and it's easy to forget that in the simplicity of what society shapes this concept to be. In fact, motherhood in and of itself is hard and the journey to it, even harder. See, there are a lot of twists and turns family building can take; From pre-conception planning, becoming unexpectedly pregnant, to pregnancy itself, infertility, pregnancy and infant loss, medically fragile babies, and more the landscape of this experience is vast and often not talked about enough.

Society often portrays motherhood through a narrow lens, emphasizing the image of a glowing, expectant mother cradling her newborn, surrounded by a supportive family. While this is undoubtedly a beautiful part of the motherhood narrative, it's essential to recognize that it's just one facet of a much broader spectrum.

In the grand tapestry of human experience, few journeys are as transformative and profound as motherhood. Yet, amidst the clichés and stereotypes perpetuated by society, the true depth and diversity of this journey often get overshadowed. It's time to peel back the layers and acknowledge the myriad forms that motherhood can take, from the joyful moments to the heart-wrenching challenges.

Navigating the Unexpected

The path to motherhood is rarely a straight and smooth one. It's filled with unexpected twists and turns that can test one's strength and resilience. Some embark on the journey through meticulous pre-conception planning, while others find themselves surprised by the news of an impending arrival. Yet, for many, the road is fraught with obstacles such as infertility, pregnancy loss, and the heartache of medically fragile babies.

Acknowledging the Challenges & Embracing Every Journey

Infertility, a silent struggle borne by countless individuals, deserves far more recognition and support than it currently receives. The emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair that accompanies each attempt to conceive can take an immense toll on mental well-being. The process that is often minimized to "just relax and it'll happen," simply isn't that simple. The process is often long and arduous, the intimacy is removed replaced with clinical and sterile experiences, and there's pain in many forms. Supporting someone experiencing infertility could look like acknowledging their journey on a day like Mother's Day, listening to them tell their story, and offering to cook them food or sending groceries around procedure days.

Similarly, the grief of pregnancy and infant loss is a pain that transcends words, yet it's often glossed over in conversations about motherhood. Death is often a tragedy and the younger the person, the more tragic and difficult it is, making pregnancy and infant loss the most tragic of it all; also making it a topic many are unable to conceptualize or talk about because they don't know what to say or do for someone who has experienced it. The silence is deafening and the unhelpful comments like "but at least you can try again," or "it wasn't meant to be," are minimizing of the experience likely to make those not experiencing it feel better. Instead, try acknowledging the loss, use the baby's name, and let the person tell their story without judgment.

Pregnancy, often depicted as a time of radiant beauty and joy, also presents significant challenges. Physically, it can bring about discomfort, fatigue, and hormonal fluctuations, while emotionally, it may trigger anxiety, fears, and mood swings. Complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia can further complicate the experience, adding layers of uncertainty and stress. Having a strong support system is crucial during this time, providing reassurance, empathy, and practical assistance. By recognizing the difficulties of pregnancy and offering support, we empower expectant parents to navigate this journey with resilience and confidence. Let's strive to create a culture where the challenges of pregnancy are acknowledged and addressed, ensuring that every pregnant individual feels valued, heard, and supported.

Adoption is a beautiful way to build a family and it also comes with its own set of challenges. The process itself can be lengthy, bureaucratic, and emotionally taxing, requiring patience, perseverance, and resilience from prospective parents. Moreover, navigating the legalities, financial implications, and emotional rollercoaster of adoption can be overwhelming for families involved. Supporting adoptive parents means providing not only practical assistance but also emotional support and understanding throughout the process. By acknowledging the challenges of adoption and offering support to families, we can ensure that every individual who chooses this path feels valued, respected, and empowered on their journey.

For some, this journey involves caring for medically fragile babies who require intensive medical attention, often in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This experience can be overwhelming, emotionally draining, and filled with uncertainty as parents navigate the complexities of their child's health while simultaneously grieving the "usual firsts." Witnessing babies hooked up to monitors and receiving medical interventions can evoke feelings of helplessness and fear. Supporting parents of medically fragile babies means offering not only practical assistance, such as helping with transportation, meals, and childcare for other siblings, but also emotional support and understanding, checking in regularly and also helping them feel "normal," when their world feels anything but.

Fostering Empathy and Understanding

As a society, it's crucial that we foster empathy and understanding towards all forms of motherhood. By acknowledging the diverse experiences and challenges faced by birthing people, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all. It's is a complex and multifaceted journey that defies easy categorization. It's time to move beyond the simplistic narratives perpetuated by society and embrace the rich diversity of experiences that define motherhood. Whether it's the joy of bringing a new life into the world or the resilience in the face of adversity, every parent's journey is unique and worthy of celebration. Let's honor and support all forms of motherhood, recognizing the strength and love that unite us all.



Money Saving Mom. (n.d.). When Mother's Day is hard: Hope and encouragement for you. Retrieved from

Old Farmer's Almanac. (n.d.). The History of Mother's Day. Retrieved from

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