Surviving Mother’s Day When You’ve Lost a Child

surviving mother's day

We all have different ideas on how to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Some of us love family time and hanging with the kids while others consider the day a hall pass where we can relax at the beach by ourselves or go to a spa. No matter what, most moms get to hear the words, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Unfortunately, there’s a group of moms who don’t. They belong to a club that none of us want to belong to; the moms who’ve lost their baby due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths and stillbirth. I happen to be one of those moms. My son was born in April of 1997 and died from SIDS four months later. That year I was thrilled to be celebrating my first Mother’s Day. The next year, while I was still a mom, I no longer had my baby here with me. And no one knew what to say to me. No one wanted to upset me so no one said, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Without a doubt, it’s a difficult day for moms whose babies are in heaven and at First Candle we spent a great deal of time offering comfort via phone and our online grief groups.

If someone you know will be celebrating Mother’s Day without her baby, understand that it’s OK to acknowledge her pain and simply acknowledge the day.  You can also offer to do something with her – take a walk, get a manicure or a cocktail, or simply sit together.

But also, be sensitive to the fact that she might not want company – she might simply want to crawl into bed and sleep through the day. Let her know that, whatever her choice is, it’s OK and you’re there for her. Sometimes being a friend means simply giving space.

surviving mother's day

For more tips on bereavement visit First Candle’s site.

Your help matters. Donate here to support our bereavement program and help moms whose Mother’s Day will never be the same again.

Alison JacobsonIn 1997, Alison Jacobson lost her first son, Connor, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A year later her second son was born with intellectual disabilities. Alison also has two teen-aged daughters. As CEO of First Candle, the national non-profit dedicated to eliminating SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths and supporting families who have lost babies to these causes as well as stillbirth, Alison is committed to getting all babies to their first birthday and educating everyone about Safe Sleep Guidelines.

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