For some of us, Mother’s Day is a day full of love and happiness. A day when we get to celebrate our loving moms and be celebrated ourselves. For others, this day is a reminder that we’re missing out on one of the most important relationships a woman can have. On a day when endless photos and messages of love fill our social media feeds—and when it feels like everyone has something you don’t—the loss can feel stronger than ever.
I want to speak to those of you who, like me, don’t know what it feels like to receive that unconditional love.
Missing out on a relationship that it seems most people have has been one of the most lonely and painful things I’ve ever gone through. I always dreamed of having a close relationship with my mom and don’t know that those dreams will ever go away. With therapy and time, I have learned and am still learning to accept who she is and the grief that comes along with that loss.
Missing out on a relationship that it seems most people have has been one of the most lonely and painful things I’ve ever gone through. I always dreamed of having a close relationship with my mom and don’t know that those dreams will ever go away.
For as long as I can remember, there was a dark cloud, lack of interest, or a jab to make me feel like I had failed or wasn’t enough. Getting through big life events like launching The Everygirl and The Everymom, getting engaged and married, and becoming a mother without the support of my own mother has been awful. I wish I could say I just got through it easily, but that wasn’t the case.
When the news of first pregnancy (an olive branch on my end, shared on Thanksgiving) was met with a cold “congratulations,” I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to stop trying because I could no longer take the pain, and it wasn’t just about me anymore. I had a baby to protect from this pain and could no longer spend months feeling sad and anxious.
I have received more support from strangers on the Internet surrounding my career, marriage, and motherhood than I have from my own mother. There is a mix of gratitude and pain in all of it—two feelings that can very much coexist. I won’t get to celebrate my mom this year, but I can spend the day loving my sweet little girls and feeling immense gratitude for both of them.
I won’t get to celebrate my mom this year, but I can spend the day loving my sweet little girls and feeling immense gratitude for both of them.
While I wish I could tell you that having a baby erased all the pain, sadly, that’s not the case. I became a mom to Margot almost three years ago and she hasn’t “fixed” what was broken, but she has filled my heart in a way that I didn’t know was possible. The loss still exists and sometimes, it feels really sad knowing how much I love my daughter and that no one showed that kind of love to me. Hurting her feelings would break me, so I can’t seem to wrap my head around the way I was spoken to and treated.
There’s the pain in knowing I did not get to experience being loved the way I love Margot, and the gift of getting to love and be loved by her. It is healing knowing I get to be a mother who loves my girls unconditionally, lifts them up, and supports them through everything. Ultimately, there’s hope in all of this. In the struggles I’ve gone through that have helped others feel less alone. In getting to be a loving mother to my own babies.
I am stronger than I think I am, and so are you.
Sharing my story over the years has helped some of you feel less alone, and it’s given some purpose to what I’ve gone through. To what I’m still going through. If you lost your mother, are grieving a relationship you wish you had with your own mom, aren’t yet a mother yourself, or are grieving the loss of a child, know that you are not alone today.
This article was originally published on May 8, 2020 and some details may reflect its original publish date.