Mother’s Day can be an excruciating day for parents who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death- especially if the child who died was the first for the grieving parent. A day that is supposed to be filled with joy and happiness is often empty and cold for the childless mother or any mother who has lost a child.
On the first Mother’s Day after I lost the twins, I wanted to scream “I am a mother” to any one who would listen! I had no other children at the time, and felt so angry and alone. I had carried my twins for six months when they were stillborn. They were loved and anticipated for all that time, indeed for many months, even years before they were conceived. Just because they weren’t physically with me didn’t take away the fact that I was their mother.
I found a wonderful set of suggestions for coping with Mother’s Day written in a book by by Lisa Church of HopeXchange (www.hopeXchange.com) entitled Hope is Like the Sun:Finding Hope and Healing after Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death. Rather than making it a dreaded event to endure each year, Church encourages women to use the day to remember their babies. “Nothing will lesson the pain of Mother’s Day, but with some planning you can make sure the day has meaning for you,” says Church. Here are some tips from her book that may help:
– You Are a Mother.
The best gift you can give yourself on Mother’s Day is the acknowledgement that you are a mother. You may not have a baby to hold in your arms, but you do have one in your heart.
– Let Your Family Know What You Need.
If you feel uncomfortable being recognized as a mother at a banquet or other function, substitute an activity you would feel good about. If you would rather not receive or wear a flower, then wear an item that helps you to connect with your baby, such as a piece of jewelry that includes the baby’s birthstone.
– Remember Your Baby.
Mother’s Day can be a great time for a husband and wife to talk about their baby and what the baby meant to them. Take a walk, have a quiet dinner, or just set aside some time to remember your baby together.
– Decide Ahead of Time.
The way you chose to spend Mother’s Day should be your decision- and one you make ahead of time. Setting time aside to remember and talk about your baby will make you “feel” more like a mom on the very day designed to do that. Church also reminds women that their spouses may experience similar feelings on Father’s Day, “so be sure to ask how he would like to spend the day.”
I will be thinking of all of you and your children who have died this Mother’s Day. God Bless.