The annual Mother’s Day depression: ways to get through the fog

I can’t say that I go through this every year, because every year it’s different.

Some years, I dread Mother’s Day. I count the days until it’s over, and I go into hiding until it is.

Other years, I sail along pretending (and believing) nothing is wrong. I believe it, until something happens and I struggle to get back on my feet.

My adoptive mother likes to believe she has the corner on the suffering market, and so Mother’s Day has been all about her for as long as I have known her. Everything I say, don’t say, do, don’t do, think, and don’t think serves to ruin this day for her.

Maybe it’s just bitterness and envy talking, but I only wish I had a biological mother who raised me and a daughter I raised to “ruin” Mother’s Day for me.

One year, I called her to wish a happy Mother’s Day even though to my mind she deserved nothing of the kind. Family, after all. She ignored my calls (about twenty of them) and then sent me a scathing email saying I had ruined the entire day for her. That email sent me into a spiral that took weeks to recover from.

Since then, I have never called her for any holiday.

This year, I bought her a card. Over a month ago when I wasn’t thinking about the day, an innocuous cheap card from the dollar store. I could do my token duty without setting myself up for attack.

After a few days of feeling awful about everything, yesterday things clicked when I saw an ad for Mother’s Day.


Damn it.

Because this day has never been a day when I get to feel sad at losing my mother. Nope, this is the day when I feel like crap because my adoptive mother tells me I have failed her. Any attempt to talk to her, to smooth things over, to reconcile, only leads to more attacks and more hurt.

She’s old. She could die any time. How horrible will I feel when she dies and we have not yet made peace?

I wish I could escape into a Mother’s Day vacuum.

How to get through the fog?

I’m not saying these are good ideas, but they’re what I’m doing.

Junk food.



Accepting that I won’t get any work done.

How will you get through Mother’s Day?

2 thoughts on “The annual Mother’s Day depression: ways to get through the fog

  1. Hi – I am an adoptive mom. Today is Mother’s day where I live and I want to thank you for being so open and candid about the pain that this holiday brings you. I have been thinking all day of my son’s birth mother, whom we do not know, he is still very little but I have explained to him that today we are thinking of her as well. I hope to learn to acknowledge his feelings so that he never feels he has to hides them on significant days. It sounds like your mother comes from a different era, one in which even adoptive parents were not very well educated about what adoption is and how adoptees feel… I can feel underneath it all that you love her. In this, it is just as frustrating as any other child with a difficult relationship with their mother/parents. You are not alone. Know that by writing this post, you have helped someone stay grounded and prepare for their children’s feelings and challenges.

    • Thank you, but please don’t make assumptions. You don’t know when I was adopted or what education my parents did or didn’t receive. I write, not to educate adoptive parents, but because I am a writer. Please don’t assume that you are doing any better of a job. Attitudes like that are the most hurtful of all.

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