Updated: Apr 24
If you are reading this, you have direct access to a women who has previously or recently lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy. Not only are you wondering what to do with the precious item, it also happen to be Mother’s Day. Don’t worry, you are not alone, there are many people in this world who have this dilemma and are searching for the answers. Well, look no further… this manual holds some very simple tips that you can learn right away. By the end of this manual you will feel ready to meet, greet and care for any grieving mother you meet on any day at any time!
Get Mindful: Before you open communication with your loved one today, take a second and put yourself in the shoes of someone who is missing the counterpart to the celebration. You will never get the full picture but you will create a layer of sensitivity.
Unpack your Words: Now that you have guarded yourself with a coat of understanding, you should think of some things you should NOT say. Maybe even write them down. Then write down a few things that you can say. This will be discussed later.
Find a location: Now that you are aware of what could be offensive, you should figure out an effective way of communication. For example, maybe calling first isn’t effective. Especially if you aren’t the type of person to leave a message if they don’t answer. Try text or email where they can see your words and choose to respond or get back to you when they are in a good space. Facebook and/or another social media site is NOT the best place to make the first connection on Mother’s Day.
Engaging in Conversation
Here are some things better left unsaid:
What’s wrong (You know what’s wrong and if you don’t they can’t explain)
I know how you feel my ______ died too. (If it is not also your baby, please don’t say it)
Well at least you have a mom/other kids/a husband (It’s just not the same)
Just try again and then maybe you can celebrate next year (There are many things wrong with saying this to a mother who has lost a child)
Let’s do something so you can move on (They won’t move on)
Stop crying (They can’t or they might not want to and now they want to punch you)
You must be so sad, I don’t know what I would do if my child died (But your child didn’t die)
Here are some things you can say instead of Happy Mother’s Day:
I am thinking of you today
If you feel like talking or doing something today, let me know
I love you
I’m here for you
Just sending an emoji, heart, or nice picture is kind and simple and doesn’t require much of a response
Here are some things you can say if you are together:
I’m here to listen, what do you want to talk about?
Do you like to talk about your baby? Do you want to talk about anything different?
I’m here for you
I love you
Silence (Sometimes just being there is good enough)
Caring for your loved one on Mother’s Day
When a mother loses a baby they are never going to know how holidays like Mother’s Day will make them feel. The first thing to know is that the emotions from this experience are sometimes so strong that your loved one may not have words to explain. So if they withdraw, are cranky or forgetful… have patience with them.
If they do withdraw: It’s ok to check in to ensure that they know that you care but don’t be offended if they just aren’t up to being around people. Give them the day if they need it, but stay close by and alert in case something doesn’t feel right.
If they are cranky: Be understanding. Don’t show up to the fight with a fight, show up with kind words, a card, flowers or a smile.
If they are up to it, take them out! You don’t have to spend lots of money on them and it won’t make them “move on” but it will give them a pleasant distraction.
Do not ask them to be in charge of Mother’s Day festivities for anyone else. They may offer, let them do what they want but be a support in case they change their minds and need someone else to take over.
A gift, if you must:
If you are interested in giving your loved one a gift for mother’s day, remember to give them something that serves as a reminder of their child’s memory. Something subtle that they can see or wear and use as a talking point if they want, but that won’t cause people to ask questions if they aren’t yet ready to talk. Has anything ever happened that reminded them of their child? Have they ever gotten a sign from their baby? A butterfly, the waves in the ocean, the clouds or a special flower? Self care is also very important when you experience loss, help them by getting something to encourage self care.
Here are some ideas:
A journal for writing with inspirational quotes
A piece of jewelry
A wall painting
Something for their desk at work
A calming CD like meditation or smooth jazz
A keychain with a quote
Anything aromatherapy like bath stuff or diffuser oils (Look up what each scent is good for)
If they named their child, something personalized
A stuffed animal
A handwritten letter
After reading this quick manual, I hope you now feel more equipped to approach your loved one on this tough day. Just remember that days like this are never easy but some days are better than others. What was an easy and fun holiday last year could very well be a sad and gloomy holiday this year. If you are patient, loving, and open to the emotional roller coaster your loved one if riding you will do great! Your loved one became a mother the day a child started to form and for whatever reason or circumstance that child is not with us today. Honor that child and handle that mother with care.
Thank you for reading and trying to understand a fellow mother of loss.
For more information on our programs for friends and family of grieving parents contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder of Propa City Community Outreach