It can be so incredibly hard to handle Mother’s Day after you’ve had a miscarriage. I know, I have been there twice. Here is a note of comfort to all the women who have to get through your first Mother’s Day after miscarriage.
Life after miscarriage: my story of Mother’s Day after miscarriage
The first Mother’s Day after my first miscarriage, I went to church with my husband and his parents. I had my first miscarriage only a month earlier and was feeling fragile and prickly all week leading up to that first Mother’s Day. I still wanted to acknowledge my mother-in-law and my mom (my parents live in a different city, so celebrating her would be done remotely).
I knew it would mean something to my MIL if both my husband and I went to their church on that day. Stuffing down my own anxiety about going, I dressed up, put on lipstick (luckily I thought to abstain from eye makeup) and my husband and I drove to church to meet them. I was uncomfortable throughout and wanted to bolt but the kicker came about halfway through.
The worst moment of that first Mother’s Day
The priest asked all the mothers to stand up for a special blessing. The majority of adult women in the congregation stood up while I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I was supposed to be on my way to being a mother.
My eyes filled with tears while my husband looked on upset and tried to encourage me to stand up, telling me that I was a mother too. Well that did it, full on tears. I stayed seated, trying to pull the crying inward. I don’t know how I stayed and didn’t run to the bathroom or wait in the car but I stayed, stoic now in my seat. I didn’t want to make a scene, I didn’t want to distract from my mother-in-law’s moment, I didn’t want to be weak, I wanted to handle it.
What it came down to is I put myself last.
I was more concerned with looking out for other people than thinking of what I needed and taking care of myself. I didn’t think I deserved the most care that day because I was not really a mom.
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So many women have Mother’s Day grief
Some churches could be more sensitive when it comes to Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
If the church still wants to give a special blessing, what about asking all the women to stand up for Mother’s Day? That would include women who have not had the chance to be pregnant but want it more than anything, women who have lost pregnancies, women who have had babies born still, women whose child died before they did. There are invisible mamas in these crowds and not all can show proof of their motherhood with a tangible child at their hand.
Related content: Poem for a rainbow baby
Are you still a mother if you miscarry?
I have thought about this question a lot.
I keep coming back to what my heart says:
Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.
You felt like a mother the minute that second line showed up on your home pregnancy test.
When you suffered through morning sickness, and because you would gladly suffer all over again if that meant you could still be pregnant.
If you were lucky enough to see or hear a heartbeat.
You might be an invisible mother to most, but you are still a mother.
Learning how to handle Mother’s Day after miscarriage
After my second miscarriage, I did not go to church on Mother’s Day. My husband went with his parents in the morning and the four of us did something together later that day.
I learned to reserve some of the effort that I put toward the two moms in our lives for myself this year.
I slept in.
I connected with other women going through their own struggles on Mother’s Day to feel less alone (reading stories from other loss moms particularly helped).
I cried, and tried to be there for myself when I did.
I gardened. I knelt down in the muck and mess of my backyard garden, dug some weeds, and planted something that I hoped would grow.
5 Gentle tips for getting through your first Mother’s Day after miscarriage
Because of how differently we all grieve, this won’t be a one-size-fits-all prescriptive list. It will give some ideas if you are stuck and need a little help coping as Mother’s Day approaches.
- My husband and I wanted something tangible, a keepsake to make our lost babies less invisible. We bought a small remembrance angel (similar to this one) and we hang it at the top of our Christmas tree every year.
- Treat yourself gently. For any type of holiday, there can be expectations others put on us, or ones we put on ourselves. Try to really tune into what you need on Mother’s Day and how much you are emotionally able to be around other people.
- Talk to a friend who has been through pregnancy loss. It can really help to have a community of real-life friends who truly understand what you are going through. Because I had recurrent pregnancy loss I found it particularly helped me to talk to women who had more than one miscarriage as well.
- Do something kind for yourself. Maybe you would like to sleep in. Or eat a cupcake for breakfast. Or get a massage. Treat yourself with love always but especially on your first Mother’s Day after miscarriage.
- Don’t put yourself last. You are worthy. On this day too.