Alone and in the darkness, often feeling so incredibly hopeless: this was the reality of my grief for many, many months after my daughter, Lily, left this earth. Most don’t get the utter despair that comes with watching your child take their last breath. It’s hard to explain to others what it’s like feeling so empty- like there is a gaping hole in your heart that is never ever going to be filled.
Then you add the complexity of having already lost one baby, taken before I could even see their eyes, feel their little toes, or watch them take even one precious breath. This grief is all consuming. It can make you feel like you have no place. It can make you feel like you have no worth. It is deeply isolating. I had never felt so sad in my entire life as I did on my first Mother’s Day, just two months after I had miscarried our first baby.
My first Mother’s Day with Lily was my only Mother’s Day with Lily, and I knew that. I was utterly heartbroken that day, knowing I would never get to have this day again with her. I remember thinking to myself, “Do I still get to celebrate Mother’s Day, if my child isn’t here? Am I still a mother if my baby is dead?” No mother should have to ask these questions, yet I did.
One year later, as Mother’s day approached I began to feel sadness and hope. Hope because I was pregnant with Lily’s sister, but sadness because Lily wasn’t here with me. Sadness because, despite knowing I was still a mom to my girls, I didn’t feel like one. I felt like I shouldn’t celebrate Mother’s Day and if I was to, it would be a glaring reminder of what could’ve been and all I had lost.
Then Bereaved Mother’s Day rolled up on me so fast, I had no idea it existed until many of my friends were sharing images on social media. Suddenly I felt joy, but also a bittersweet feeling about the situation. I felt joy because I then realized how many moms I was friends with had lost a baby. These women knew the feelings that I had felt, and some where currently pregnant as well. It sparked conversations with people I hadn’t talked to in years; because I wanted to make sure they were recognized. It made me feel fiercely protective over the moms who are still mothers, even if their babies were not on earth with us.
The day was bittersweet because I was celebrating a day that signified the fact my daughter was in heaven, and that made me a bereaved mother. My baby that left my womb too soon also made me a bereaved mother. I had lost so much to have the “privilege” to celebrate this day. But yet, I had also gained so much. I gained a baby who I loved even thought they were with me for only a short time. I gained an openness that didn’t exist before that sweet babe. That baby gave me the ability to connect with others in hopes that they didn’t drown in the darkness of grief. Lily gave me a life that I couldn’t have imagined. She gave me bereaved mothers who have become some of my closest friends. She gave me hope and a family.
Today, on Bereaved Mother’s Day, I think about my family of moms who know what it is like to walk this walk. To sit in the grief. I am forever thankful this day exists because it creates a motherhood unlike others and recognizes those of us who have trauma unlike others. This day gives bereaved mothers the ability to feel like moms again. This day gives me a safe time to share my sweet babes, to reminisce on the incredible times, and to bond with other moms, just like me.
If you are a GFPD bereaved mother or a bereaved father and would like to join other bereaved parents Sensing Connections group, registration is open until May 30th. Please fill out the form to register for our group: http://ow.ly/vIIP50zlK20