Celebrating Mother's Day As a Motherless Daughter

05/09/2015 05:34 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2016

Mother's Day. A time of celebrating the amazing woman who gave you life, nurtured and inspired you. Your biggest supporter and fiercest defender.

Like myself and many of my clients, I have spent much of my life grieving for that mother. Not because she died, but because she never existed.

How do you celebrate your mother when she is no longer in your life, either by death or choice?

As a coach and former therapist, I have worked with countless women whose relationships with their mothers have been anything but the ideal depicted on greeting cards.

In these cases, Mother's Day can be a day of disappointment, loss, and reminders of what you don't have.

Family dysfunction can take on many forms. In my work, some common themes are a mother who didn't pay attention to signs of abuse; dismissed her child's (subtle or direct) cry for help; created an environment of neglect; and sometimes struggled with her own mental health issues.

There are times it is necessary to step back or end a relationship with your mother for the benefit of your own emotional health, well-being, and happiness. While it is generally a very difficult decision, fraught with fear and guilt, sometimes it is necessary.

Finding a way to set boundaries and grieving the loss of a relationship you never really had is an important part of healing from childhood abuse and dysfunction.

In my case, I grieve the mother I never had, due to chronic depression leading to neglect and the one who died when I was 23. I will never have the opportunity to have that relationship.

While you may never have that relationship with your mother, it is possible to experience nurturing relationships with people who inspire you and become your biggest supporter and fiercest defender. You just have to allow yourself the time to grieve and be open to allowing those people in your life.

Is Mother's Day a struggle for you? Do you have difficulty finding a card that accurately represents your relationship? If so, make time this Sunday for you. Take some time to provide for yourself the nurturing, loving experience you deserve.

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