A stepmother took to Reddit to figure out what to do about her stepdaughter’s refusal to celebrate Mother’s Day — and the community came back with lots of advice and support.
The Reddit user explained that her stepdaughter Jillian lost her mom when she was two. “In the 6 years that I have known Jillian, I have really made an effort to be in her life, take interest in her interests, make sure she knows I’m not here to replace her mom, etc.,” she wrote. “She’s 18 now and though she likes me, she’s made it clear that I’m not her mother, I never will be. She rejected me adopting her. All of this I understood and never wanted to step on toes or anything.”
Recently, the user had a baby. She’s so delighted. This is her “rainbow miracle baby,” as she had a miscarriage, followed by an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in losing one of her fallopian tubes. She had never celebrated Mother’s Day out of respect for Jillian, who wants to ignore the holiday for her mental health.
“I gave Jillian a heads up that we would be going out to lunch. She didn’t have to come, but of course I’d love to have her there,” the OP wrote. “Jillian got really upset and asked why I had to celebrate it when I know how she feels. I explained I waited to so long to become a mom, the day was special to me. I said of course she didn’t have to, but her father and I were.” Her stepdaughter did not participate in the day and, later, asked her stepmother and dad to attend a therapy session with her.
“She said she was hurt that I chose to celebrate Mother’s Day. She went on to explain that she didn’t want me to in the future,” the stepmother recounted. “I said I loved her, I respected her and I understood if she didn’t want to be around for those days, but I would be celebrating every year.” Now, the OP is concerned that she’s TA for making this decision. “It’s upsetting my step daughter and it isn’t a huge holiday,” she reasoned.
No one is TA here, a lot of people on Reddit concluded, but the OP has every right to celebrate mother’s day. “OP has had a challenging road to motherhood,” one person wrote. “She has faced her own trauma and loss. Her stepdaughter’s feelings are valid, but those feelings do not entitle her to dictate how others can celebrate, be happy, or experience the milestones of motherhood. It also doesn’t mean that her little brother can’t experience all of the events/milestones/moments that come along with having his mother in his life.”
Another added: “Your celebration of Mother’s Day has absolutely nothing to do with her. Her loss is tragic, but it does not mean that Mother’s Day ceased to be a holiday and that you are undeserving of being recognized on Mother’s Day.”
Some did come down hard on Jillian and expressed frustration over her behavior. “Just because she doesn’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day with you, doesn’t mean you don’t get to celebrate at all with your child,” a user wrote. “It sounds very entitled and childish, ‘I don’t want it, but no one else can have it either.’”
Others offered suggestions for how to deal with this tricky situation. Some felt that Jillian should consider seeing a new therapist who could help her cope with these feelings. One person suggested that she read a book called Motherless Daughters (“As someone who lost her mom young this book helped me realize I wasn’t alone.”) Another thought that the OP could create some sort of memoriam or tribute for her stepdaughter’s mom on Mother’s Day, so she feels seen and less alone.
What would you suggest for Jillian and the rest of this family?
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