I wish I could go back to the naivety of thinking Mother’s Day was happy for everyone. Before I knew of the angst of this day approaching for the mothers who have lost children, those who have lost mothers, those who have strained relationships with their children or their mother, those yearning to be mothers, and those who have chosen not to be mothers in a culture that doesn’t always respond with grace.
I recently watched a TED talk about grief and my favorite quote from it was, “You don’t get it until you get it”. That resonated with me so much because I had NO idea what complex emotions Mother’s Day could encompass until being faced with the loss of child. Grief is a multi-tasking emotion and because of that there are certain days that are filled with opposing emotions simultaneously. Mother’s Day definitely falls into that category. I wanted to give you my take on 5 ways to navigate Mother’s Day gracefully in a world of hurt and loss.
Be careful about saying “Happy 1st Mother’s Day”. This could be so hurtful to someone who has suffered miscarriage or loss that you are unaware of. I won’t have children in my arms on Mother’s Day, but it isn’t my 1st time to be celebrating motherhood. Just a simple “Happy Mother’s Day” will do!
Send a gift, a card, or even just a text. Acknowledging all the forms of motherhood around you will go a long way. It’s really not about the actual gift or message, just that you remembered.
If you know about a friend’s loss, acknowledge that you know this day is hard. A simple “I’m thinking of you today” will even do. I promise it is not awkward on our end to talk about our babies. Your friend will be blessed by you remembering her children in heaven, on earth, or both!
Don’t use this day to ask questions about future children. “When will you start trying again?” “How many children do you want to have?” In my opinion you shouldn’t ever ask these questions, but especially not on a day so weighted with emotion.
Send your friend this link, or print it out and give to her. A letter from someone who is further down the path of grief writing a letter to a loss mom on Mother’s Day.