by Halle Marenger
Mother’s Day feels different after you experience child loss. You spend the day daydreaming of what life should look like.
This is my third Mother’s Day as a loss mom, and this year I’ve added two new angels to the mix.
I used to look forward to Mother’s Day, but now the countdown fills me with sadness. It feels like a reminder that my body failed me, and that I’m missing such a huge piece of my heart.
Trying to plan my day around loving on my living child and sitting by my daughter’s grave is exhausting.
Am I doing what I should be?
Should I focus less on her because she’s not here?
Is it silly to sit in a cemetery, crying for my baby on a day that I’m supposed to be celebrated?
I feel robbed of true motherhood. I had this idea of what it would look like, and I never pictured it this way.
Parenting a deceased child is hard. You defend their life; you try to protect their memory.
When you go out in public, people see the children you’re with; they don’t see the ones you’ve lost.
Every time a stranger says, “Happy Mothers Day,” to me, I want to tell them about my daughter. I want to tell the entire world that I’m a mother to a beautiful little girl, who they can’t see.
Sometimes it feels like if I just wore a shirt that said, “I’m a loss mom,” maybe then it would feel better.
I feel like less of a mother than a woman who has all of her children because all but one of mine died.
I feel like I failed because my body couldn’t keep them safe.
I feel like I live in a society that judges the measure of a mother by the number of kids she has “successfully raised,” but I can’t raise 6 of mine.
I feel like I’m always fighting to be seen as a mother of more than one. It’s like I want to scream to everyone I see that my son is not my only child.
I want to tattoo it on my skin, so I always have her with me, so that everyone can see her.
I don’t want my son growing up and being referred to as an “only child,” and I don’t want to have to explain myself.
Being a loss mom means I am constantly defending my title of “mother.” I am continually reminding others that I am a mom to multiple children. I do this to family, to friends, to strangers.
This is not how I envisioned it.
Mother’s Day hurts after you lose a baby. You don’t always feel celebrated, or more importantly, supported and seen.
Don’t make us have to remind you to talk about our lost babies.
Don’t make us have to be the one to bring them up.
Talking about them doesn’t have to be sad. It can be happy; it can be beautiful. I’m not a mess most days, and I won’t crumble when they’re mentioned.
Ask me about them, talk about them.
I see you getting uncomfortable when I mention them. I see you look down. I see your face change.
I hear you change the subject.
I’m sorry it makes you uncomfortable.
I’m sorry that it isn’t what you want to hear, but I need to talk. I need to mention them. I need you to remember them.
I need you to know that I will never stop talking about them because it is all I have left.
I need you to support me.
I need you to let me be sad, even when I’m happy.
I need you to hug me and tell me it’s okay to feel like this.
I need you to tell me you miss them too, and you love them also.
I need you to realize that this is hard for me.
I need you to remember that part of me is always sad.
Even when something great happens. Even when I’m happy. Even when I’m full of joy.
I’m still sad.
I’m always aware of what I’m missing. I’m always remembering what I lost and always wishing for what could be.
Every day I make sure I say my babies’ names—every single day. I can’t fall asleep until I do.
Most days, I know that I’m the only one who’s said them, and that’s just fine because even when the rest of the world moves on, I’m still here.
I’m still remembering. I’m still talking. I’m still grieving.
That’s the best part about the loss community. You don’t have to ask them to remember.
They always include all of your babies, say their names, ask what you need – they are there.
It’s a group no one wants to join, but it’s one you’ll never be alone in because no matter how excluded the world makes you feel, I guarantee someone here will read your words and sigh with relief that someone out there feels the same as them.
Whether this is your first Mother’s Day without your baby or your 10th, know you are loved, you are supported, and you are never alone here.
For every other mother who is missing her babies, every mother who is remembering those she lost, every other mother who is feeling the way I am… I’m with you.
You’re not alone. I will remember with you.
I will listen, I will talk, I will cry with you. It’s okay to hurt; it’s okay to feel broken.
It’s okay to continue grieving, even though everyone tells you it’s been long enough.
Grief has no time limit, just like love.