Six years ago I spent Mother’s Day as a newly bereaved parent. One year later, I spent Mother’s Day hospitalized with a very high-risk pregnancy but very ready to meet my daughter. She was born 11 days after Mother’s Day. The year after that I spent Mother’s Day planning her 1st birthday party while 5 months pregnant with my son. The last few years have been interesting ones and Mother’s Day has factored heavily into them. I have both dreaded and looked forward to this one day with all that I am.
With two children in Preschool, I get yearly cards and tokens and I have cherished them all. Cards for being a beautiful mommy, cards thanking me for all the hugs and kisses or cards proclaiming me to be the best mommy in the world. And they have all made me smile, but this year there won’t be any cards or crafts coming home in the schoolbags and honestly, I will miss them. This is just one more thing that is different post-COVID-19.
And maybe it is the absence of these cards but I have been thinking about that first Mother’s Day after the loss. People tried to say all the right things and they were kind, but I still felt so very alone because I knew they didn’t understand. How could they? There were no cards or gifts because for many people motherhood means having a physical baby, and that’s okay because they haven’t had to learn what we know about motherhood.
So, while thinking about the differences in the way we celebrate bereaved mothers and mothers who haven’t experienced loss, I thought about the types of cards or tokens, I would have loved to receive six years ago.
Here are four Mother’s Day cards to a loss mom that I made for you.
1. To the mama trying to hold it all together
That first mother’s day I was determined not to allow my grief to infringe on anyone else’s day. I wished other women happy mother’s day and spent the day with my own mother. It was hard but I am glad that I did it. So to the mama, holding it together and wishing all her loved ones a Happy Mother’s Day, this one is for you.
2. To the mama who feels trapped by other people’s expectations
People tried. They told me to be strong, to not murmur and complain, and that I should try and enjoy the day. Most people didn’t know what to say and simply chose silence. So this card is for the mama who feels trapped by other people’s expectations.
3. To the mama figuring out what she needs
Maybe you were like me and need time to figure out how you feel or maybe you need someone to ask about your baby/pregnancy or maybe you want to be surrounded by loved ones, however you can during the pandemic, either way, this card is for you.
4. To the mama who needs a reminder of the wonderful woman she is
During that 1st Mother’s Day, I battled with feeling like I was not a real woman anymore. I had lost my right to womanhood along with everything else. Unless you experience it, it may not occur to you how important it is to feel like a woman again. So to all the beautiful, complete, complicated, bereaved, healing, happy, wonderful women that make up our community, this is my wish for you.
So, there are my Mother’s Day cards to a loss mom, to you. And while they represent the full extent of my Canva skills, which is quite limited, they do contain huge amounts of love and respect for every woman reading this. Happy Mother’s Day to you.