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Mother's Day and Menopause: Celebrating All Forms of Nurturing

Mother's Day is more than a celebration of motherhood; it's a tribute to nurturing in all its forms. Motherhood in the traditional sense is impacted by many things, including menopause...

Mother's Day is universally celebrated, yet the nuances of motherhood and nurturing often go unacknowledged, another one of those silent topics we are accustomed to... Menopause, whether naturally occurring or medically induced, can redefine a woman's path to motherhood, sometimes closing the door to childbirth but opening another to different forms of care and love. This post delves into the broad spectrum of nurturing roles that Mother's Day celebrates—honouring those who may not fit traditional definitions but who offer immeasurable love and support in our lives. From men who take on maternal duties to women who choose different paths, let’s broaden our perspective this Mother's Day to celebrate every form of nurturing.

Respecting All Journeys on Mother's Day

As we approach Mother's Day, it's so important for us to embrace and respect the diversity of experiences that women go through. Menopause can often be a reflective period for many women, marking a transition that might include dealing with the loss of fertility. For those who experience menopause prematurely or due to medical reasons, this day can bring mixed emotions. It's crucial to recognise that motherhood is not defined solely by biological relationships, and that it’s a day that can be so very hard for many women.

Broadening the Definition of Nurturing

Mother's Day is a moment to celebrate the broad spectrum of nurturing roles that enrich our lives (which we could do every single day). It acknowledges not only those who have given birth but also those who provide emotional, mental, and physical care. This includes adoptive mothers, stepmothers, aunts, grandmothers, mentors, and even friends who bring unconditional love and support into our lives. It's a day to honour the men who may step into traditionally maternal roles and the women who, by choice or circumstance, find alternative ways to nurture.

The Impact of Menopause on Motherhood

Menopause is a natural biological process that we can’t avoid, but its implications on fertility can affect one's identity and sense of self, especially when it occurs prematurely. This Mother's Day, let’s also speak about the invisible challenges and the resilience of those who have navigated this transition. By expanding our conversations to include these experiences, we can foster a more inclusive environment that recognises the emotional and psychological contributions of all caregivers.

It can feel like a day to tick the boxes of mothers, but we need to be more supportive of the women who don’t often get acknowledged:

  • Those who have lost children
  • Those with strained relationships with their mothers
  • Those with strained relationships with their children
  • Those who have lost mothers
  • Those who have chosen not to be mothers
  • Those who are yearning to be mothers

Celebrating Every Contribution

This Mother's Day, let’s shift our focus from conventional narratives and celebrate every person's nurturing impact—regardless of whether they fit the traditional mould of a mother. Let's appreciate those who have impacted our lives through their nurturing actions and emotional support. In doing so, we acknowledge the profound influence of non-traditional caregivers and the diverse forms of love and care present in our communities.

I remember when my daughter said ‘but Jane isn’t evil like the step-mothers in the books’ when she was little. She was right, there were no books that shared stories of kind step-parents (must get to writing one). She may not have given birth to my daughter, but their relationship is incredibly nurturing - this year we were reminded that we couldn’t even buy a ‘step-mother’ card. Yep, added to my list too. 

Let’s remember that Mother's Day is an opportunity to reflect on what nurturing truly means. It's a day to celebrate the rich, diverse ways in which care and love manifest in our lives. Let’s honour every individual who plays a pivotal role in nurturing and supporting others, celebrating the broad spectrum of connections that shape our experiences of love, guidance, and care.

PS the photo is of the 3 of us. The LBF Siblings, Stephen, Sarah and Samantha and our fabulous mother Jill.  Sadly she’s no longer with us.  She was a shining example of what it means to be nurturing.  Mother to 3, Step-Mother to 5 and Bonus Mum to way too many people to count. 

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