Whhhheeeewwwwwww!!! *wipes forehead* We made it! We made it through Mother’s Day! A day we may have dreaded, may have prepared for, or may have had some really unexpected things come up for us; but we made it! Pat yourself on the back because you deserve it!
So…. anybody else have an emotional hangover after Sunday? *Raises hand* I did!
Mother’s Day is so loaded, isn’t it!? If you’re not dealing with long waits at restaurants, you’re thinking about what gifts to get, did you hit up all the mom’s you know so no one feels left out, thinking of staying in or going out, or straight up avoiding it altogether because sometimes it’s just too damn much!
But what about those of us who aren’t necessarily celebrating? What about those of us who have a complicated relationship with this day for a variety of reasons..? Those of us who have lost mothers… have toxic relationships with mothers… are trying to be mothers but having trouble… are mothers but don’t have living children… have living children and deceased children… want to be mothers but are physically unable to..? What about those people on Mother’s Day…?
I’ll tell you something… I woke up in a really funky mood on Mother’s Day. I felt extra tired, irritable, had changed about 3 poop diapers in the span of an hour, I couldn’t figure out how to work something and I burst into tears. I hadn’t thought much about the day prior to it coming. I don’t know if I was avoiding it or just busy with my day-to-day, or a little bit of both, but I was largely ambivalent. Not excited, but not necessarily sad, and not expecting to have any major grief bursts or anything. Imagine my surprise when I found myself crying in the kitchen asking my spouse how to put money on the laundry card (yes, I was doing laundry on Sunday morning because: adulting). I felt a little better after the cry but still mainly sluggish all day. Cherry on top, you ask? Migraine headache hit at about 1:30 pm because, why not, right?!
Y’all, I went to sleep. I took a damn nap because obviously me and Mother’s Day were not going to be good friends this year. It was actually harder, emotionally, this year than it was the first year after the girls passed. I’m not entirely sure why but I suspect, the newness of parenting our son has now become more routine so I simply wasn’t distracted away from the pain of loss. The longer it’s been, sometimes the more real it becomes… the more the loss is integrated into the fibers of our being. Getting through that day was hard. After talking with some folx, I realize it was hard for a lot of angel parents I know, whether they have living children or not. There’s a mix of emotions ranging from joy to anger and so many things in between.
Monday (today as I’m writing this), I am glad to have gotten through it. At the same time, I feel fatigued. Woke up more tired than expected, the heaviness/fogginess in my head has lifted but it was definitely there earlier. I was feeling zapped without reason (my initial thoughts) considering I barely did anything on Mother’s Day. But you know what? I did a lot of emotional heavy-lifting yesterday. You probably did too and you may have felt the effects the day after. This can happen after having a really emotionally draining day, event, experience, or even dealing with an emotionally draining person.
So here are 7 things I think you should know:
- You’re not tripping! Emotional hangover’s are real and they very much can happen after major holidays (like Mother’s Day). P.S. even WebMD talks about it!
- Call it what it is! Recognizing and naming what is happening for us helps to give us some leverage in moving through it.
- Go lay down! Wasn’t this the cure for EVERYTHING growing up Black?! Ha! Seriously though, sometimes you need to take a damn nap or just close your eyes for a minute. Slow down, rest, recoup, and retry.
- It doesn’t have to set the tone for the future! Remember, when we have experiences, they CAN impact the way we experience similar happenings in our lives. The same way you can drink something that gives you a bad hangover (oh, hello tequila I will never drink again!), so you avoid said thing forever because you remember how you felt, is the same way this works. Feeling crappy the day of and day after an emotionally charged even can make you want to avoid it in the future, Can and will are two different things though, so remember each year can hold something new.
- Try to stop telling yourself to snap out of it! Acknowledge and then shift your attention instead. When has telling yourself to stop feeling “x” ACTUALLY resulted in you no longer feeling that way? I’ll wait… It hasn’t. What works is you acknowledging the feeling and then being intentional about shifting your attention elsewhere. Feel your feels because they only get louder when you ignore them.
- You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to! I know, I know, holidays are hella scripted and there are all these things you’re supposed to do to comply. Though most of us subscribe to this at some point in our lives, I want YOU to know that you don’t have to. If you wanna stay in bed watching The Colony and reading up on the latest GOT theories (only one more episode *sad face*), then do that! If you want a day to yourself, do that. If you don’t want to talk to anyone at all, don’t. Your mind, your body, your choices.
- Love on yourself! Be gentle with yourself during these times in particular. We have a tendency to want to rush through our feelings, through our grief, and it simply doesn’t work like that. Even if others aren’t being kind & gentle, YOU be gentle with YOU. Self-care = kind words, hair washing, nail-doing, boundary setting, listening to yourself, goal setting, quiet-space-maintaining, and a plethora of other things. Love on yourself in whatever ways feel right.
We made it through y’all! You are amazingly strong for getting up everyday after such a heartbreaking experience. I seriously know nothing stronger than that <3 <3.