Tommy's blog, 19/03/2020
At Tommy's, we recognise that Mother's Day can be a challenge. Some inspiring women have shared their advice for getting through it if you've experienced the loss of or longing for a much-wanted baby.
Amy Campbell of This is my brave face
This will be my fourth Mother’s Day without my daughter, Esme.
Esme lost her life at 7 weeks old, after being born 3 months premature with her surviving twin sister, Charlotte.
My grief, feelings and emotions on Mother’s Day are similar to those experienced on other anniversaries. It’s the lead up to the day and the anticipation of feeling my heart break all over again that is often the hardest. The day itself tends to be bittersweet. It’s filled with love, but nothing can ignore the underlying feeling of longing to see Esme, hold her and plant a sweet kiss on her little button nose.
Here are some ideas that I hope will help:
Firstly, try not to put any pressure on yourself to feel anything other than how you are at that moment in time. Try just rolling with it – be an observer to the feelings that surface on the day.
Secondly, try not to plan too much for the day itself, or the days before and after. The day after, I am often emotionally exhausted, so will be taking it easy.
Finally, treat yourself to something you love – new clothes, a candle, a massage, or an afternoon of watching your favourite film.
I hope your Mother’s Day is a kind day.
Mother’s Day can be a funny thing. For those that still have their mothers, we want to celebrate and thank them for everything that they do. However, if like me you have had miscarriages and fertility struggles, then this adds a whole new dimension to the day. You spend the day seeing pictures of your peers with their children, knowing that you could have been in their position.
The feeling of jealousy is strong on days like this, and that is more than okay. You might want to take a break from social media, so that you don’t have to see other people’s updates. If you still want to celebrate your own mum, maybe do it in the privacy of your own home or go for a lovely walk in the countryside – get some fresh air and just be together. I tend to avoid places that are geared up for Mother’s Day celebrations and are full of children. You could even check yourself into a spa and use the day to celebrate yourself and the journey you are on, whatever path that may be.
Cat Strawbridge of Trying Years
I can still see the mascara stain on my pillowcase from the year I barely left my bed on Mother’s Day. It was the worst one of all. In my head, all of my extended family had planned a get-together, deliberately leaving me out. Whilst this wasn’t the case, it still hurt so much. What I know now is that it was me who was hurting, rather than them hurting me.
If you’re trying to conceive or you’ve lost your longed-for babies, Mother’s Day is never going to be easy. For me, staying at home and pretending it wasn’t happening was the only way to ride it out. If I was reminded on the day, I told myself that within 24 hours it would be Monday, and there was then a whole year full of possibilities before it came around again.
Last year, finally pregnant, I still couldn’t celebrate. I knew a card or bunch of flowers wouldn’t affect the health of my unborn baby, but still, I wasn’t ready.
This is my 8th Mother’s Day since we started trying to grow our family. It’s the first one with our daughter in our arms, alongside the 3 angels in our hearts. The scars of yesteryear won’t be far away as we celebrate, which we will do, because Wren is here and that is certainly worth celebrating.
Sending love and strength to all those who are struggling this Mother’s Day.
Elle Wright of Feathering the Empty Nest
Being a mother is so much more than the act of giving birth or getting to physically mother your child. I wish this was something I had understood long ago, before I had to live it to truly understand.
As I approached my first Mother’s Day as a mum myself in 2017, without our son Teddy here, I wish someone had held my hand and said, "Your motherhood is just as valid as anyone else’s". I remember feeling so different to all of my friends who had also become mums in recent years. I felt like an outcast, unable to celebrate my narrative of motherhood. I wanted to hide away from the world that day, whilst simultaneously shouting from the rooftops what my first year of motherhood had been like and how much I loved our son.
I tend not to give ‘advice’ to other bereaved parents or those struggling with fertility and loss in the lead up to Mother’s Day. We all feel and grieve very differently, so what is right for one may not necessarily work for another. But I do wish I had been able to give myself some advice to get me through that first year without Teddy on Mother’s Day:
"You are a mum, even though it cannot be seen outwardly by the world, you are. Today you deserve to do whatever you would like to do. Be kind to yourself and remember to protect your own heart. Don’t compare your motherhood to anyone else’s. We are all mums, however our story reads so far".
Sending love to anyone who needs it this year,
Teddy’s Mummy x
Here are a few pieces of advice for those who might be struggling this Mother’s Day:
Firstly, don't be afraid to acknowledge the way you are feeling on this day, or on the days leading up to it. If you anticipate that you will find the day hard, you might want to let someone you trust know in advance.
Secondly, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. If you don't feel like leaving the house, that's okay. If you feel like you do want to go out, that's okay too. It's okay to simply ‘be’.
Finally, it’s okay to acknowledge yourself as a mother if you want to, whether you have living children or not. Last year on Mother’s Day, I was very alone and I separated myself from my feelings. After receiving one text message from my sister wishing me a happy Mother’s Day, I crumbled. I crumbled because I had been denying myself something that I really wanted from others and myself – the acknowledgement of what I had been through, who I was to my little boy, and credit for going through all that I had experienced.
Visit Tara's Instagram page to find out more.
As much as Mother’s Day is a day of celebration to some, to many others, it’s a day full of grief and sadness – a reminder of what they’re missing out on.
I have a 4-year-old son, Jax, but I still find myself sad on Mother’s Day. Sad that my second son, Jesse, who we lost due to a termination for medical reasons, isn’t here to come and snuggle with me in bed. Sad that my other two pregnancies, which have ended in miscarriage this year, never made it to the point of a baby in my arms. I’m sad on behalf of the many women who are going through painful fertility treatments, still hoping that one day, they will get to bring a baby home.
Even though I have been truly blessed with a child, those feelings of sadness and despair never really leave you after suffering infertility and baby loss. I think the most important thing to realise is this: you are not alone. Not on this day or any other day. Do what you need to do to get through the day. Switch off, go out for a walk, step away from social media.
And remember, tomorrow is another day.