Mother’s Day is not a happy occasion for all mothers. Unfortunately, there are many mothers who have outlived a child. For these women, Mother’s Day can bring sadness, and heartbreak. However, these mothers should still be celebrated somehow.
In 2010, the International Bereaved Mother’s Day was founded by a mother who had given birth to her stillborn baby. This day represents a day of healing. There are mothers there who have live children to celebrate with them, and there are mothers whose only children have their angel wings. This is a day to remember, and share varied circumstances. Women are able to lift each other up by sharing, and letting other mothers know that they are not alone. These women celebrate Mother’s Day very differently.
There are so many women who do not even want to leave their beds, or acknowledge that Mother’s Day exists. Not even for the acknowledgement of their own mothers. Celebrating those lost children is a big deal. Just because the children are no longer on this earth, does not mean a woman is not a mother. This is why the International Bereaved Mother’s Day began. There is a hope in these women’s stories.
Amy Casto remembers her twins. They died 13 years ago, and she brings photos of them to this Mother’s Day event to share, and remember. Her twins were born at 24 weeks. Their names were Kelsie, and Jackson. Kelsie lived for 20 minutes, but Jackson did not survive labor. The Casto’s did not know what to do. The nurses told the couple they could bring the babies into the hospital room, and they were asked if they wanted to take pictures. They did not know how to respond. Each year gets easier. The successful birth of her, now, nine-year-old daughter, named Hannah has been a help, but not a replacement.
Just as it is important for mothers to remember the children they have lost, it is also important to reach out to the mothers who have lost children, of all ages on Mother’s Day. There are those who have had miscarriages. There are those who lost children after they were born, and there are women who have lost adult children. It does not matter, no mother should outlive her child. Remember these mothers. Acknowledge these mothers. Most importantly, honor these mothers on Mother’s Day.
Let a grieving mother know, that you are remembering her child on Mother’s Day. Say her lost child’s name to her. It may be uncomfortable, but she has not forgotten her loss. It is important that she knows others also, have not forgotten.
If a mother has lost her only child, still be sure and acknowledge her as a mother. She is a mother and she will always be a mother. Any form of acknowledgement can lighten the burden she carries each Mother’s Day.
Women who have children today, but have lost a child in the past, remember her child that was lost. No other child can replace her lost child, that emptiness remains. She understands that every child has something different to offer the world, and that no child can ever be replaced.
There are mothers who are unable to naturally have children. However, the children they have adopted, are their own children. Recognize these mothers. Honor and appreciate their love for those children each Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day hits mothers who have experienced loss, differently. However, she may not know what she needs to help her through the day. She may need a distraction, or she may need to be left alone. Let her lead the events of Mother’s Day and put no expectations on her. She is still grieving, and everyone does that in her own way. Be gracious, and understanding. Do not pressure her to talk about it, or to leave her bedroom, let her be herself. Show her that she is loved no matter what. Remember, Mother’s Day will be a day of grieving for a long time. Respect that time.
Do not assume that she would prefer to be excluded or included in any Mother’s Day events. Let her decide. Reach out to her in love, and acceptance, and understanding. If she chooses not to participate in a Mother’s Day event, do not take it personally. She is simply trying to find the best way to get through Mother’s Day.
Love her. Send her a Mother’s Day card, and a treat that is just for her on Mother’s Day. Ask her what is the best way to show her love on that Sunday. Welcome her to any Mother’s Day events, the family may have planned. Take her for a ride in the country, or a hike in the woods to help her clear her head. Take her to dinner. Hang out in pajamas all day and watch movies. Help to find a way to make Mother’s Day a celebration in some form.
On this Mother’s Day, it is important to remember these hurting mothers and love them where they are. Show them love, and kindness, and grace. Remind her that she can overcome the grief of Mother’s Day, and be there for her. Tell her, love her, do what it takes to show her you care. This is humbly dedicated to anyone who has lost a child.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of Diane – Creativecommons Flickr License