I love my mother, and we get along well, but when it comes to my pregnancy losses and struggles with infertility, well…
Let’s just say we’re not on the same page.
My mother never struggled to get pregnant. She never had a loss. So even if she was grieving the death of her grandsons, she just was never able to relate to me. She did not know what to say. She could not express her own grief. She never even looked at them. It was my mother who tried to comfort me by saying: “At least they weren’t born severely disabled. That would have been hard.” She repeated it many times.
And so the death of my boys didn’t just change how I felt about *being* a mother. It changed my relationship with my own mother.
Mother’s Day is such a difficult time for us bereaved parents. If we have no living children, we ache for them and for the public acknowledgment that we too are mothers. If we have living children, we still mourn the ones that are not here and think about how different things might have been. If we have lost our own mothers, there is that grief compounded on top. If we have a mother but are estranged from her, that brings its own special heartache.
As Mother’s Day approaches, what can I do to build a bridge with my mother?
- Can I ask her about how the loss of Nate and Sam changed her feelings about being a grandmother?
- Can I tell her she doesn’t have to stay strong for me, even though I am her child?
For while she does not know what it is like to be a bereaved mom, I too do not know what it is like to be a bereaved grandma. If we take time to listen to one another, really listen, perhaps we can heal what has broken between us.
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. She is also the author of Joy at the End of the Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss, which won second place in the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards (Consumer Health).