Posted by: Nancy Day-Achauer | May 6, 2009

The Dark Side of Mothers’ Day

     I have been thinking about how to handle Mothers’ Day at church this Sunday. I was wondering about the mother in my church whose son died, this must be a hard day for her. There may be other mothers in the congregation who have experienced the death of a child or maybe they have had miscarriages and missed the opportunity of their children ever being born. There are probably other women who will be suffering on this day too. Maybe someone had a child when she was young and put him/her up for adoption and now mourns the child she’ll never know. There’s also a chance someone in the congregation had an abortion that she feels guilty about. Maybe there’s someone in the congregation who mourns never having the opportunity to be a mother. It’s also likely there are some women who feel remorse for not having been a good mother. This will be a tough day for a lot of women for different reasons.

     And women are not the only ones suffering on Mothers’ Day. If your mother is dead (particularly if you’re young) it could be a tough day. Some people have mothers with Alzheimer’s and other physical and mental disorders that prevent them from being the mothers they used to be. These people are likely longing for the mother they knew who no longer exists. It will be a tough day for people who have strained relationships with their mothers and also for those whose mother abandoned, neglected, or abused them. A holiday commemorating mothers is not a happy occasion for everyone.

    Mothers’ Day can create a lot of heartache for people and they probably won’t say anything to anyone about how they’re hurting. I suspect they’ll probably bottle up their feelings because they don’t want to spoil the day for others. We need to be aware that some people around us need comfort on Mothers’ Day; please hold them in your prayers. And if you are one of those in need, please share your hurt with a trusted friend or clergy and know that God’s comfort and healing is always available and freely given to all who are open to receiving it.

     If you would like me to pray for you let me know, Ill be glad to include you in my prayers. And if you want to learn about experiencing God’s love in your life please contact me.  Knowing God’s love is a wonderful experience that can enrich your life and I don’t want you to miss out.



  1. Hi Nancy,
    I appreciate your reflections on this. I know of several people in my congregation for whom Mother’s Day is really hard. There is a great need for sensitivity on this and other celebrations throughout the year. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. And don’t forget those who were abandoned and abused by their mothers, for the celebrations also exclude them. I made a comment on Facebook that vanished regarding an essay by Robert Fulghum about preaching on Mother’s Day resembling dancing in a minefield!
    One other thought–what is the traditional family, and who is mother??
    I agree with Robin—all holidays require reflection!

  3. Sadly, Mother’s Day can be used to heap guilt on families by mothers, by the telephone company, by florists and other retailers. I really appreciate the original intention of the holiday as a way to point out the travesty and violence of war and to seek an end to the death of children. Everyone who dies in a war was someone’s child. Also, we rarely give as much notice of Father’s Day when it comes along.

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