International Bereaved Mother's Day


Julia Go

4/28/2022 5 min read

On Sunday is international bereaved mother's day.

Have you ever heard of it?

Sadly, I didn't until being in this space following other mums who have lost their babies. And this is actually why we need international bereaved mothers' day. If we were in a world where bereaved mothers were acknowledged and seen and grief would be normalised, there wouldn’t be any need for this day.

How Did International Bereaved Mother’s Day Start?

International Bereaved Mother’s Day was started in 2010 by Carly Marie Dudley, who organized the movement after losing her son, Christian.

This is her beautiful intention behind bereaved mother's day:

“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-centred 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.”

This article is for those of you who have not experienced the loss of a baby and who are not sure how to acknowledge international bereaved mothers' day with a friend or family member.

Reach out to a bereaved mom on bereaved mothers' day or on mothers' day, or even better on both of those days. We are often shy of words and I get it.

Most of has have learnt to avoid something that we perceive as difficult or negative. We don't want to stir up a bereaved mother's grief. I promise you, she's thinking of her baby anyways. We'll never know what another person really needs or feels until we ask.

Maybe she shows you her sadness only when you acknowledge her, but it is not you who upset her. She has a right to feel that way and to be seen, heard and witnessed in her grief. Nevertheless, you might be uncomfortable approaching the subject of loss. That's okay.

Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Why would she need to be the only one feeling uncomfortable and hide her grief and sorrow to make you feel better?

How Do People Acknowledge Bereaved Mother’s Day?

It may be difficult to know what to say to someone who has lost a child. I want to give you some ideas of what you could say or do.

Send a message:

Sometimes we want to be cheery and celebrate and maybe that is right for the women you talk to. But instead of wishing her a ‘happy day’, you could offer her some sympathy or even better empathy.

Here is what you could write. I am giving you examples and you can make the message as long or short as you want.

“I am thinking about you today, I read it is international bereaved mother’s day.”

“I’m thinking about your baby (please include the baby's name!!!!) often and I wanted you to know that. I know he is always in your heart and you will always be a mother.”

“When I saw the Mother’s Days Cards in the shops, I instantly thought of you. Would you like to meet or have a call some time this week?”

“I wish I could give you a big hug today, you’ll have to settle for a big virtual hug. I love you, and I’m thinking of you and your husband on mother’s day.”

“Please know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers for the next few weeks. I also think of you each year as little Simon’s birthday approaches. Your sweet baby has not been forgotten.”

If you know she finds the time difficult you could say or write something like this:“

I know Mother’s Day is difficult for you.” or “I know you dread the first part of May every year.”

I would be careful with assuming though because that doesn’t leave room for conversation and maybe she is not and you spark doubt or guilt in her with an assumption like that. It’s not about pitying your friend, it’s about acknowledging her as the mother she is and letting you know that you remember her and her child.

Donate to an appropriate charity

You could donate to a child loss or baby loss charity.

There are some amazing charities out there in the name of your friend's child.

Here are just a few I love donating to: (all over the world) (This is where I found great support after losing my son.

Local in Berlin)

Post a message to grieving moms on social media

With mothers day coming up you could post a message on social media, saying that your heart goes out to all the women on Mother’s Day that are missing their children, those who have lost them during or after pregnancy. By the way, my heart also goes out to all of those who are missing their mother on mothers day.

You might not get much feedback, but you might not even know who of your social media friends will be touched profoundly by this message.

If you want to go the extra mile:

I love you for still reading this. If you want to go the extra mile get her something small, windchimes, a book about grieving or child loss, bring her a mail, memorial jewellery, a cute figurine, a candle, flowers…let your creativity flow.

If you know she has a symbol for her lost child incorporate that into the present. What do I mean by that? Some mothers connect their children who died with the stars, maybe butterflies, bees or a certain bird. If you know any of that, you could try to find a memento in connection with this symbol. She will notice and her heart will jump.

Don’t forget: We all are different and grief can affect us differently every day.

Maybe the mum you acknowledge struggles to message back, maybe she is taken aback or overwhelmed and doesn’t say thank you. Please don’t make this about you. It’s about her.

I’d love it if you could share this article with as many people as possible. We still don’t have enough awareness about how to deal with grief and often forget the ones who are left behind.

If you want to love yourself and your life again, even after the loss of your baby, I invite you to sign up for my free training.
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