Over the next week will see an abundance of cards, a bevvy of flowers and pretty much every school classroom in Australia hard at work whipping up all manner of crafty delights for the annual event that is Mother’s Day.
It will be all over the news, all over advertising and all over social media, with smiling faces of mothers and children everywhere anyone chooses to turn.
Yet, amidst this outpouring of love and welcome appreciation, for many women there will be a whole world of hurt.
Some will be grieving for what was, others pondering what could have been and their pain will be all the more palpable set against the endless images of such a ‘Member’s Only’ affair.
So, what can we do amidst a myriad of flowers, festivities and motherly love, when Mother’s Day actually hurts?
Sands Australia explains this year alone, 2558 women will be dealing with the pain of stillbirth or neonatal death, a further 55,000 will be coming to grips with a miscarriage
Others will be working through the unfathomable pain of the loss of a child at a later age, and many will be grappling with the loss of their own mother.
More still will be silently struggling with a broken relationship with their child, or dealing with the reality that their desire for children has not come to fruition.
And a day that celebrates motherhood will mean for many this loss or emptiness will be all the harder to bear.
As writer Colleen George explains, for those enduring loss, Mother’s Day becomes akin to standing on the sidelines, looking in.
“I try to avoid it, by putting up an invisible shield, putting on a fake smile, and pretending the day doesn’t exist for me. But I’ve learned the hard way that this doesn’t really help – it just masks over the real feelings.”
But perhaps we should pause to reflect…
If the true essence of motherhood is recognition of the natural ability of women to nurture, include and heal, then no woman should be left on the sidelines, “looking in”.
This should be a day not just about cards, calls and craft, but also encompass women, strength and support, inclusiveness and care.
It’s a time to recognise the wonder and the joy, yes, but also the hurt, the absence and the grief. That’s why this year I’ll be reaching out to more women than just the one I proudly call Mum.
If this Mother’s Day finds you in need of support, the following organisations can assist:
Sands Australia - 1300 072 637
Compassionate Friends – 1300 064 068
Access – 1800 888 896
Griefline - 1300 845 745
Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her