the woman standing in front of you at the checkout line on the verge of tears because she just dropped the jar of pickles,
the cashier who seems she could care less about her job, but had to return to work much too soon after her loss,
the woman at work who tells you she doesn’t want any kids but isn’t telling you that she’s been trying for years only to have suffered numerous miscarriages,
the woman who cries in her car because everyone in real life has grown tired of trying to ‘fix’ her pain,
the woman who finds herself jumping out of airplanes, skydiving, making spontaneous road trips because she wants to squeeze life for everything it’s got, because she knows how short time could be,
the woman at marriage counseling trying not to lose her husband too,
the woman at the tattoo parlor for the first time ever, craving a way to stay connected to her departed child,
the woman at the altar, praying a broken prayer through tears and running mascara,
the woman who wonders everyday if she will lose her other children too,
the woman who laughs to hide her pain,
the woman who hides in the bathroom at social events because something about trivial conversation is nauseating at best,
the woman who no longer recognizes herself in the mirror,
the woman who strangely feels empty and empowered all at the same time,
the woman who feels like she can conquer the world, because she’s got nothing to lose,
the grandmother who shares her losses with you, only after you’ve lost a child,
the mother of young children whose hands are constantly full of cheerios, goldfish crackers and dirt, who is always being told by others how full her hands must be, but thinking to herself ‘not full enough’.
the woman ‘addicted’ to social media because she has finally found a community that understands her pain, and her new normal,
the woman you don’t recognize anymore,
the woman who is dancing and singing out loud, not afraid to make a fool of herself,
the woman who looks broken even when she’s smiling,
the woman who wears her heart on her sleeve,
the woman who bears her grief silently, and puts on a mask for her outside world,
the woman who make a drastic career change, what seems like to the rest of the world, on a whim,
the woman who can’t seem to put two sentences together,
one of the bravest women you will ever encounter.
The bereaved mother has lost more than most people will lose in a lifetime. Consider her pain, speak gently to her, and know that grief changes you for a lifetime.
The bereaved mother is all around you.
If you are a bereaved mother, what would you add?
Franchesca Cox is the founder of Still Standing Magazine. She is currently seeking her Master’s in Occupational Therapy, a yogi and author of Celebrating Pregnancy Again and Facets of Grief, a creative workbook for grieving mothers. Learn more about her heartwork on her website.