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Celebrating Mother’s Day with sensitivity

The origins of Mother’s Day are believed to date back to the ancient Greeks, who held a special spring festival to celebrate various maternal goddesses. The event always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the UK, and this year’s big day is on March 31, so you can’t say we didn’t warn you!

Mother’s Day gives us a great opportunity to celebrate the women who carried us in their bodies for nine months and went through the pain of labour to bring us into the world. And that was only the beginning! Most mums make endless sacrifices to ensure that their little ones have the best start in life, and continue to do so throughout their lives. That is certainly just cause for celebration.

There are countless ways to mark the occasion. Breakfast in bed tends to be popular, though lunch at the local carvery is also a lovely option. Handmade cards are usually well received, as are fresh flowers and chocolates. The key is to make the mother (or grandmother) in question feel really loved and special. Thoughtful gifts that give a nod to a unique hobby or interest are likely to go down well, but most of all mums tend to want to hang out with their loved ones in some form or another. So if you live with or near your mum, spend the afternoon with her. If you’re far away, make the effort to Skype or FaceTime her.

Why some people won’t be celebrating this Mother’s Day

But it’s also important to remember those who might be struggling this Mother’s Day. Perhaps you know someone who recently lost their mother to illness, and this is the first year she won’t be around to spend the day with. Or perhaps you are close to a single dad whose wife has passed away, and he is having to be mother and father to his children. Maybe you know a mother or stepmother who has a difficult relationship with the children in her family, or someone who has fostered many children but has had to let them move on to permanent homes. Or maybe someone you know has always dreamed of having children but has never found the right person to settle down with, or a couple close to you have struggled to conceive or lost a baby.

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Mother’s Day is a wonderful occasion for many, but for other it will be a really difficult day. It’s great if you go to a church that honours the mothers in your congregation, but try to keep an eye out for those who are just trying to get through it. It may be appropriate to give a card to someone who isn’t a mother but has been like one to you or others. If not, a quiet word or a warm hug can let someone who is grieving know that you are there for them if they need someone to talk to.

So by all means we should celebrate mums on March 31, but let’s also remember those who have lost a mother or will never have the opportunity to be one on this potentially tricky day.