Gentle Considerations in Navigating Mother’s Day After Perinatal Loss By Keisha Wells, LPC

By Lisa Savage | May 11, 2023

Sixteen years ago, I faced my first Mother’s Day without my twin sons—just 29 days after they took their first and last breaths. Although a bitter-sweet celebration, I was gently supported by family and received thoughtful gifts and love on this premiere day in my motherhood. The first of so many days I worked to brace myself and prepare for all the emotions I could feel while hoping for the best in enduring and honoring the forever bond between mother and child.  

 

Of all the birthdays, holidays, and anniversary dates weathered on my grief and healing journey, Mother’s Day has its unique challenges in balancing the joy and pain of my world with that of a world that often lacks understanding of—and fails to acknowledge—the unique and diverse lens of parenthood. It was several years following my initial Mother’s Day that I learned of International Bereaved Mother’s Day, observed on the first Sunday in May.

 

I, like you, have felt the sting of a depressive, deadly, hidden, and divisive enemy in the loss. In grieving, we often experience a loss of control on this path. 

 

We feel isolated.  

 

We ponder an unknown future. 

 

We feel raw and yet numb. 

 

We fear and question the unknown, unseen, and unexpected.  

 

We feel panic, regret, rage, and confusion. 

 

We also feel hope, love, and gratitude.  

 

We have survived the harshest, most heart-breaking days in life, and will continue to master loss. No matter if this is your first or fiftieth Mother’s Day following loss, I hope you realize this: loss cannot diminish that your identity and connection with your baby are valid and to be honored daily. Many facets of our everyday lives change in loss but you have rights that pregnancy and infant loss cannot diminish. No physical separation from my boys can tarnish my motherhood. I believe the same for you and your little one. 

 

Traditionally, my Mother’s Day practice is to respect my motherhood and celebrate it how I choose. To honor the gift of my twin sons in making me a mom. To acknowledge our connection and bloodline. Mother’s Day has looked different each year. Some years have been quiet and introspective, while others have been more festive. My only goal for this date is to be the best I can for the day and do whatever suits me. To allow my emotions to come and rest as they will. 

 

I hope you will resist imposing any expectations on yourself about what you should or should not do. So, if you choose to spend time journaling; crying and reflecting; taking a trip to get away from the noise of the day; writing a letter to your baby; watching your favorite movie (or three); planting flowers to honor your baby; or doing absolutely nothing as it’s your right—whatever it may be, let it be. But please acknowledge you and your rights on Mother’s Day. 

 

You may feel a mix of emotions from joy to sadness to rage, but know my thoughts are with you. Please accept the following kind words as my gift to you. Let them rest in your heart as positive affirmations. Let the following words of light and power brighten the dark places in your life. Receive them as a fragrant, floral bouquet because you are deserving.  

 

I believe in you and your ability to make it today and each day. Our tribe values you. We are many in number, but there is only one quite like you. Only one quite like your precious baby. You both matter so very much. Grief and loss will never defy the bond you have with your little one. I celebrate you today because you are a survivor. You are a loving being with such a caring and vibrant heart. The love you have for your sweet baby will always endure. It cannot truly be measured, nor will it be forgotten. I honor you today and every day.

 

About the Author

Keisha Wells is a licensed professional counselor and owner of Transformation Counseling Services in Georgia. Her practice focuses on grief counseling and perinatal mental health services. Keisha is also an avid reader and writer, contributing to articles in ESSENCE Magazine, The New York Times, Parents Magazine, and HuffPost. Keisha has combined her love for writing and advocacy with her book, From Three Heartbeats to One: A Gentle Companion Offering Hope in Grieving Pregnancy and Infant Loss. As an advocate for the bereaved, Keisha enjoys supporting others, helping them to develop their voices and identities in grieving, and to have hope and be empowered on their grief journeys. Connect with and follow Keisha on Instagram.




 

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Lisa Savage

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