Commercials and ads show happy moments with mothers being gifted beautiful bouquets of flowers; hand drawn cards; and wonderful brunches with their children. I knew I would never get to have that type of experience on Mother’s Day because my daughter was not here with me. I sobbed in pain because I grieved the precious moments that were robbed from me. Am I really a mother? Would others recognize me as a mother on that day? Even though she died, part of me felt like that day was for me too. At first, it was hard to think of myself as a mother because I was not experiencing motherhood as I had hoped. I was not facing sleepless nights or celebrating milestones. I did not know what it was like having a newborn at home. After a month of going back and forth, I suddenly realized, I wanted to be treated as a mom. I carried my baby for her entire life. I nourished her, I sang to her, I took care of her and even though I do not
physically carry her around in my arms, I still carry her with me everyday in my heart. I hoped that others would recognize me as a mother. I hoped that they would recognize that day was meant for me too. I cannot really put into words why that was so important for me, but it just was. When that day came and I received amazing gifts and kind words from several loved ones, it really made me feel like Zalayah was/is loved and remembered. I realized how valuable it was to me to be able to talk about her with others, to keep her memory alive. I wanted to be honoured and celebrated as Zalayah’s mother and it meant a lot to me that I was because even though she was born still, I am still her mother.
This week I listened to two podcasts that were very meaningful to me.
The first podcast is Special Episode 19: Mother's Day with Taylor Ashley Bates. Taylor walks us through her first Mother’s Day experience after her son, Ellis, was stillborn. She also struggled with whether she was a mother since she did not have a living child. A lot of the feelings she had experienced, I did as well. Taylor not only goes through her personal story and how she felt, she also recognizes that it is okay if you do not want to be recognized on Mother’s Day or if you feel positive feelings related to that day showing us there is no “right” way to feel or experience that day. She recognizes that motherhood is often defined by its challenges after bringing baby home, but what I really liked is that she stated bereaved mothers face challenges as well, and although they are different from the traditional ones, they are worth celebrating and that really resonated with me. The podcast ends with a meditation which has been something that I have been doing more lately. Meditation reduces my stress, helps me to control my anxiety and has increased my self-awareness. I really enjoyed this podcast and hope you will too.
The second is 5 Ways to Love a Grieving Mom on Mother's Day | Episode 78 — The Morning with Ashlee Proffitt. This podcast validated how I was feeling around Mother’s Day in 2020. It is something I wish I had listened to at the time as it can help others know how to show up for and support a grieving loved one on Mother’s Day. It also demonstrated to me that I am not alone in how I was feeling since Ashlee shares messages from bereaved mothers. I really appreciate that Ashlee Proffitt thanks those who are supporting their loved ones through grief. Without the friends and family who have helped me through this difficult time, it would have been a lot harder for me to get through it and I am truly grateful for them. There are a few minutes where Ashlee is reciting bible verses and I must be honest, my faith was shattered when my daughter died, and I am still bothered when people refer to God and God’s will etc. when it comes to her passing so that part was not for me, not yet anyway. But I can appreciate that it may mean a lot to others and I have a great respect for those who have maintained their faith. Overall, I believe this is truly an amazing podcast that should be shared with support systems as she really gets what is important for a mother who is grieving their child on Mother’s Day. She is right, we are mothers to, I want to be recognized as a mother, I want to know that my baby is not forgotten, and my motherhood is valued and worth celebrating. I hope that her words resonate with you as they did with me.