On International Bereaved Mother’s Day – How To Be A Friend To A Bereaved Mother

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Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day, a day started by the CarlyMarie Project Heal in 2010 & now falls on the first Sunday of May every year.

Thanks to Pink Hair Girl for bringing this to my attention.  When I first read her post, I wanted to comment, I wanted to acknowledge the 7 pregnancies/7 possible children we lost during our walk with infertility. But something stopped me. I did not feel that I was free to express sadness or feelings of loss over those pregnancies, over those 7 potential children, gone but never forgotten. I spent sometime thinking about why it was that I felt I wasn’t free to express those feelings knowing that it was most certainly not because of anything said in Pink Hair Girl’s post but rather because of the way society views a miscarriage, and more specifically first trimester miscarriages. When I woman experiences infant loss or late term pregnancy loss, she is allowed to grieve for a time but her friends and family will move on and they will expect her, at some point to do the same. I cannot imagine how very painful that must be, to have your children’s memory forgotten so quickly by everyone you hold near and dear to you. I cannot imagine the pain of a later term pregnancy loss or an infant loss, I do not know how those women get up and keep walking every day, living with the pain of that loss.

But what about those of us who experienced first trimester losses? We are, or at least I always felt that I was not free to express my sadness and grief over my losses. This is largely due to the fact that almost everyone around me expected me to be fine, after all, what I had lost was simply a ball of cells. They didn’t realize, nor never understood that what I lost, repeatedly, 7 times over, was so much more than that. A little piece of me died with each of those losses, it was the loss of my someday children, with each loss a little piece of my hope and a little peace of my dream was lost too. But I was never free to acknowledge or to talk about what I had lost and this was largely due to people’s reactions to my miscarriages.

So on today, International Bereaved Mother’s day, if you know someone who has or is experiencing an first trimester loss and you care for their feelings and want to help them through their grief, here is a list of things that should NEVER be said to a woman who has experienced or is experiencing a miscarriage:

  • It least it happened now and not later on! This is by no means any form of comfort to anyone experiencing loss. Offering a platitude does not ease or take away the pain!
  • At least you know you can fall pregnant! Again, not helpful! What good is being able to fall pregnant when you know such crushing loss?
  • Why are you so upset? Its not like you lost a baby! People don’t seem to understand that a first trimester is so much more than just the loss of a pregnancy, it’s the loss of hopes and dreams, it’s the loss of a life that could have been and all the hopes and dreams that we started feeling from we moment we knew about the growing cluster of little cells.
  • If you are pregnant, don’t say to your friend who has experienced miscarriage (and someone actually said this to me and it hurt like hell) about your pregnancy that you will do everything you can to protect your baby and not have a miscarriage. Believe me, I loved my babies from the moment I knew they were there! I did not do anything to damage my pregnancy, I did not loose my pregnancy because I never loved my unborn child enough or because I didn’t do enough to protect them. Those of us who have struggled with miscarriage already blame ourselves enough without the rest of the world having to point it out to us!

Today, I honor myself and all women like me, carrying babies in our hearts and not in our arms, whether that be from infant loss, late term pregnancy loss of even first trimester pregnancy loss. Today I remember my unborn children. Today and every day I live with the pain of their passing, I live with the grief of not having them here with me and today I honor them to, gone but never forgotten.

May 6, 2012
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6 Comments

  • Reply Jacci

    Thank you so much for sharing this. People don’t understand the pain and that it never actually goes away. I didn’t realise there was such a thing as bereaved Mothers day, but it is so needed! More for the recognitian of our lost little ones than for us I feel. Even after being blessed with a live, beautiful baby, our lost ones are still important and it still hurts like hellfire thinking about them not being here with us. Not to take away any of the joy we feel for our live children, but our lost ones are still lost, and that deserves a special day of the year too. Thank you for allowing me to feel my feelings today. X!!!

    May 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm
  • Reply Robyn

    Thank you for this, I have posted it to my FB page x

    May 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    Thank you for this reminder Sharon! I will post the image to my FB page if that is ok?

    May 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks D! Please feel free to share!

      May 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply Miela

    Thank you for the post. Every Mothersday since my first miscarriage I have thought about what was lost and what could have been. Every year since then I have had another loss. Nobody else in my “real world” understands why I hate Motersday so much.

    May 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm
  • Reply Mother’s Day Poems For Grieving Parents « One to Six/Healing and Help for Mental Health

    […] On International Bereaved Mother’s Day – How To Be A Friend To A Bereaved Mother (sharonannevanwyk.wordpress.com) […]

    May 7, 2012 at 3:56 am
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