This weekend and especially Sunday will be difficult for women I know both personally and professionally of all ages and backgrounds.
My post here is not to take away the pleasure and joy of this holiday for people who genuinely enjoy it, but rather to give voice to the alternative experiences. This is my alternative experience. This Sunday and every day I remind myself of all the women who have in many ways been maternal figures to be throughout my life. Not just my own mom.
The Mother's Day narrative that is pushed into reality as a Hallmark holiday isn't everyone's story. And recognizing other people's grief does not and will not take away from your joy. There are many people out there who are eager to have their own Mother's Day stories witnessed and acknowledged. This post is for you.
To those who are celebrating on Sunday please have your nice things! Delight in your parade. Savor them. And remember what you are experiencing is not a given.
Grief and Loss
Grief is not a linear process. Grief changes the various ways we make sense of our world with one less important person in it. When I encounter things such as these John Lennon stamps, I don't think back to the Beatles themselves. My thoughts take me back to warm memories of a beloved best friend and our connection that was founded on the Beatles and their music and I am so grateful for receiving this random yet powerful reminder of her. Find what soothes you and connect to that. Find refuse in your memories.
Generally speaking, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) works by breaking down the thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes and how these processes relate to how a person behaves (and emotionally responds).
Let’s look at this model from a different lens, or a somatic lens: you experience an event your BODY responds with a feeling (e.g danger, fear, excitement, happiness, pain) feeling gets translated into thought/opinion/memory (e.g Is it safe? Is it going to be painful? Can I get hurt from it? Maybe I should post that selfie to show my ex how I’m thriving) you respond and go from there (aka your behavior)
What’s my point? I hear A LOT of horror stories of folks having their feelings invalidated. Your feelings are so important. YOU are important. And when you are able to identify what you FEEL you can identify the thought and if you can do that, you can do ANYTHING.
Amy Pope-Latham, LCSW is a board certified mental health professional in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.