recognising those we have lost: spending Mother’s Day without mum

Whether this is your first Mother’s Day or one of many without your mum’s physical presence, we recognise that this time can serve as a reminder of the person or people who are no longer with you. It can be both a difficult time, and also a time where you may celebrate your mother or mother figures and acknowledge their memory. This is why Motherless Daughters Australia, an organisation offering guidance for those who have lost their mother, have shared their suggestions on how to support yourself or others during this time.

what can I do to help myself?

Taking your own needs, thoughts, feelings and emotions into account can help you move through this time, in your own time — however you feel is best. You may like to: 

Limit social media usage

Take the opportunity to have a social media detox and turn your attention away from your screen. Look to other activities that occupy and enrich your time, such as reading a book, starting a DIY project or cooking a nourishing meal.   


Accept whatever feelings you are experiencing

Whether you wish to acknowledge the day or not, however you’re feeling towards the day is valid. Take the time to work through your emotions and allow yourself to feel them, whether heartbreaking or heartening. 


Honour your mum

If you feel up to it, honour the memory of your mum by yourself or with loved ones. Remember the special moments you shared, ask loved ones to share a story or memory in her honour, look through photos, buy her favourite flowers, eat her favourite food or write her a letter. However you choose to acknowledge her can be special just to you.  


Love and nurture yourself

Self-care and making yourself feel nurtured is more important than ever. You might like to have a spa night at home, go for a walk or practise some gentle movement, or book in for a spa treatment. However you choose to enrich yourself, putting yourself first is important. Nurture your own needs.  


Spend time with people who are important to you

They might be an ear to listen, someone to make you laugh, a shoulder to lean on or occupy your time. Sometimes the support you need can come in the form of rewarding social interactions with people who uplift you.

what can I do to help someone else?

According to Motherless Daughters, the best thing you can do is acknowledge and validate the way your loved one is feeling at this time, and make sure they don’t feel like they have to go it alone. You may like to:

Let them know you’re thinking of them

A text, call, or catch up on or around Mother’s Day is a nice show of support and acknowledgement. This often simple gesture can mean a lot to someone who is feeling their loss more deeply around this time and may be experiencing renewed emotions. You may even like to send them a self-care hamper filled with things to make them smile, such as a face mask, hand cream, candle or tea.  


Encourage sharing

If your loved one is up to doing so and wants to, give them the chance to openly share stories, memories or photos with you of their mother or mother figure. It can be a nice way for them to honour their memories and feel supported.    


Allow them the space to feel their feelings

Respecting that your loved one may not want to socialise or attend other events on the day is helpful, so they won’t feel like they need to act a certain way or hide how they’re feeling. And by letting them experience their emotions freely and giving them acceptance to truly feel, they will know they can reach out in time if they do need support. 

Although this day may intensify feelings, making space for love of self and allowing others to love and support you too, is an ongoing piece of the wellbeing puzzle. Recognising you need to continue nourishing and nurturing your own needs, or giving others gentle support to do the same, is part of the process of acting on a love for self. You can read more about self-love and filling your own cup in our blog on the importance of practising self-love.