On Surviving Mother’s Day

My first Mother’s Day is gone from my memory, fried out, no doubt by several factors.

  • My only baby had died just 10 days before.
  • At church that Sunday, all the Mothers were told to stand, and while I have no idea if I stood up or not, I’m pretty sure I probably did something awkward, embarrassing, and uncomfortable for everyone around me. In fact, I’m pretty sure I left sobbing.
  • Nobody knew what to say or do. Card or not? Flowers or not? I had to hole up and wait for sunrise Monday before I felt it was safe to communicate with anyone without disappointment or upset.

Here’s what I wish I had known that first Mother’s Day, and what I’d do differently.

  • Remember that I am a mother.  A nice piece of jewelry would have appeared with a lovely birthstone, even if I had to order it myself. It’s easy. Here’s an excellent place.
  • Spend the day with my child. Fill out a memory book. Or write in a journal. Or just go to a place I might have gone when baby was ready for parks or picnics.
  • Send notes to all the mothers I know, regardless of their baby status — to let them know I remember who THEY are.

What I would not have done.

  • I wouldn’t have made reservations at some restaurant where my lack of a high chair might make the waiters ignore my status.
  • I wouldn’t have gone to church. It’s painful when they have the children come up and take things to their moms or give them a hug. It’s hurtful when they ask the moms to stand, and you don’t know whether to do it or not (and for the women who are infertile or single and older but wanted children–I mean, come on. Let’s stop this.)
  • I wouldn’t have been silent. I know not everyone is willing to put themselves out there. I wasn’t either, at first. But now, you can be for darn sure I’d be sending out e-cards and posting graphics like these to my page. I’m a mother and I won’t let anyone forget it.

As you go through this day, silently and at home, or publicly and with a mission to help others learn how best to be around other baby loss moms, remember the most important thing:

A mother isn’t counted by the number of diapers she has changed, the car seats in her mini van, or the crayoned pictures on her fridge.

It’s counted by the memories in her heart, the love she carries, and the protection that surged inside her from the first moment that she learned a new life had begun within her.

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