May 06

Before you randomly wish everyone with ovaries a Happy Mother’s Day

When I was a kid, mother’s day meant colored tissue paper rolled into little balls and glued to a paper plate. There were no store-bought cards. When we were a bit older, there was a fancy brunch at the rotating restaurant at the top of the hotel downtown, where we could see the entire city and eat eggs benedict. I wished my own mother a happy mother’s day. We called my one grand-mother on the phone (the other had already passed away). That was it. We didn’t ring the neighbours door bells to wish them a happy mother’s day. My mother certainly didn’t call every one she went to high-school with to give them her good wishes!

With the internet now, it’s become a custom blast your wishes to everyone, loud and proud. And obviously, the intentions are good. Nobody means anything by it – they are just nicely wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.

Except, some people aren’t too happy to be on the receiving end. The women who struggled with infertility, who maybe lost children, or who never became mothers. Many adoptive moms are conflicted about the day too, thinking of the birth mothers who allowed them to become mothers themselves. And women who are mothers but lost their mother….

I know everyone means well, but before you randomly wish every person with ovaries a Happy Mother’s Day, maybe just for one second, ask yourself if it’s really your place to do so. I limit my wishes to my incredibly close friends who play a role in mothering my daughters. I accept their wishes in return, and from my kids and family, obviously. Other than those people, it’s just Sunday.


  1. Liz

    hear, hear.
    I once called a friend on Mother’s Day, and she answered the phone “Happy Mother’s day!” and I replied “FUCK YOU!” I was in the depths of infertility and saw no end in sight. Fortunately, she had also gone through infertility and was deeply remorseful about her greeting and highly entertained by my reaction.

    My mother always said “don’t do anything special one day a year” because she didn’t think MD was anything but stupid. Show me you love me every day, not just one day. I agree, and discourage the whole bullshit shebang.

    It isn’t happy for everyone, and if I’m not your mother you don’t need to think about it. I do agree with doing something to thank the many friends who help mother my child. They really make my mother’s day, because they make the whole year manageable.

  2. Anna in Turin

    I hear you V, Mother’s day is a day filled with sad and happy feelings (the word I’m looking for is ambivalen) because my son’s Ethiopian Mum relinquished him to adoption, and I become a Mom because of her ginormous sacrifice….and we met online while struggling with infertiliy and I couldn’t bear Mother’s Day then…

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