At Tommy's, we recognise that Mother's Day can have very different meanings to each person. That’s why we wanted to share some inspiring women's journeys, women who’ve all had very different experiences of motherhood. We asked each woman one question:
What does Mother's Day mean to you?
Find out their answers...
Katy Lindemann, of Uber Barrens Club
'Mother's Day is a grief landmine of epic proportions for those of us who've suffered infertility and pregnancy loss. It's a day you so desperately want to be able to celebrate, but fear you never will.
'A day that reminds you of what you’re missing out on — if that cycle had worked, or you hadn’t miscarried, you’d have a something-year-old child by now, and Mother’s Day would be a day of celebration, not mourning. And if like me you've lost your own mother, it's a day you dread more than any other.
'To my sisters in loss - my heart goes out to you. I wish I had words of comfort, but all I can say is to remember that you are not alone . Be kind to yourself, and do whatever you need to do to get through the day. This too shall pass.'
Katy is a journalist writing for The Guardian and the Metro, sharing her struggle with infertility and loss through her work and on her blog. Katy is currently writing a book focusing on the 1 in 7 couples who experience infertility, sharing real women's stories so that families going through a similar experience know that they are not alone.
Laura Burdett, of One Missing Mum
'Mother’s Day for me is the hardest day, harder than any anniversary, because it is a day when the parallelism of parenting after loss is felt most acutely. A day that acknowledges the mother I am, and mourns the one I might have been. A day that celebrates all that I have, and aches for all that is missing. A day all about motherhood: out of which is born my greatest joy, but also my deepest sorrow.'
Laura is a writer and blogger, sharing her journey on parenting after loss. After her first son Findlay Eric was stillborn, Laura began her series of love letters to Findlay, written to try and make some sense of his death and the grief which devastated her, which has since morphed into an online community. In Laura's own words; 'This isn’t the motherhood I’d imagined, but it is mine; and I am learning to live each day of it wholeheartedly.
Jessica Clasby-Monk, of the Legacy of Leo
'This will be our second Mother’s Day with two sons - Leo who is forever missing, and Eli, his little brother. It’s a mixed set of emotions, where you are constantly pulled in both directions. You want to celebrate and acknowledge the day in the same way that others do, but you are always aware that a part of you is missing and that will always make it a bittersweet day. As bittersweet as every day.
'We will do something small, breakfast out perhaps, so it isn’t too overwhelming but to also celebrate our motherhood, and we will probably leave some acts of kindness - or as we call it #ALeoBitOfKindness - behind to include him as best we can'.
When Jess and Nat's son Leo Phoenix was born sleeping on 17.01.16, Jess started recording her journey through stillbirth, miscarriage and pregnancy after loss on her blog the Legacy of Leo. Jess also recently started regular Twitter Q&A sessions called the Baby Loss Hour to open up the conversation on Baby loss. You can read more about Jess's story here.
Marina Fogle, of The Parent Hood
'As a child and a young woman, I was never that into children. I knew I’d like to be a mother, but I definitely preferred puppies. When I first saw that positive pregnancy test my excitement was tinged with fear. A few weeks later, I had a miscarriage and enduring the emotional and physical pain of loss and surgery made me question whether or not motherhood was for me or whether I should just stick to dogs.
'Fortunately for me, Ludo arrived a year later, and I realised that no amount of pain, indignity, sleepless nights, stretch marks or sore boobs was greater than my love for him. Before Iona was born, I wondered whether I could ever love another being as much as I loved my son, but of course I did.
'Even after Willem, my youngest, was stillborn, after haemorrhaging and nearly dying myself, coping daily with that gnawing pain of loss and the stigma of being the mum whose baby died, I still believe that being a mother is the greatest privilege a person can have. And that for me is what Mother’s Day is all about, a day for celebrating not the job we do, but the fact that we get to be mothers, because nothing beats that.'
Marina is a long-term supporter of Tommy’s and a member of our Fundraising Board. She has raised an amazing £12k for Tommy's through running a half marathon, and her husband Ben has given talks for us, raising both awareness and much-needed funds.
Marina and her husband Ben are parents to Ludo and Lona. Their son Willem was stillborn in August 2014.
Caro Greenwood, of Spikey Mama
'When people ask me how many children I have, I reply that I am the raiser of 3 but the Mother of 4.
'Our son Freddie, who died shortly after he was born, made me a Mother, so my mind is full of him, on Mother's Day.
'To me Mother's Day is a reminder of what I am above all else, but also a reminder of what I am so desperately still missing, I am beyond grateful for his 3 siblings, but amongst the cards and the cups of tea in bed, that day comes with an enormous void where he should be.'
Former womenswear buyer, Caro Greenwood, is mother to three but has given birth to four. Freddie Greenwood was born on 19 September 2002, three months early, and remains a firm part of her family through her support of Tommy’s, holding dinners in Freddie’s name, through her work with The Child Bereavement Charity, and as patron of Borne.
Caro also started her blog, ‘Spikey Mama’ to share her parenting journey, along with her other passions of mental health and fitness.
Nicola Gaskin, of One Day of Winter
'Mother’s Day for me has been many things. It has been a naïve pregnancy with a head full of dreams. It has been a crushing reminder of all I have lost. It has been desperation to once again fill my womb. It has been a fragile pregnancy where I dare not imagine the future. And now it is a day where I both celebrate my daughter and grieve for my son.
'There is nothing that can prepare you for days of such polarised grief, days where your heart is left to bridge the gap between the Earth and the stars. It is a day that hurts me still.
'And on such days I am also reminded that Mother’s Day is simply a celebration of mothers. Mothers with living babies, mothers without their babies, mothers still awaiting their babies. It is a day where we wish to be recognised and acknowledged alongside the more conventional motherhood. Mother’s Day to me is simply empathy and inclusion.'
Tommy’s supporter, Nicola Gaskin, decided to start her blog, ‘One Day of Winter’, about her son, Winter Wolfe, born October 2015, who lived for just one day but, in her own words, ‘changed her life for the better forever’.
She has now written a book, ‘Life After Baby Loss’ to help other bereaved parents and families navigate the huge range of intense emotions that come with losing a baby.
In addition to our core work on miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth and pre-eclampsia, Tommy’s also funds projects that research the effects of lifestyle and well-being on pregnancy and on the later life of the child.
When a baby dies after 24 weeks of gestation, it is called a stillbirth. Nearly 3000 families a year get the devastating news that their baby is not alive. Our research is helping to change this.
Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the UK. These babies are vulnerable – they are born before they have grown to cope with the outside world. Tommy’s is saving lives by researching how we can prevent premature births by finding those at risk early on.
Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy with 1 in 4 women experiencing at least 1 miscarriage during their reproductive lifetime. This is a quarter of all mothers-to-be, a quarter of all families affected by loss.