Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Mother's Day

This post isn't going to be so much about me - this is my 6th Mother's Day without Ben, but I always had Charlotte, so I never had to experience a Mother's Day having given birth, but without a child. Oh, I still miss him, of course, and think of him every day, and especially on Mother's Day, but I have learned to be grateful for the two beautiful babies I have, and I treasure every Mother's Day with them.

I have reason to believe some of my lurkers are new here because of a recent loss - and I'm so sorry. And I know you are facing this day, wondering what you are going to do, how will you survive it?

I hope, for your sake, your friends and family rally around you with hugs and flowers, meals and support. Yes, you ARE a mother, even without your baby here. So, how will you get through this coming Sunday?

If you need to hole up in bed, or in your home, and not come out, that's ok. If that's what you really want to do, then do it. If you want some kind of ritual that will honor your child, there are all sorts you can do. Some people plant a tree, or a rose bush, or some other special flower, they can tend to, year after year, and watch grow. Regular readers of my blog will know that my husband and I make a donation in our son's honor every year on his birthday, to the hospital where he was born (we had exceptional care from a compassionate staff) and to the charity Save the Children, which supplies food and medicine for children in need. I know of one family who had a special place at the local zoo that meant something to them in relation to their son, and they dedicated a bench in his honor there.

You may wish to purchase a special piece of jewelry to wear, from someplace like Shannon Schoon's site. Alternatively, go online to an organization like Share, or First Candle, to make a donation or for more suggestions on how to honor your baby.

Regular readers, please offer your suggestions in the comments for newly bereaved parents.

If you're reading this because you're a friend or family member of someone who's lost a baby, and you're wondering how to help, it's pretty easy. Call them or send them a note before Mother's Day (and Father's Day), just to say, "I know this is a hard day for you, and I wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. And that I'm sorry." Believe me, it will mean the world to them. Ask if they want to talk about their baby, or show pictures or share memories. What most parents who've lost children want more than anything is for people to acknowledge the child they lost. If you want to do more, perhaps you could help them with one of the rituals I mentioned above. At the very least, please, please, acknowledge what they've lost.

For all the parents out there who've lost a child, I wish you peace.


Monica H said...

I wish I had this my first Mother's Day, or rather, my family had it. Thank you. I'll be thinking of you and Ben this mother's day...

M.I.S.S. Foundation is also a good one. To honor th eboys, we also go to Ronald McDonald House and donate to the families of sick children.

mrsmuelly said...

Thank you for sharing all of this - for the new and old readers. I too wish I would have had all this last year. And I wish that all the friends and family of those that have lost were forced to read this.
Happy Mother's Day to you.

Debbie said...

Happy Mother's Day, Virginia.

This is a beautiful, encouraging post for all of those moms out there who are new to this world, and a good reminder for those of us who have (unfortunately) been walking this road for a while now.

My Mother's Day post is not near as uplifting as yours, and is rather depressing (so don't go and read it, LOL!), but your post put a smile on my face. :)

I don't know if I can add much more than you did. I guess we always like to remember Sophie with messages on balloons that we send to Heaven for her and her friends.

Thinking of you, and all of the others just like us, on this Mother's Day. <3