1 pregnancy in 100 is affected by stillbirth.
24,000 babies are born still in the US every year.
1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in her lifetime.
May 6th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. For mothers who have experienced the death of a baby/child, struggled to conceive or are unable to get pregnant, Mother’s Day can bring up a lot of pain and isolation. I recognize all mothers and offer ideas for supporting yourself or a bereaved mother on Mother’s Day.
Carly Marie Dudley created Bereaved Mother’s Day in 2010 which is celebrated the Sunday before Mother’s Day.
For Loved Ones:
1. Acknowledge her loss/struggle to conceive with a few simple words in a card a text or a hug that you are thinking about her.
2. Don’t be afraid to speak her child’s name if she named her baby. Bereaved mothers don’t want their children to be forgotten especially on important dates like due date and anniversaries.
3. Hold space and listen. Ask her how she is really doing and listen if she wants to share. There is nothing you can do to take the pain away but it can be so healing to be able to sit with her in her grief and allow her to be where she is.
4. Honor her journey/her child by bringing flowers/planting something in honor of her baby, lighting a candle, giving her memorial jewelry.
5. Accept that she may need space and may not be able to participate in the activities and events. Make space for her to be able to join in celebration if she is up for it.
For Bereaved Mothers:
1. Be gentle with yourself and do what is right for you even if it may disappoint others.
2. Comfort yourself by spending the day doing things that are nurturing. Go to the beach, take a walk or enjoy a warm bath. Spend time with supportive people who accept you where you are in your healing.
3. Honor your grief by bringing in ritual. You can light a candle, write a letter or listen to a song that allows you to be in your feelings.
4. Seek out support. This is an isolating experience.
5. Remember that you have a mother’s heart regardless of what others see on the outside. You are a beautiful mother who deserves to be loved, acknowledged and supported.