Did you know Mother’s Day is coming up soon? May 11th to be exact. If you’re a babyloss mama, you probably have this on your radar. Maybe not quite yet – it’s a few weeks away. But soon we’ll be bombarded with commercials suggesting ways to celebrate mom this year. Restaurants are already advertising their Mother’s Day brunch, and cards are out in stores.
Before my own loss, Mother’s Day was a benign kind of day – gentle and kind. I never thought about how Mother’s Day could be such an emotionally charged day. There are the children out there who have lost their mom. There are children out there who had abusive and/or neglectful moms. There are children out there who are adopted and feel a bittersweet twinge as they integrate their experience of their birth mom. These are just a few examples of experiences of mothers and their children – ones not addressed by TV ads and Mother’s Day brunch. It is not such an easy day.
Mother’s Day can be so painful for babyloss mamas. It’s a time to question and doubt, and celebrate and mourn. You’re probably wondering… Will anyone remember you and think of you as a mother this year? Will your partner, friends and/or family say anything? Do they have any idea what a difficult day this could be for you? And more importantly – how do you see yourself this year? Do you claim the title of mom, mother or mama? Is that fitting for you? For most babyloss mamas, friends and family will look to you to take the lead. They don’t know what to say or do. Think about what you need and want this year, and ask for it. Find your voice to advocate for your needs.
As a babyloss mama, I imagine this day will always feel bittersweet. I always know that I am the mom of two children – one living and one who died, and how I remember, mourn and celebrate my role of mother to the two of them is life long journey. And I know that many babyloss mamas do not have a living child(ren) in their life so I also recognize and honor that.
If you would like to connect with other babyloss mamas this year, check out the Facebook page for International Bereaved Mother’s Day. And here is a YouTube video that acknowledges various experiences of motherhood.
What will you do this Mother’s Day? How has your experience of motherhood been thus far? How does the title “mother” fit for you? And if you are in a relationship – how are you and your partner going to mark this day?
As we enter this season of spring, I find myself thinking about the seasons of grief, and how they may or may not align with the weather. Spring time can feel bittersweet for babyloss parents. Spring is often associated with growth, newness and birth. The earth feels alive after a long winter. Buds form on trees and flowers, birds are heard chirping, and the light of the day lasts longer. Many people enjoy and embrace the coming of spring. It’s a welcome change after the dark, cold days of winter.
But… when you are grieving, the bittersweet feelings come in when your internal world feels out of alignment with the external world. Internally, you’re feeling dark and sad, but externally you think you should be in tune with the season and feel light and happy. You may be paying attention to the new life budding and blooming and babies being born – whether it’s the baby birds and bunnies, or your friends, family and strangers giving birth to their live and healthy babies – and you feel sad and jealous. While none of this is easy, it is a common experience among babylost parents.
On the other hand, the newness of life may feel energizing to you. It helps to lift your mood. It can be a reminder that everything changes, and that newness and growth continue in your life and the world around you. It’s a time to be outside, bbq, go for evening walks and plant a flower and/or vegetable garden. Some babylost parents choose to plant a flower, tree, or garden in memory of their baby. This can serve as a loving reminder of your baby who is not forgotten.
Where do you find yourself this spring? Do you welcome the change of seasons? Or does it feel misattuned to your internal state? What are you up to this spring?
I decided to call this babyloss blog Dwellings. The word spoke to me and here’s why…
Definition of Dwelling:
1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
2. to live or continue in a given condition or state: to dwell in happiness.
3. to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing (often followed by on or upon ): to dwell on a particular point in an argument.
It seems fitting to me. The experience of babyloss can feel like a place of dwelling – both physically and emotionally. The grief and loss may feel as if you are living in a state of permanent residence of pain, sadness and confusion. You wonder if this will ever change (it will, more on that later). One might also dwell over the loss of his/her baby in that you think about this experience frequently – you might write about it, talk about it, do artwork or journal, etc – you dwell on it. And of course you do! Your baby died and this is a significant and profound loss.
So here on my Dwellings blog – we will linger together over the death of one’s baby- whether you experienced a miscarriage, termination, stillbirth and/or newborn loss. Sit down, relax, take a deep breath. Make a cup of coffee or tea…whatever sips of warmth might help soothe you. You are not alone. Many other readers dwell with you. I am here too. Come and go as you wish… Whenever you need a touchstone to babyloss, come and dwell.
A warm welcome to the beginning of this babyloss blog.
“If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
– Shel Silverstein