By Patti Kenney
When you have experienced the loss of a baby, Mother’s Day is one of the most difficult of all holidays to endure. Many grieving mothers feel that they cannot make it through this day which is such an aching reminder of their empty arms. When our heart is breaking from loss during this holiday do we try to hide our grief and act like everything is all right? Do we assume others can read our minds, and secretly expect them to acknowledge our babies, our pain, and our motherhood? And then are we hurt when they fail to acknowledge us? Many friends and family will actually dodge the issue because it makes them feel awkward. We actually may be on the forefront of their heart, but their fear of hurting us immobilizes them to silence. When a grieving mother does not plan ahead for this special day, grief may unexpectedly hit her and be overwhelming. Instead, a mother can prepare in attempt to work through her grief and have something to look forward to rather than face the holiday with dread. She can let others know of her desire to be honored as a mother. Many times friends and family just need permission. She can let them know a card or flowers would be a well-received gift. A gift donated to a favorite charity in honor of her baby would be another blessing to her. She can wear a flower on Mother’s Day, or something that has special meaning like a necklace or pin to wear in honor of her baby.
Here are some good suggestions by Clara Hinton from Silent Grief of what you can do on Mother’s Day to validate your loss, remember your baby, and affirm that YES YOU ARE A MOTHER. It will help make your Mother’s Day an enjoyable one.
- If church is an especially difficult place to be on Mother’s Day, instead you can decide ahead of time to have a Bible reading and some prayer time perhaps at the gravesite of your child or at a place that holds some particularly fond meaning to you.
- Don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm of tradition and make this a day of new beginnings for you. If you cannot bear to be around crowds of people celebrating Mother’s Day, then go on a quiet walk by the sea or take a walk and listen to the many healing sounds of nature.
- Perhaps you can make Mother’s Day a time of remembrance—bring the family together and work on a memory box in honor of your child who is no longer with you. Everyone who is willing can contribute a poem, a special writing, a photo, or a story in honor of your child. This will surely bring about many tears, but doing this grief work together can also begin the healing process for everyone involved.
- Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to plant a flower or a tree in memory of your child who has died. This is something that will live on and serve as a healing reminder to you in the years to come. Be sure that the plant you choose is appropriate to your climate and has personal meaning.
Now that you have some ideas, make a plan. If you know that being alone on significant days is not good for you. From past experience you have found yourself spiral inward and fall into destructive thoughts or behavior when you are alone. Make arrangements to spend time with a special someone that can be there for you. Tell that person up front, your intent and your need, so that you will be accountable to follow through with what you decide to do so you don’t fall victim to your thoughts. Choose to do something that will make your Mother’s Day a treasured one.
Personally we here at Glory Babies want to validate that in fact YOU ARE A MOTHER, your child just doesn’t happen to be living with you. If your baby/babies lived one day in your womb or many, or if you had the privilege of loving and caring for your baby/babies after they were born, if they have died they now are in heaven waiting for you. Though you are apart YOU ARE STILL THEIR MOTHER. Mother’s Day is for you. Hold that special day close to your heart by honoring your child, grieve the loss, but certainly allow yourself the privilege of being called mother.
Ideas taken from Silent Grief “Getting Through Mother’s Day” by Clara Hinton, Apr 20, 2002 © 2002. http://www.silentgrief.com