If you’ve experienced pregnancy or baby loss, days such as Mother’s Day can be particularly tough.
While the day sets out to celebrate mothers in all forms, it can be a difficult time for bereaved parents.
“We know from bereaved families that have experienced baby loss, days like Mother’s Day can be full of mixed emotions,” Rowena Pailing, head of bereavement support at stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, says.
“The run-up can be worrying for mothers, fathers and relatives who have experienced the death of a baby and may need help to express how they feel and what they need. Whether you miss your baby or the role you would have in his or her life, you are still a mum.”
How to cope with baby loss on Mother’s Day
While Mother’s Day can be a day full of grief for those who have suffered loss, it’s important to let yourself feel that grief and to surround yourself by people who care about you.
Sands has several suggestions to help cope on Mother’s Day, including taking it one hour at a time.
“The anticipation of a big day can worry you, but you may find that small things can get you through the day itself,” advice on the charity’s website reads.
It also suggests doing something to help you feel connected with your baby.
“You are still a mother and your bond with your child, whether they are here or not, is something to be proud of,” Sands says.
“You may want to talk about your baby or babies and say their name(s). We have created some template social media graphics that you can download and personalise.”
It also advises to call someone to talk to them if you’re feeling sad, to go for a walk in nature, write down how you feel in a journal, and to read or listen to poems and music.
How to support friends and family who have faced baby loss on Mother’s Day
If a friend or family member has lost their child, it can be hard to know what to say or do to help, but Sands says that even the simplest of actions can be a thoughtful way to show your friend you’re there.
One of the best ways to show that you are there for them is to send them a card with a sweet message inside. Alternatively, you can let them know in advance that you will be around to chat on the day if they need or, if they are feeling up to it, you can plan something special to do with them on the day such as take them out to afternoon tea or plan a spa trip together.
If you would like to talk to someone about your baby loss, you can call the Sands helpline to speak to its bereavement officers from 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday, 6pm to 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 10am to 12pm on Mother’s Day, Sunday 19 March.