On my first Mothers Day, I was still heavily grieving the loss of my daughter. I sat in church with my own mother and felt a huge lump in my throat as they announced the start of the Mothers Day program. My pastor asked all the mothers to stand up to be acknowledged.
I put my head down and instantly began crying.
I’d given birth, I held her, she passed a few hours later, I was mourning and she was showing up in my dreams…but I didn’t “look” like a mom. I didn’t have her in my arms to show to everyone. I had nothing but two photos, the outfit she was wearing when I got to spend time with her before saying goodbye and her urn.
I didn’t have a living and breathing baby.
I felt empty.
As I mentally beat myself up I felt my mom nudge me.
“Stand up.”, she said.
“I’m not a mom”, I cried.
“You’re a mother, stand up!”, she demanded.
I slowly raised my head and through the tears, I could see women standing around me, with roses in their hands. I looked towards the front of the church where the Leaders – the women who had spent months praying for me, anointing me and encouraging me – were telling me to stand. I’d be crying so heavily, I hardly had the energy to stand up.
I looked to one of those women in particular who gave me a head nod, reassuring me that I needed to stand, and that I could do this.
Everyone was now looking at me, smiling at me and telling me to stand.
I finally made it to my feet and did my best to wipe my tears away as I received my rose with the rest of the mothers in the congregation.
I will never forget that day. It was powerful!
Since then, I’ve had two high risk pregnancies which has now made me a mom of three, Jolie and her now her two brothers. There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t think or talk about Jolie in this house.
With Mothers Day coming up, I know that it’s a sensitive time for us Angel Moms as it’s a reminder of plans we made for our children while they were in our wombs that won’t come to fruition. While I am thankful for my boys, Mothers Day is still one of those days where I really imagine a life where my three children would be playing together and celebrating with me.
I also think about the first Mothers Day that I described above where my arms were empty, and all the women I know who are now going through that. I think about the women who are trying to expand their families only to experience losses one right after the other while still trying to be present for their living children.
It’s a tough one.
While I can never put together the perfect words, I wanted to share a few tips that I hope will make the day feel less unbearable.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY OK TO BE EMOTIONAL ON MOTHERS DAY.
I know there are so many women feeling anxious about how they will feel on their first Mothers Day as an Angel Mom and I’m here to tell you that you have every right to feel everything that you’re feeling. You’re likely expecting that you’re going to be an emotional wreck and maybe you will be, or you may surprise yourself and be fine. However, you’re entitled to your feelings. You’re entitled to your concerns.
Normally, I encourage my community to tame their anxiety as much as possible, but I understand why it happens the first Mothers Day. Many times we try to fight what we perceive to be “negative feelings”, however, during the grieving process we have to allow ourselves to feel all the emotions associated with the journey to healing – especially on emotionally triggering dates.
In any event, whether you’re a complete mess on your first Mothers Day as an Angel Mom or able to hold it together – both are totally fine. Being emotional doesn’t mean that you’re crazy and feeling peaceful doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the loss(es) that you experienced.
There’s no wrong or right way to grieve.
No one can or should tell you how to feel.
TRY NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONAL IF EVERYONE YOU LOVE DOESN’T TELL YOU “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY”
This tip may apply more to women who haven’t gone on to have any living children as yet. I’ve been there and I know that Mothers Day is especially challenging during this time.
This is a little hard because we want our loved ones to understand our pain, but the reality is that not everyone will get it – especially if they haven’t been there. Perhaps they expect that you’d be “over it by now” or have no idea how this whole grief thing works. For some people it won’t even cross their minds to wish you a Happy Mothers Day. This isn’t because they don’t love you or that they’re intentionally trying to hurt you, but in their minds because there isn’t a baby here, they may not look at you as a mom.
I know, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
I’ve had people say all kinds of hurtful things to be over the years. I’ve had blood relatives who didn’t consider Jolie to be “a real baby” and those who didn’t understand why I was sad because I was young and it would be easy to “just have another baby”.
They simply didn’t have an understanding about why this day was so hard for me. It just didn’t register to them.
I’ve had to extend Grace and forgive so many people who didn’t realize their words were cutting through me like a knife. I had to learn how to find peace within myself so that I didn’t take things so personal. It wasn’t easy and it came with time. It’s easier said than done, but it’s possible.
You will definitely get some “Happy Mothers Day”, but focus on how happy it feels to hear it from those people as opposed to how many people you didn’t hear it from. Choose not to hold a grudge after making a mental note of those who said nothing. Consider that they really may not know if they should say anything at all and may not want to offend you.
UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE STILL A MOM
I know that some days it may not feel like it, and in some cases to the outside world, you may not look like it – but you are a mom! You became a mother the day that life began growing in your womb. Motherhood may look different than what you imagined but you are that baby’s mother no matter what. Though your time together may not feel long enough, you were chosen to be the vessel for that Soul.
GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING FUN!
Part of you may be tempted to sit and home and avoid Mothers Day all together, but you will feel so much better getting out and doing something fun! Head to the beach, go to one of those painting class, go get a massage – anything! This would also be a great opportunity to plan a day date with your spouse so that you can bond.
You can also check out local organizations for bereaved parents and see if they have any events planned. You may be thinking, “That will make me sad”, however, it may help to be surrounded by others who know exactly how you’re feeling.
The pain of loosing a baby is so intense that when we think about it hard enough, we can hear our own heart breaking. I know that for your first Mothers Day, things can seem very painful and confusing, but I promise that over time, coping on trigger dates like these gets easier. However, I hope that if there is anything you can learn from my story, it is that not all is lost after loss.
In the event that you ever need to confidentially talk through your feelings with someone who has been there and totally understands what you’re going through, I would love to chat with you during a Soul Session which is a combination of Life and Grief Coaching. Also feel free to join my free support group on Facebook, The Babyloss Lounge.
WILL THIS BE YOUR 1ST MOTHERS DAY AS AN ANGEL MOM? HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT IT?
IF THIS ISN’T YOUR FIRST, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN COPING ON THIS HOLIDAY OVER THE YEARS? SHARE BELOW.