It is at this time of year when counseling newly bereaved parents seems a slightly more daunting task than usual. Most families who call the First Candle grief support hotline have recently experienced the devastating loss of a beloved baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or SIDS or SUID. Many of my families are reeling from their losses, trying to cope with a wide range of unexpected and overwhelming emotional responses and trying to imagine how their world will ever flicker with any sparks of normalcy again.
All of the subtle reminders of Mother’s Day are upon us: the mushy, mom-centered television commercials (yes, I cry each time the Publix grocery store commercial airs) and the celebratory store sales touting Mother’s Day gifts await at every turn. It’s also at this time that our bereaved moms often experience a heightened sense of anxiety and uneasiness. Stressors and feelings of weariness that may have been buried are now brewing to the surface and causing our mothers to feel uncomfortable about upcoming events and less confident they’ll be able to manage the holiday without falling apart. It makes complete sense that we may find ourselves dreading the upcoming holiday and all of its related activities. It is common to feel as though we are disconnected or isolated from those who we are closest to, even though we are directly in the midst of all of the festivities. For many of us, facing this holiday becomes yet another reminder that while time is marching forward, we would much rather sit still and embrace the memories of our lives prior to our losses.
As a First Candle grief counselor and a bereaved mom of 13 years, I can understand first-hand the occasional complex and mixed feelings that you may have and the hesitance of facing Mother’s Day. This day represents yet another day in which we are reminded that our lives will never be the same. We will never be able to turn back the hands of time and regain the innocence of life that we languished in prior to losing our babies. As if surviving the initial loss of our babies wasn’t difficult enough, many of us find that some of these unavoidable holidays cause us to feel as though our loss is happening all over again. Mother’s Day, unwittingly, can force bereaved moms to have to re-acknowledge many of the following buried feelings:
To you, our very special mothers, please know that you are not alone. You have endured the most devastating loss that humans can experience. You have survived; you are living and moving forward, yet never forgetting your beautiful babies and the impact of their loss in your lives. That is the epitome of courage and hope. . . understanding and knowing that your babies will always be important, irreplaceable members of your family. You are fully aware that although your babies never spoke a word, their lives speak volumes in the lessons you’ve learned from them.
So please, go forth accepting the praise that comes with this Mother’s Day holiday. Please consider the following suggestions as you navigate the many choices that lie ahead of you during this holiday weekend:
Should you find that this holiday delivers an overwhelming grief that leaves you feeling hopeless, take a moment to connect with us through our grief crisis hotline. Counselors are available 24 hours every day at 1-800-221-7437.
May each of you have a most memorable and reflective Mother’s Day.
Allison Glover is a grief counselor for First Candle’s crisis hotline and a regular contributor to the Counselor’s Corner. Feel free to connect with Allison and other miscarriage, stillbirth and SIDS/SUID families online at our Stillbirth Facebook Support Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FirstCandleStillbirthSupport/ or SIDS & Infant Death Facebook Support Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/38923666957/ . Join our groups, share your insight, find the encouragement that you need and honor your baby. Creating a memorial fund, donating to the Tree of Hope National Monument or volunteering are other ways to memorialize your baby.Let us know how we may serve you and your family. We welcome you…
Family Support Manager
Last Updated: May 11, 2013