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Read Mother’s Day advice from the Option B community

Amid commercials for last-minute flower deliveries and other gifts for mom, it’s hard to miss the fact that Mother’s Day is upon us. For many, this is a time of celebration. But for others, Mother’s Day highlights a painful loss or a relationship that’s less than perfect. Not everyone’s mother is living or healthy. Some people are estranged from their mom. Others are struggling to have children or are facing this family-focused holiday without a partner.

We asked the Option B community to tell us how they feel about Mother’s Day. They also shared suggestions for how you can be there for someone who may have similar feelings.

Acknowledge that the day is hard. Be sensitive.

Simply letting a friend know that you understand this is a hard day tells them that their pain isn’t invisible. As one community member shared, “It’s a rough day. I have always wanted to be a mom and due to cancer treatment I am not able to have a child biologically now. The day is a reminder that something that comes so easily for many millions of women is something my body has failed me at.”

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • Try not to assume how your friend feels. For one community member who lost her mother, “Even though I am a mom ... the day isn’t the same. Mother’s Day means that I don't have a mom to celebrate with.”
  • Be sensitive about sharing happy news—whether that’s something big, like the announcement of a pregnancy, or something smaller, like the fun plans your family might have for the day.

Be there. Do something thoughtful.

People who have a hard time on Mother’s Day can feel isolated and forgotten. It can be painful to see photos of happy family gatherings they aren’t included in or the handmade cards they didn’t receive. According to one community member, “Mother's Day is hard for me because I am a single mom and my dad would always send flowers and stuff. Now he's not here to do that.”

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • Spend some time with your friend on Mother’s Day if you can. As one community member suggests, “Just show up ... share a meal or a cup of tea.”
  • Send a card, leave flowers at the door, or maybe bring a funny movie you think your friend would enjoy. Even the simplest gift can mean a lot.
  • Make specific offers. Can I go with you to run errands today? Can I bring you some dinner? Can I take you to see your mom in the hospital? According to one community member, gestures like this “make such a difference. I’m not good at saying what I need, especially when I’m in a bad head space.”

Keep memories alive.

Those who have lost a child or a mother are sometimes afraid that they’re the only person thinking of their loved one. It can be comforting to know that others miss them, too.

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • If you knew the person your friend misses, share your memories. One member of the community said, “I wish people would talk to me about my dad on Father’s Day. People tend to avoid doing that.”
  • Keep a loved one’s memory alive by caring for the people they loved. As one community member told us, “Some of my son’s friends sent flowers, messages, and small gifts the first Mother’s Day without him. A couple did the second year as well. It helped to be remembered—not just because it was Mother’s Day, but it let me know that my son was also remembered.”

Start brand-new traditions.

Sometimes, familiar traditions are comforting. Other times, it feels better to start new ones. You can help your friend create new ways to honor a loved one’s memory and feel connected to the person who is gone—or to the people in their life now.

Suggestions from the Option B community:

  • Release balloons for a lost mother or child. You can write notes on the balloons.
  • Plant a tree in honor of your friend’s mom or child.
  • A widowed community member said, “We all wrote funny poems about my wife. My stepdaughter didn’t want to do it, but with some nudging she did and it turned the day around.”
  • Another member of the community told us, “My mom died on Mother’s Day, forty-six years ago. Over the years I came to enjoy other people's moms on that day. I invite moms and dads over for dinner who I know are alone that day, or I take food to them and enjoy a nice meal.”

No matter how your friend chooses to spend Mother’s Day this year, you can help them feel loved and supported. As one Option B community member put it, “A day is a day. Love is eternal. This particular day can be so painful for so many reasons. I wish peace to all every day.”