May 6th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day, and May 13th is Mother’s Day. Theses dates can be very bittersweet for bereaved mothers who have lost a baby. She knows she is a mom because she carries her child or children in her heart everywhere she goes, but she is sad because she can’t celebrate with them. It is even worse when she doesn’t have any living children and nobody around her acknowledges her as mother. This can happen because they may not have had the time to create a bond with her baby, and some times they not even had the chance to see them, creating a false idea that maybe, the bereaved mom isn’t really a mom. And if she is, there is the fear that bringing it up will hurt her or make her emotional.
In my experience, failing to acknowledge a bereaved mom’s motherhood hurts more than any well-intended thing that could have been said to express acknowledgment. Often times people ask, “but what should I do or what can I say?” Here’s a list:
Things to do:
- Mail her a Mother’s Day card;
- Buy her a flowering bush, or planted flowers (avoid bouquets that will die soon);
- Email her;
- Text her;
- Say something to her (see below) if you see her in person;
- If your family is getting together to celebrate the mothers in your family, don’t leave her out. If there will be an exchange of gifts, make sure she also receives one;
- Invite/encourage her to attend our Mother’s Day Celebration on Saturday, May 12th in Columbus. You can also attend it with her if she wants.
Things to say:
- I wish you a peaceful/lovely Mother’s Day – you can even use the word “happy”, that’s better than not saying anything; but keep in mind that this is a bittersweet day for her;
- I acknowledge your motherhood;
- I am thinking of you during this Mother’s Day season;
- I love you (plus one of the above);
- If she is pregnant and/or have other living children, and you are mentioning them in your message, make sure to mention or include the name of the baby that passed away. This will show her that you acknowledge this baby as her child.
You see? It really isn’t that complicated. If you do or say any of these and you are a bereaved mom’s friend, co-worker, relative, or even if you don’t really know them that well, I guarantee that you might be the only one that will recognize her motherhood during this season. If she cries in response to your gesture, it will most likely be tears of joy. If she doesn’t cry, she will still be happy! Either way, she will appreciate you more than you can imagine. Spread kindness and love – these two always work!