I was unaware of this the first three years after my daughter died. It happens on the first Sunday in May each year, the week before Mother’s Day, as a special day to have our child, and our never-ending grief, acknowledged.
Many bereaved moms will draw or paint a heart on their hand on this day, writing their child’s name inside of it, to remind those around us that every day we still carry the love for our missing child in our hearts.
To me, having a day set aside like this is also a way to have a day that doesn’t take as much away from my other children wanting to celebrate my being their mother the following week. It kind of frees up my aching heart, since I am able to celebrate being Becca’s mom the week before Mother’s Day, while also allowing myself to lean into the painful reoccurring “fresh” grief this time of year.
This day was started by Carlie Marie in Australia, based on the death of her son, Christian, whom she gave birth to, knowing he had already died in her womb a few weeks previously. She says, “In 2010 I felt drawn to create International Bereaved Mother’s Day to help heal hurting Mother Hearts. International Bereaved Mother’s Day is intended to be a temporary movement. It is a heart centered attempt at healing the official Mother’s Day for all mothers. I believe that we can do this and that sometime in the near future there will be no need for this day at all because all true mothers will be recognized, loved, supported and celebrated.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want this to be a temporary movement. Yes, it would be wonderful if Mother’s Day was handled differently by most of the people around us. But it is also wonderful to have a special day set aside for all of us mothers who have a child no longer here with us; a day set aside to share our child with family and friends, to make sure he or she is never forgotten by others.
If you are a bereaved mother:
I encourage you to take advantage of this day coming up. Do whatever you want or need to do, to acknowledge the love you have for your child as a bereaved mom. If family and friends will join you, great! If not, WE will join you. We would love to have you share your child with us in the comments below the blog.
You can also go to our Facebook page and share your child with us there. Post a favorite photo of the two of you together, a picture of the heart drawn on your hand with his or her name in it, what you miss about them… whatever you want to share!
If you know a bereaved mother:
Many people think if they were to acknowledge the death of her child, it would make her upset with them for bringing up her child and her painful loss. The fact is, the exact opposite is true.
One of our greatest fears is that people will forget our child existed, so acknowledging our child and giving us an opportunity to talk about him or her is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give us!
- So, give her a big hug on International Bereaved Mother’s Day this Sunday (even if it has to be a virtual hug).
- Please make time and give her the precious gift of an opportunity to share her child with you.
- And then listen, and love on her as she loves on her child whom she will always carry deeply in her heart, just like every mother does.
And be aware that if you see a woman with a heart drawn on her hand in the next few days with a name inside of it, she is showing an outward symbol of an inward fact: we will continue to carry the love for that child in our hearts until the day we ourselves die and leave this earth.
Unfortunately, Mother’s Day can be a day with so many mixed and painful emotions, as many people are reminded of the earthly loss of their mothers or their children. If that is you, I am very sorry. My heart goes out to you.
And I especially pray that God will give each of you precious moms who have had to live through the death of your child, a beautiful day of sacred joy within the grief of remembering your precious child this Sunday, on International Bereaved Mother’s Day.
Would you like to have our list of Thirty Ways to Take Care of Yourself After the Death of Your Child? Let us know where you would like it sent, and we will do so right away.
GPS Hope exists to walk with grieving parents through the suffocating darkness of child-loss to a place of hope, light and purpose.
We also support families, friends and coworkers who want to know how to support these parents both short and long-term.
- If you are a bereaved parent, we encourage you to connect with us on Facebook.
- If you are not a bereaved parent but want to support those who are, or want to follow us as we give hope to these precious parents, please connect with us at Friends of GPS Hope on Facebook.
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Expressions of Hope is written by author and speaker Laura Diehl. Laura is a national keynote speaker and also a workshop speaker for both The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents USA national conferences. Laura has also been a guest on Open to Hope several times, and has hosted her own conferences, a virtual conference and many webinars. If you would like more information about Laura as a speaker for your next event, click here.