Come and find out what's happening with
Written by: Christiane Manzella, PhD, Seleni Institute
For women who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, Mother's Day can be hard. You might feel emptiness beside you where you feel your child should be and emptiness inside you. Your arms are empty, while the arms of the mothers you see around you – at brunch, in the park, on the street – are filled. Mother's Day can be equally hard for your partner because he is also grieving and may not know how to act or how to support you on that day.
If Mother's Day is difficult, here are ways to get support and take care of yourself:
Plan to get together with family members on another day, rather than trying to participate in a Mother's Day celebration that feels too difficult. Instead, consider making plans with someone who understands your situation and find an activity that takes you away from Mother's Day celebrations, like going to the movies.
Practice what you will say when people ask you about your baby. Whatever feels comfortable to you is ok.
Ignore comments from anyone who suggests that you are not a mother. Even though you lost your child during pregnancy or soon after, you are still a parent.
Take care of yourself. Eat well, get good sleep, and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Choose healthy distractions, such as talking with a friend, going for a walk, or reading your favorite book. Let your friends and loved ones support you through this time.
Share your feelings about Mother's Day with the father of your child, trusted friends, or other women who have experienced a similar loss. It's important to talk with people who understand that you are grieving.
You are a mother. You carried your baby. You parented that child. Yes, the time you were pregnant or the time that you had with your child was way too short. The length of time your baby was alive is not connected to how much you love your baby. You conceived, carried, and parented this child for the baby's whole life.
Asking why and feeling guilty are normal. More than 50 percent of miscarriages and stillbirths are unexplained, so sometimes these questions really have no answers. Just be with your thoughts while also recognizing that these thoughts most likely come from a natural instinct to find out why something went wrong in order to prevent it from happening again.
You might get stuck thinking the same thoughts over and over again (rumination). If you do, share these thoughts and concerns with someone you trust. And distract yourself by doing something that feels physically pleasurable – try brushing your hair, putting on some hand or body lotion, taking a bath, or cuddling with your partner.
Your feelings are ok. It's normal to feel anger and jealousy when you see other moms with their babies. Tears are ok. Anger is ok. These raw (and socially unacceptable) emotions will shift and become less intense, less painful, and less unpleasant as you move through your grief and see what next steps are right for you.
It is good to share feelings and thoughts. Again, it can help to talk with someone you trust – perhaps your partner or another woman who has experienced pregnancy or child loss. If you find that you are having difficulty, you might find it helpful to participate in a support group or speak to a professional who understands the grief associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss.
You are changed forever. Grief eventually becomes less raw and sad, but you will be changed. This change also involves creating new hopes and dreams for a satisfying life. Think of it as a new normal.
Here are additional resources for support on Mother's Day and any day:
11 Things You Should Know About Grief
Should I "Move On" From My Miscarriage?
The Seleni Institute
Subsequent Pregnancy After Loss Support
Three Little Birds is coordinating our first bereaved mommies card exchange for this coming Mothers Day, next Sunday, May 13. If you are a mommy who would like to participate, it's very easy!
Just say so on this post, and message us your name and address by TUESDAY night. On Weds morning, you will be matched with another momma and you will each exchange Mother's Day cards with each other. If you mail them by Thursday, they should reach their destination in time to be opened on Sunday.
Let's take the time to support ALL mommies this mothers day!
If you know a friend who would like to join, please send them to our page. We want all loss moms to join, from pregnancy loss to infant loss. You are a mom!! You deserve to be recognized!
If you would like to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be included!
On May 4th, Three Little Birds hosted its second Craft 'N Sip gathering. The purpose of these gatherings is to bring loss families, advocates, and friends together to create a beautiful piece of art in memory of a baby or loved one, as well as talk and support each other through loss. With Mother's Day a couple of weeks away, this event couldn't have come at a better time!
There was a mix of familiar and new faces at this event. After a brief introduction, we began creating our Mosaic Hanging Birdbaths. Birds are often used as a universal symbol of spirituality and the loved ones we have lost. All the participants stated they felt this craft was healing and the conversation between participants was incredibly helpful in supporting and validating one another.
No two participant's stories are the same. Many people in attendance lost a child after birth, through stillbirth or miscarriage or are struggling to conceive. There was no shortage of support or hugs between everyone!
Special thank you to Co-Founder, Desiree Miller for opening her home and beautiful back yard for our event. It was an evening of love, support and growing friendships that will carry families through their journey of love and loss!
Our next craft and sip event will be held in August to coincide with our Day of Hope Beach Yoga & Healing event. We hope you will attend and help us build or nest of support!
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director