The experience of Mother’s Day without children

After Mother’s day, each year I think the next one will be different. I won’t react to it, because I have dealt with my feelings of not being a mother by circumstance.

But each year, I end up still having a moment or two of sadness, regret, jealousy, anger and loneliness. I am not part of the club. This club of mothers who peer out at you with joy and happiness. Full of love and tenderness all through Social media, media, magazines, shops, TV, and adverts.

Furthermore, there is no getting away from it, particularly with the introduction of technology, unless you stay under your duvet, leave for the remote mountains or into the outback of Australia weeks before the Day. Even then I am sure that you would still see or feel something like the more you resist something the more it persists. In addition, if you can’t see it or be bombarded by it all, you still feel it. In your heart, in your womb and in your psyche.

The vibrational energy is strong. It pulls you into the abyss, the story of what it means to be a mother. How this is to be celebrated and in your face with the full force of commercialism behind it.

It is painful. Hurtful. Inconsiderate. Unyielding in its approach. We fall for it. We embrace it. But do we really think about what it means for us as women? Have we thought about the history of how Mother’s Day came about? What is its true meaning?

I have done some research and here are two articles from different sources about the origins of Mother’s Day as this is not the focus of this blog and they all gave the same information. Article one. Article two.

Qualities of a mother

So why do I think I am not like a mother? Because I am not made to feel that way. It can be intended or not intended depending on the context it is said in and by whom.

When I looked at the qualities of a ‘good’ mother, I found this.

loving nurturing
shows great care accepting
brave caring
hardworking protective
one of a kind patient
emotional warmth  

The list was endless. But is this the full truth? Is this reality and wishful thinking for some of us?

However, that is what we see on this one day. The best. We write posts, cards, blogs, and articles spouting forth how amazing our mothers are. That they are.

And what about the other side? The side we don’t see. The difficulties of being a mother. A challenging relationship with a mother.

I have to admit this kept my fantasy round being a mother alive: children jumping on their mother’s bed, making breakfast, receiving gifts, cards and flowers, or being taken out for lunch. All happy families.

I still find it distressing and that I am missing out. Here my emotions rule over any logic I have.

Meaning of mothering

As women without children, we also embody these qualities. We are full of goodness, too. Just not in the way that society dictates us to be – as a mother with children.

I am only just realizing as I fully heal myself that I care for others in the way a mother does. This was hard for me to feel and own. I couldn’t relate to it when others said this about me as I was too stuck on the physical meaning of the noun ‘mother’ – of birthing a child.

But I love this: caring for and nurturing people in the way a mother does. Now that I can relate to it. Still getting used to mothering myself. And the fact that I have a spirit of a mother.

As my French Grandmother used to say: ‘il faut goûter tout ça ’ (you need to savour it all)

What to do?

This is not easy to do. It has taken me years to get to this point where I smile more than I hurt on Mother’s Day. I can give to myself and honour the woman I am full of love, giving, kindness, compassion, and a big warm and caring heart.

Yet, I can still have a moment where the reality sinks in. Even now in my late 50’s. Where out of nowhere it hits me and bowls me over realizing that I am not being celebrated as a mother, as an actual mother. A woman who has not gone through the birthing process.

Here are some ideas on how to ‘mother’ yourself on the day:

Honour yourself.
Love who you are.
Step away on the day if that is what supports you.
Buy your favourite flowers.
Write yourself a card.
Cry and scream if that is where you are at.
Chat to a trusted friend.
Connect with a support group. (here is the link to mine I started with a dear friend on Facebook.)
Ask for a hug
Create a ritual honouring yourself
Go for a walk in nature
Do something you love doing
above all honour and accept how you are feeling

I breathe life into women’s hearts

In conclusion, it takes time to heal. It is a process and can take you into all sorts of forays as it really questions who you are, what stories and social norms do you need to let go of to fully step into the woman you are, not as the label we are given.

I am loving that I now know that I am a woman with motherly instincts within me, I have mothering abilities, and I can give life in a different way to the norm – physically and spiritually, emotionally and mentally.

Furthermore, these are the qualities I bring into my counselling sessions as I support women going through life-changing experiences to encourage them to love themselves and follow their dreams with a wonderful sense of freedom.

I love breathing life and love into their hearts.

Most importantly remember that you are a beautiful woman and an integral part of society.

Love you to share this with anyone you think would benefit from these ideas. And leave a comment with your thoughts as there is always more we can learn from each other.

meet chantal

Chantal Vanderhaeghen is an intuitive psychotherapist and Reiki master who appreciates walking alongside women willing to take the courageous steps to dare to love themselves after a life-changing experience, specialising in women with unplanned childlessness coming to a place of freedom knowing they are creating their lives in their own way. She lives with her talented man in the Perth Hills and can be found online at



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