Updated: May 12, 2018
Angel moms often grieve alone or in the sacred circles of close friends and family members, but national celebrations such as Mother’s Day can push us in a state of pain or discomfort. If you’re an angel mom and are already armoring up against what could be an emotional or annoying day, then this post is for you.
And if you’re a partner, family member, or friend of an angel mom, you’ll find some helpful tips here as well.
Let’s start with you beautiful moms...
The best advice I received after my loss is that my healing doesn’t have a timeline. I'll offer the same words to you. Regardless of when you experienced your loss, give yourself the permission and all the time in the world you need to heal. You’ve been through a lot! And if you become triggered or the emotions sneak up on you, be gentle with yourself. Your healing needs that gentleness.
Here are some more tips to help you to honor yourself this Mother's Day:
> Cry If You Want To:
Yes, you can damn well cry if you want to. Crying is healing. It releases toxins and stress hormones from the body. So as long as you feel safe enough, don't try to stop yourself from crying. And don't apologize for crying. This is your healing in action.
There are times when I feel a quiet kind of sadness within me. The only thing it wants is just for me to spend a moment with it. By accepting it's invitation, I've learned that it doesn't try to consume me - it just wants me to know that it's there. What I’ve found most comforting is simply being with that emotion and allowing myself to cry.
And if I feel led to it, I may look at photos of the baby, take a nap, or watch a sad movie. Yes, specifically a sad movie - one that reminds me that I am not alone, but also reminds me that it’ll be okay in the end. The Shack is a good one. Not only do I allow myself to cry, but I encourage it as this is helping me to release more and more sadness from the loss.
So your Sunday may very well be that kind of party if that’s what you feel the need to create space for. Decide on what movie you want to watch, or on other activities such as journaling or painting. Get your snacks and materials ahead of time. And also decide that it’s okay to cry.
> Only Hang Out With People You Like:
If you’re choosing to share your time with anyone else on Sunday, let it be with people you like. Let’s be real, family members can sometimes be annoying. So can friends and neighbors. And while it might be fine tolerating them on other days, this Sunday, protect your energy and your time.
If they’ve extended invitations, let them know you have other plans (even if those plans involve watching animated movies in your pj’s! That still counts!). Or you can tell them you’re practicing some self-care on Mother’s Day and prefer not to attend that brunch. No need to share how you’ll spend the day unless you want to.
Now, if you feel obligated to spend time with this person - if they’re your mother, for example - you still get to do what feels best for you. If you think spending time with this person will be difficult for you, let them know in advance. Also let them know how they can support you. Here’s an example of what you might say:
“Mom, Mother’s Day is usually hard for me. I know that you love me and that you mean well, but when you do say x, it makes me feel y. Could you be mindful of not doing this on Sunday? That would really help as I continue with my healing.”
This may lead to a dialogue and a growth opportunity for you both. Decide whether or not you’ll spend the day with them or if you’ll spend the day together in a different way this year. What’s important is that you identify what you need and ask for it.
> Avoid Social Media:
Yes, please. If you think you might be triggered by what seems to be perfect-looking families, stay out of the line of fire.
TIP: Working through Triggers:
I know that being triggered is a frustrating experience which might often leave you feeling powerless. When you're triggered your rational brain goes offline and you're brought back to painful memories or you begin having fearful thoughts. By becoming aware of your body and what’s in your surroundings, you can bring your brain back online and remind yourself that you are safe. Here are the steps to follow:
Let your feet connect to the ground. If you’re sitting, place your feet on the floor.
Become aware of the ground beneath your feet.
Breathe deeply. Counting as you breathe is helpful as well.
Once you’re brought back to the present moment, repeat Power Statements to yourself. Power Statements are affirmations that remind you of your truth, your beauty, and your worthiness. My favorite ones are:
“I am a warrior woman. I am brave and strong.”
“I am loved - more than I even know.”
“Different journey. I am on a different journey.” This one's super-helpful when the comparisons sneak up on you.
Decide what your Power Statements are and begin practicing the steps above now so you can show the next trigger who’s #boss.
> Ask For What You Want:
I touched on this before, but I want to reiterate how important it is to ask for what you want. There are some angel mamas who don’t want to receive text messages or calls wishing them Happy Mother’s Day. I, on the other hand, LOVE that!
When my grandma called to wish me Happy Mother’s Day after the loss of my pregnancy, I thought it was the sweetest thing in the world. It made me feel validated and I’ll always remember that she took the time to let me know she was thinking of me.
Now, if you prefer not to receive those messages, let others know. The people who love you want to support you, but they often don’t know how to. Tell them you’d like to have some quiet time and prefer not to receive phone calls or messages if that’s your wish. Ask for flowers if you’d like flowers, or your favorite home-cooked meal, or for a companion to go dancing with... Ask for what you want, my sister.
I'll be thinking of you and sending you love, beautiful mama.
And now for you caring partners, family members, and friends:
Your job is simple. Just give her what she wants :).
And if she hasn’t already told you, ask her what she wants. Try not to convince her to do what you think is fun. It’s her day and she’ll appreciate your making it easier for her.
I’m also going to be upfront and say that if I’m not feeling quite like myself and my partner asks me how I want to spend Mother’s Day, I’d probably not know what to tell him. If you sense that this is the case with your beloved angel mama, then find a way to celebrate her on Mother’s Day that won’t require much of her. Instead of making restaurant reservations that would require her going out, you can order food to be delivered to her. Gift cards to her favorite store might work as well. But whatever you decide, let her know you love and care for her.
Written by Natalee Facey, a Transformation Coach, Workshop Leader, Empowerment Speaker, and Angel Mom. Reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her website / Instagram for inspiring messages.