After I lost my daughter I struggled a lot with Mother’s Day. The once joyous day of celebration became a yearly reminder of what I lost. It was a reminder of how I carried a little girl for 6 months, could still feel the pain from my c-section and had nothing to show for it. It was a trigger to the grief I felt in 2016 when she, Shianne, died a month and a half after she was born. Mother’s Day was hard for a long time and can still be sometimes but I no longer count on it being a day of darkness. Here are five ways to feel better on Mother’s Day, especially after losing a baby:
1. Embrace your motherhood & celebrate it: Even if no one wishes you a Happy Mothers Day you’re still a mother. You’re the mother of a baby in heaven. You’re the mother of someone who’s purpose was to accompany Jesus in heaven. How special is that? I take comfort in knowing that I can’t look after Shianne on earth but Jesus is doing a much better job than I could ever do in heaven. Sometimes when I pray I ask God to send Shianne my love. Losing a child is sad but the silver lining is amazing. You may feel that because your child isn’t on this earth it exempts you from being a mom but regardless of the circumstances your motherhood is worthy of celebration. Pamper yourself today. Get a pedicure. Do something positive for yourself. After everything you have been through on your motherhood journey, you deserve it. The world sometimes excludes mothers who don’t have children on earth not knowing that mom’s with angel babies are some of the strongest mom’s. We’re living with a grief that no one should ever have to experience and we still manage to get through life every single day. That’s something to be proud of. The world may forget about ‘angel moms’ but God hasn’t and neither should you.
2. Celebrate other Mom’s in your life: Try not to let your own pain over shadow the blessings you can still be grateful for. I know it’s easier said than done. God blessed me with an amazing mom, sisters, and friends who are mothers but for some reason when Mother’s Day rolled around I couldn’t shake my own grief. I tried my hardest. I would still send out ‘Happy Mothers Day’ texts but I was just never in the spirit because of my own hurt. Personally, I think this is normal to feel down the first year or two after a loss but year after year I spent Mother’s Day in my room, in the dark, away from social media, feeling bad for myself. I had to make a conscience decision that enough is enough. No more being selfish. Yes, I have every reason to feel a way on Mother’s Day but I’m not doing myself or anyone else any favors by loathing in self-pity. And neither are you. Especially if you’re praying for another opportunity to be a mom in the future. If I ever do become a mom again, I want to already have my mind trained to be in a good space when it comes to Mothers Day and other things that I struggle with like baby aisles at the store, baby showers and kid birthday parties. The best way to do that is to be happy and thankful for other good moms and children in my life and not focus so much on what I may think I’m missing out on now.
3. Meditate on God’s promises to you: There’s so many versus in the bible that talk about the good plans God has for our lives if we will just put him first. He knows the desires of our hearts and he will fulfill them as long as we stay faithful to him. There’s no reason to be sad on Mothers Day if you truly believe that everything is working out according to God’s plan. We may not know why, when or how but God is working it all out for those who love him. After Shianne died it was hard to believe that God was looking out for me or that he wanted me to be happy but he does. I don’t know why he let me carry her but didn’t let me keep her. I don’t have the answers to why everything happened the way it did but I know God loves me and will restore anything I have ever lost. I’ll see Shianne again someday. And while I’m here on earth I just might become a mom to another little girl or boy. I don’t know the plan but God does and he promises that it’s a good one.
Here are a few of my favorite scriptures about the plans God has for us:
Jeremiah 29:11 : For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Psalms 33:11 The plans of the lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. And before you were born I consecrated you.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.
Hebrews 10:36: You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
4. Share your story: Stop suffering in silence. Use Mothers Day as an opportunity to speak up. I know for some it’s hard to open up especially when you’re used to being a private person but there’s so much healing in transparency. I didn’t know much about infant loss until I went through it. I felt so alone but once I started to share my story I realized how many others could relate. Especially within the black community. Even though I read 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy or infant loss, it’s something that isn’t really talked about. Too many women are ashamed of what they went through when they shouldn’t be and they never talk about it. Too many woman walk around daily feeling like a piece of them is missing and they never say a single word. By holding in the hurt you’re setting you’re setting yourself up to eventually break.
I also noticed that when we don’t talk about it we’re also slowing down the progress of society knowing how to help a woman who has lost a baby. Majority of the population doesn’t know how to comfort someone who has lost a child because the topic is so taboo. They have good intentions but they say things they don’t know are hurtful like ‘Oh you’ll have another one’, because they don’t understand the pain you feel from losing ‘this one’. Especially with miscarriages. People assume that because a child wasn’t born the feelings a mother had for that baby weren’t valid. But they were. The grief is real and too many women suffer without anyone knowing.
Talk to God, talk to a friend, see a therapist and find your way to bring awareness. You don’t have to scream from the mountain tops that you lost a baby but no matter how strong you are this isn’t something to be gone through by yourself. You don’t have to feel ashamed. It’s ok for people to know that you went through something and that you’re affected by it. Someone needs to hear your story to help get them through what they’re going through. Someone else needs to hear it so they’ll know how to comfort you or the next person who goes through what you have. No matter what it feels like you are not the first person woman to lose a baby and you weren’t the last. Let it out, girl.
5. Connect with others who have went through or may be going through the same thing: The world may not understand what you’ve gone through and what you’re feeling on Mothers Day but other women who have experienced what you’ve experienced understand. Connect with them. I found so much comfort in Facebook support groups filled with women who had stories like mine. I even started a group of my own. I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone but unfortunately this has been a reality for many women. By connecting with others it reinforces the fact that you’re not alone. In these groups I couldn’t help but to not feel so bad for myself when I heard of other women hurting too. Part of my heart went out to them which helps with the lifelong grieving process. You never get over losing a child. My daughter would have been 5 this year. I think about how much personality she would have and how she’d be starting kindergarten this year. As time goes on I’ll think of more things associated with a little girl growing up so healing will always be a part of my journey. Connecting with others who understand what I’m talking about makes the journey just a little bit easier.
I hope this helps someone. I know this isn’t easy but you got this girl. If you or anyone you know has experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant loss please comment #notalone in the comments below to show other woman that they’re not in this by themselves. Also, if you have any additional tips on how to feel better on Mother’s day, please!