For many loss moms, it’s one of the toughest days of the year. For others, it’s bittersweet. Still others use it as a chance to openly celebrate their children.
To say that it’s complicated feels too simple. It’s extremely complicated for each mother, and varies considerably from mother to mother.
That makes it difficult for friends and family to know what to do to support loss moms on Mother’s Day. That’s not an excuse to be silent, but it might take a little extra time, care, and empathy to be a good friend.
5 Ideas For Celebrating A Mom With No Living Children
- Mention her child(ren)’s name(s). One of the sweetest sounds to a loss mom is her precious baby’s name. Don’t be afraid to say it or write it.
- Send her a Mother’s Day card. Make sure to read the message pre-printed on the card, but know that there are many beautiful sentiments that apply to all kinds of moms.
- Give her a gift. There are many small gifts that are meaningful to loss moms. Anything with her child’s name is usually a good idea – either purchased or handmade. Some standard Mother’s Day sentiments are also appropriate on jewelry or other displays.
- Let her know you are thinking of her and recognize her as a mother. A message, a phone call, or an in person visit are all ways to show you care. The note can be brief, such as “Thinking of you and baby on Mother’s Day. I’m so sorry he/she isn’t here in your arms.” or more personal.
- Set reminders to support her on more than just Mother’s Day. Some moms find it difficult when they only get support on special days. Set a calendar reminder or whatever works for you to remember to reach out to her on other days too. It’s hard when we all have our own lives to focus on, but keep in mind that your friend is missing her child every day – not just the special occasions.
5 Ideas For Celebrating A Mom Who Is Pregnant Or Parenting After Loss
- Avoid wishing her a Happy FIRST Mother’s Day. She might not consider this her first Mother’s Day. Even if you think she wasn’t expecting before last year’s Mother’s Day, it’s not worth the risk.
- Include all her children in messages. If you write a message that includes any of her children by name, make sure to include all children. Whether she uses names, hearts, Baby Boy / Girl, or something else to recognize her children, make sure to include all of them.
- Include all her children in gifts. If you are getting a gift with birthstones or initials or other symbols for her children, consider including all her children. This may be sensitive, especially if a mom is not public about her losses. If you aren’t sure what she wants, the best thing to do is ask.
- Be careful with public surprises. Thinking of throwing a surprises Mother’s Day Brunch or Sprinkle for your friend? Make sure this is something she would welcome. PAL is complex and emotions can run very high. Now might not be the best time for a surprise – consider talking to your friend about what she wants.
- Let her be the focus. Often loss moms find it difficult to keep up prior Mother’s Day routines and obligations. Honoring her own mother, stepmother, mother-in-law, or other mothers might still be too much. Many loss moms find they can “opt-out” of Mother’s Day for a while, but once they have subsequent children people sometimes forget. She is considered “ok” now and expected to be “back to normal.” That may work for some families, but not all. Mother’s Day might be a difficult day for many years, or even the rest of her life.
I hope these ideas help you feel more confident in celebrating and supporting loss moms on Mother’s Day. You know your loved ones better than me, and they may feel differently than I’ve suggested here. The best thing you can do is reach out, be supportive, be loving, and be present.
All my love to all the mothers out there as we approach Mother’s Day.