In the U.S, Mother's Day is just around the corner. While many dads, kids, and moms themselves are making final plans on how they'll shower the moms in their own lives, the date isn't all about breakfast in bed and flowers, especially for those of us who are grieving. For those dealing with the loss of a parent, a child, or a spouse, the day can be a painful reminder with a powerful sting — and many brands have come to recognize that there may need to be a way to opt out of marketing emails and reminders.
After all, the weeks and days leading up to Mother's Day are always full of a frenzy of marketing emails full of gift ideas for the moms in our lives. But for grieving people, these daily messages can be a painful reminder of how different the day will be for them — and grief is complicated enough without getting a deluge of emails asking you to appreciate mom by buying lots of gifts.
"It could hurt those whose moms have died, those who are dealing with fertility issues, who have lost children, who have lost sisters who happened to be parents ... you never know how these hallmark holidays are going to impact people and the incessant marketing emails can feel like an enormous trigger," Rebecca Soffer, author of The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience, told Axios.
Thankfully, more brands are starting to take care of the emotions tied to the holiday and are offering an opt-out for people who wish to keep their inboxes clear of Mother's Day marketing communications. According to Axios, major brands have sent out emails offering customers to opt out of Mother's Day emails, including Canva, Etsy, Levi's, Ancestry, Kay Jewelers, DoorDash, and more. If you get regular emails from brands that you open, look to see if they’ve sent you an email warning you of upcoming promo material — and choose to opt-out if you can. You could also ask a trusted friend to clear out your email should you need it after or on Mother’s Day.
Many folks trying to manage reminders of grief on Mother’s Day also make a habit of staying off social media, which might also help you get through the day.
Losing a parent is something that changes us forever, and days dedicated to certain parental figures can be massively triggering. According to research, losing a parent is traumatic and filled with grief that can permanently alter kids of any age, both psychologically and biologically.
Studies have found links between cardiac issues, hypertension, cancer, and immune disorders related to unresolved grief. And from a psychological sense, the American Psychological Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) notes that it's healthy for adults to experience a wide range of feelings while actively grieving. This includes anger, rage, sadness, numbness, anxiety, guilt, emptiness, regret, and remorse.
If Mother's Day is going to be a painful one for you, remember to take care of yourself and be gentle. Grief is sneaky; even years later, you can be transported right back to the beginning, and milestone dates can be challenging to navigate, no matter when they fall.
If you're supporting someone grieving, the best thing you can do is sit with them in their grief. Ask your partner what they need, don't try to cheer them up, and listen and validate their feelings.