Mother's Day after miscarriage: How to cope
Grief expert Lianna Champ offers her advice for getting through Mother's Day after losing a baby.
The intensity of the loss following a miscarriage is devastating and overwhelming. It can also be compounded by the fact that those around you may not have known that you were pregnant and therefore may not understand or recognise that you are grieving a loss—a loss which is just as real as any other death.
No matter what stage of your pregnancy the miscarriage occurs, the length does not change the intensity of your pain. You are a mum. You are still a mum and your emotional relationship with your baby is there and will be forever.
Mother’s Day can feel like an impossible hurdle for you, especially that first one, as you try to navigate such unfamiliar, lonely and alien territory. So, you will have to plan for it, to really think about what will work for you to make it through the day. Also, how to mark the creation of your baby.
"Mother’s Day might feel like an impossible hurdle for you"
Don’t let those closest to you railroad you into doing something that you don’t want to do. Give yourself time to really think about a special ritual you can create between you and your baby. Open your heart and your imagination.
Try planting some spring bulbs for your baby which will bud and bloom around Mother’s Day or light a special candle and play gentle music. Find what works for you, something that will validate your baby’s existence.
By sharing your loss with others and telling them how you feel, you are giving your baby an identity and a place in your life. This is how you start to build your relationship, by involving the other significant people in your life. That way your baby will be woven into others too. This is the beginning of giving yourself permission to create rituals of remembering. Remembering your baby and making it OK to have those special times of remembrance which validate you as a mum and give you the right to that title.
"We don’t need the physical presence of our child to prove our love"
You will grieve milestones in your heart as you imagine your baby and the different stages in your lives together. It may be that others forget, yet your baby will leave an eternity in your heart. Sharing will allow you to keep your baby around you.
We don’t need the physical presence of our child to prove our love, as we love our children well before they are born. Through miscarriage, we still love them even though we never met them. And even though we never met them, we know them with every fibre of our being. They are woven into our veins.
Acknowledgement alone is one of the greatest Mother’s Day gifts you can give yourself.
Miscarriage is a lonely experience and it doesn’t seem to get the recognition and sympathy of loss that we would receive when another family member has died. We also very often don’t know the reason for the miscarriage and this can leave us in a no-man’s-land of grief. This is why we need to create a special ritual that will create a spiritual bond with our child. We have rituals for everything and we need rituals to provide healing through our losses. Rituals allow us to find comfort. They support and soothe us even if they don’t take away our grief.
Rituals for your baby mean that he or she mattered and will always matter. You can continue to show your baby that they were loved and are woven into your heart so that you can live and be happy knowing your baby is always with you on your journey, not just on Mother’s Day but every day.
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in grief counselling and funeral care and is author of the practical guide, How to Grieve Like A Champ
Read more: 17 Signs you haven't grieved properly
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