Mother’s Day is a day of celebration for many, but should also be a time of acknowledging those women in your life who have experienced the loss of a child, or those who have had difficulty conceiving. They deserve and desire the recognition and love just like other mothers. Be there for them, listen to their stories if they wish to share, and don’t be afraid to speak their child’s name.

As Mother’s Day approaches, we are honored to share real, raw experiences from two brave mothers who participated in our Perinatal Loss Group.

Our hope is that this will lift the voices of bereaved mothers in an effort to wrap our arms around them during this difficult time of year. Our goal in sharing these experiences is to foster empathy and encourage community members to support the bereaved mothers in their lives. 

What does Mother’s Day mean to you as you navigate this holiday after the loss of your child?

Kena: This will be my second mother’s day without my son, and surprisingly, I still have some anxiety going into this holiday. I thought I would feel better about it this year, but to me, Mother’s Day feels like a reminder that my child is not physically here.

Anonymous: Honestly, it’s lost most meaning to me. It’s a day I try my best to ignore or avoid by staying away from my phone and social media.

What thoughts and emotions come up for you as you think about Mother’s Day?

Kena: Anxiety and feelings of sadness fill my spirit. I constantly think about the fact that for the rest of my life, even if I have children in the future, Mother’s Day will never feel like a normal day for me because I will never have moments with my first born.

Anonymous: Pain. Anger. Grief.

What do you wish people understood about this holiday from your perspective as a bereaved mother?

Kena: It is a terribly difficult day and it can be very hard to hold it all together. I wish people understood that it is important to celebrate bereaved mothers, because we are moms and also empathize with us as well.

Anonymous: It’s not a happy day but instead a reminder of all that my husband and I don’t have. Acknowledging our own family – mom’s etc. – during the day is hard because the intense grief we are experiencing overshadows any ability to feign joy for our moms or others celebrating. Further, the idea of celebrating others at a mother’s day brunch (or lunch or dinner or virtual zoom call) is torture, but one we often have to grin and bear our way through so as not to make others uncomfortable about our own loss(es).

What can others do to support bereaved mothers on Mother’s Day?

Kena: Acknowledgement that we are mothers is a great way to support. For women that have lost their babies, acknowledgement helps further validate that our child did exist.

Anonymous: Check in on them with a text. That way they can choose whether or not to reply and can do so on their own terms. Don’t expect a “happy mother’s day” from them, it’s hard on them.

What do you want to say to other bereaved mothers who are experiencing Mother’s Day without their babies?

Kena: No one understands how a bereaved mother feels like another bereaved mother. We are strong and it is okay to spend this day however you want. Do something special for yourself on Mother’s Day or do something special for your baby or babies.

Anonymous: Stay off of social media and the internet. You don’t need to see everyone else basking in joy you can’t or don’t share. 

Thank you to these brave mothers for sharing their hearts with us.

This year, we invite you to celebrate the special memories you shared with your loved ones and honor those you’ve lost in Full Circle’s new Remembrance Garden.

The Remembrance Garden will be a rock garden filled with tributes to your loved ones. The bright colors and names of loved ones will be a reminder of hope and healing.

Each hand-painted rock is a $20 donation and will be personalized for your loved one and 100% of those donations will directly fund our ongoing grief support groups — Perinatal Loss, Suicide Loss, Overdose Loss, Hands on Healing family groups, and our Journeying Through Grief groups — all facilitated by licensed, experienced professionals here at Full Circle.