Mother’s Day, a celebration of motherhood. Chocolates, flowers and breakfast in bed.
A day to look forward to being spoilt by your children and perhaps partner.
But for a mum whose baby has died, it is a stark and painful reminder of a motherhood lost and a future that is no longer.
Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter, Jen Perrignon, whose baby, Scarlett, was stillborn at 28 weeks has some helpful suggestions to help you cope this Mother’s Day if your baby is not here to celebrate with you.
Be gentle on yourself
Mother’s Day can be a harsh reminder that your baby is no longer with you. Be kind to yourself. You may feel a range of emotions, from sadness, anger and guilt to feeling at peace. This is normal. Give yourself time and space to feel whatever you are feeling.
The first Mother’s Day without your baby can be particularly difficult as you don’t know what to expect. You may find it helpful to have a plan, discuss with your partner or others close to you but leave it flexible in case you just feel like staying in bed.
Take time out
Advertising is everywhere, I found that avoiding TV, radio and social media up to the lead up to Mother’s Day was helpful in the beginning.
Lean on family and friends
Spend time with family and friends who understand. Talk about your baby, you may find that hearing your baby’s name can be soothing. If you want to just be on your own that is ok too.
Honour your baby
Give a donation, light a candle, plant a tree or release a balloon. Doing something to honour your baby’s memory can be comforting.
Speak to a Sands Parent Supporter
Talking to someone who can relate can be very helpful. The Sands Support line is available 24/7 for anyone affected by the death of a baby. All Sands Parent Volunteer Supporters have been through the heartache of pregnancy loss or have experienced new born death themselves. They are on hand to support you this Mother’s Day and every other day.
Dads and partners can also play a central role to helping Mums get through this tough day. Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter, Peter Vidins, whose first born, Daniel was stillborn offers the following suggestions.
Communicate with your partner
Talk to your partner about how she may want to spend the day. They may want to visit a special place – the baby’s resting place or some other meaningful place. But remember to go with the flow on the day, your partner may just want to huddle up on the sofa, eating ice cream.
Acknowledge her as a mum
I think it’s important for men to validate their partners as mums. They are no less of a mother than if their baby was there. Those feelings of love and longing don’t just disappear.
An estimated one in four pregnancies (103,000) ends in miscarriage in Australia each year, while approximately 3,000 babies are either stillborn or die in the first 28 days after birth.