When it comes to Mother’s Day, women who are pregnant seem to be easily viewed as mothers. But when a woman experiences pregnancy loss or a baby dies after they are born, the world tends not to view her as a mother anymore.
When our babies are out of other people’s sights, they also seem to be out of their minds.
This can make celebrating Mother’s Day very complicated for mothers who have lost children to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. The specific nature of the mother’s journey of motherhood impacts how Mother’s Day affects her.
A loss mom who doesn’t have any living children may have a very difficult time with Mother’s Day. It can be so painful to celebrate other mothers on this day when you wish more than anything to have your babies in your arms instead of only in your heart.
She may see herself as a mother, and it hurts that others don’t always recognize her motherhood.
When a mother is pregnant after loss, she may be scared and anxious about whether the baby will get to come home with her. She is still missing the babies she was supposed to have in her arms and anxious about the safety of the baby in her belly. She may also feel great joy and hope for the baby she is carrying. This mixture of emotions may make the day a happy Mother’s Day, but it also may feel complicated.
She will be wondering if she will get to celebrate the next Mother’s Day with a child in her arms.
When a loss mama is parenting after loss, it is easy for the world to see only her living children as the ones that make her a mother. But she will be thinking of all of the babies that she has mothered, in whatever way she got to be a mother to them. The babies that we carry in our hearts and in our souls we miss with every fiber of our being on Mother’s Day.
As a rainbow mama, I am so grateful to be celebrated and to get to celebrate my motherhood on Mother’s Day. I had multiple years where my motherhood involved mostly pain and I was not yet seen as a mother by most people. I wasn’t even always sure whether I saw myself as a mother. Now, I feel gratitude on this day and joy over getting to mother a living child, and the day does not come without pain. I think about the babies that I carried in my body, held in my arms, and will never get to mother in the way I want to. I miss them more on Mother’s Day than I do on other days.
Mother’s Day is the day that I most wish I could hold all three of my babies together.
You may be wondering what to do on Mother’s Day for a loved one who has experienced the losses of pregnancies or children. You may be uncertain if you should do anything. If you are wondering that, please know that it never hurts to do something.
Whether she has living children or not, whether she is trying to conceive additional children or not, whether she is pregnant or parenting after loss, supporting a loss mom on Mother’s Day can be very simple.
All you need to do to give her support is to acknowledge her motherhood to all of her babies.
Send flowers, a card, or even just a text. Tell her that you aren’t sure how this day is for her and that you know it might be hard. Tell her that you are thinking of her and that you see her as a mother to all of her babies, especially on Mother’s Day.
This will tell her that you can hold the complexity of all of the emotions around her motherhood.
You are someone she can be her full self with. While the intensity and duration of the emotions may change over time, her motherhood will always be complex. It will always involve some pain because she prepared herself to welcome babies that are no longer living. She might be happy. She might be sad. She might be some combination of all of it, and simply telling her that you see her and all of her babies has more impact than you realize.