Reflections on Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be quite an emotional and meaningful day, says Dr Michelle O'Driscoll
Reflections on Motherhood

Mother's Day is a great time for reflection says Dr Michelle O'Driscoll. Picture: Stock

ANOTHER year, another Mother’s Day. It rolls around so fast, and since last year, many more women have become a mum, or have encountered a turn or twist in their motherhood journey.

Interestingly, Mother’s Day has been around as an official holiday since 1907, after Anna Jarvis in America lost her mum, Ann Reeves Jarvis. She created the celebration to honour the sacrifices that mothers make for their children. It has grown in ways that I’m sure Anna could never have imagined, and is now a key date in the calendar.

Roots of our honouring of mothers can be seen right back to ancient Greek and Roman times, however, we haven’t always needed an official holiday to celebrate them. Below are some thoughts about Mother’s Day this year, maybe they will resonate or help in some way.

Bring it back to its core meaning

Is it another day of hype? Maybe. Another reason for greeting card companies to rake in the profits? Probably. Is it a commercial excuse for spending and being materialistic? Absolutely! But paring all of that back, I find Mother’s Day to be quite an emotional and meaningful one too.

As a daughter, I take stock of how lucky I am to have the mum that I have, with all that she has done and continues to do for me. As a mum myself, it’s a day of acknowledging how hard a journey it is, but how far I’ve come along that path and how I wouldn’t change a second of it.

Over time, I’ve begun to reflect more on the personal stories and individual situations of loved ones who haven’t yet become mums, are a mum to an angel baby, have lost their mum, don’t want to be a mum, or are a mother figure to me or somebody else through their sheer kindness and selfless generosity of spirit.

What do you really need?

While the chocolates and flowers are always very welcome, sometimes it’s the gestures rather than the commercial tokens that are most appreciated.

And the mistake that we make is to assume that our loved ones are mind readers, and will know exactly what you would appreciate the most this Mother’s Day. Would breakfast in bed and a lazy morning off duty help to recharge the batteries? Would a hand around the house be gratefully received?

Maybe getting to arrange a date with your children who are otherwise too cool to be seen with you would mean the world?

Say it out and see what response you get, they may well be chuffed to oblige and make your day.

Counting our blessings

Being a mother in this country right now of course has its huge challenges, but keeping these in perspective and being consciously grateful for the safety and luxury of a roof over our heads and a safe bed to sleep in if that is what we’ve got is also important.

The world has been rocked by images of maternity hospitals being attacked, women bringing their children across country borders to protect them from war, and babies being born in bomb shelters. These mothers show such strength and resilience it would take your breath away. Keep them in our thoughts while we celebrate what we’re so lucky to have.

No right way

Maybe Mother’s Day is something you celebrate, or something you don’t. It has different dates in different countries around the world, and really is something that you can adapt as you see fit. Celebrate it how you want to, or if you want to. 

Mark it however feels right for you, and if it feels right for you.

Don’t get sucked into the superficial aspects of it, and keep the key emotions and message to the forefront.

Be conscious of others’ experiences and journeys and be gentle with yourself if your story isn’t one of happiness. Tomorrow is another day, and mothers will still continue to do what they do, the world keeps turning.

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