Why Bother Noticing Discomfort?

Why Bother Noticing Discomfort?

For some, Mother’s Day can be an uncomfortable day. Though the meaning behind Mother’s Day is a good one, “to honor the sacrifices mothers make for their children,” not all women on Mother’s Day will feel honored. Instead, some will feel left out, awkward and forgotten. 

Various Moods on Mother’s Day

Some of my friends choose not to be a mother because of their childhood. Their own mother was abusive and they are afraid of repeating the same pattern. Other friends have no choice in the matter. They cannot conceive. They have tried every medical option, yet without success. Mother’s Day is heartbreaking and only reminds them of what they can never have. 

Then there is the category of mothers who have lost their children or a child through death or estrangement. One friend told me the sad story of the birth of her only child. “It was a stillbirth,” she said. “My one and only chance to have a child and he died. Does that still make me a mother?” she asked. Another friend told me how her daughter wants nothing to do with her. She not only lost the connection with her only child, but also the chance of being a grandmother to her grandchildren. 

But, in spite of how any of us feel, Mother’s Day still comes and it will also go. But what can we do about feeling uncomfortable when the day arrives and brings us a bouquet of  disappointments instead of flowers? 

 Discomfort is not a welcoming emotion. Generally, we strive toward happiness, an emotion we desire more than uneasiness. But from my own experiences, discomfort has never killed me. It is uncomfortable, but not a matter of life and death. When we sense we are overlooked, unacknowledged or experience a heavy heart we may get the sense that we need to fight against or flee from this distressful feeling. But we really don’t. Instead, we can calm down and become curious. Like taking a different route to work or walking along a new hiking trail, we might notice something new. 

Historical stories are attached to our angst feelings. Events that happened in our past, such as the death of a child or an abusive mother are real, but the emotions surrounding the event keep us hitched to how we felt at that time in our history, not to how we feel in the present. Feelings are a funny thing, they have a hard time moving past an old event. 

Why bother noticing discomfort? It is worth it to notice our discomfort. It allows us to be curious and our curiosity can lead us to view what we’ve never seen before.