Ashleigh is looking forward to celebrating her fifth Mothers' Day. Her eldest daughter Juliet, now five, is just reaching the age where she is getting excited to share in her mum’s special day. Along with siblings Sophie (3) and Oliver (3 months) Ashleigh can no doubt expect a flurry of heartfelt hugs and kisses.
However, Mothers’ Day is always a particularly bittersweet day for Ashleigh.
Her second child, Dominic, was stillborn in 2014.
“Since we lost Dominic, Mothers’ Day and other days like it are really difficult to cope with because they highlight how things are supposed to be and what the day should look like if Dominic were here,” Ashleigh said.
“There’s always this awareness that you're not experiencing the traditional Mothers' Day. We try to include Dominic in as many things as we can, like writing his name in cards, but the whole day is missing moments."
For bereaved mums like Ashleigh, the growing acceptance of International Bereaved Mothers' Day is a heartening and a very welcome opportunity for bereaved mothers to have their motherhood seen and acknowledged.
It’s also an important awareness-raising day for the wider community
“International Bereaved Mothers’ Day is a day where we can be ourselves, where there’s actually a place for people like us. It gives us some much-needed space for our babies who aren’t here,” Ashleigh explains.
“Our babies who’ve died matter to us just as much as the ones who are living. They’re just as present in every aspect of our daily life, but their presence is largely unseen.”
“On International Bereaved Mothers’ Day we can honour and celebrate our babies, just like any other mum.”