Mother's Day, Grief & Maternal Mental Health

Ever since losing my mom to cancer back in 2014, Mother's Day has not been the same for me. Since my mom passed, I have still bought her a Mother's Day card each year - one that I would have picked to give her if she were here.

About five years ago, I started putting $50 in a card and buying flowers and a deck of question cards to give to a stranger. I go to a brunch spot that I would love to take my mom to and look for a young girl in line with her mom. I approach them and ask if they are mother and daughter, then give the daughter the card, flowers, and card deck. I tell her this is for her to give to her mom, and then I walk off immediately without waiting to see the interaction, typically because I need to get out of the line of sight to let my tears flow.

In the card, I write that being able to have a relationship with your mom is such a blessing and that I would give anything to sit down with mine and ask her some questions, to get to know her better. I suggest she pay for some, if not all, of the tab and use the question deck to get to know her mom better. This tradition has been incredibly healing for me.

Throughout these years without my mom, I have met many other people who have lost their moms, as well as people who never had a mom or a good relationship with theirs. I have grown to love my partner's daughter as my own. I have met friends who have struggled with infertility, miscarriages, the loss of a child, and so many other things that have shown me that for the first 21 years of my life, Mother's Day was just a day where I told my mom I love her and got her a little gift. I never realized how privileged and blessed I was until that went away.

My relationship with this day has changed. My awareness of it. And this has shown me the gap in Mother's Day cards. This is why I created a greeting card line that stretches past traditional Mother's Day cards. There are still some traditional Mother's Day cards, but I also included bonus mom, chosen mom, and grief.

I challenge you to think of the people in your life who may struggle with this day and how you can show up for them and let them know you see them. It doesn't have to just be sending them a card. You can send them a text, give them a call, drop off flowers, or ask them if you can take them out to brunch. Ask them what they need. Would they like to light a candle in someone's memory? Smash some plates? Share stories? I guarantee you that it will mean the world to them.

In honor of Mother's Day, 10% of April and May profits will go to Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance. This incredible organization advocates for maternal mental health and helped secure millions of dollars in federal funding for the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline! You can learn more about MMHLA here.

And if you or someone you know may benefit from the Maternal Mental Health Hotline, which is a free 24/7 text and call line that connects expecting and new mothers with trained counselors, learn more here.

If Mother's Day is challenging for you, know you are not alone. You can check out these mental health resources if you are in crisis.

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