Mother’s Day (event): A celebration honouring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society
From a baby loss perspective, it’s been an overwhelming and eventful March for me, and we’re not even half way through.
First I steeled myself for World Book Day, a social media frenzy, with photographs of children in fancy dress costumes. Next up, International Women’s Day on the 8th. I used to love this day, but this year, it hit me hard: from hereon in, International Women’s Day will always be the day before Summer’s birthday, but I will never know what type of woman she would have become. I expect the timing of this is going to be a tough reminder for me every year now. All I can do is imagine, I will never know. Knowing however that Summer (and I) share a middle name with Kamala Devi Harris – the 49th Vice President of the United States – I like to think she would have had some attributes of her namesake.
It’s so illogical, so heart-over-head. I kept trying to remind myself that Summer at full-term would not have been a March baby, but a July baby (hence her name), but logic doesn’t mean anything. Instead, all I could think was how awesome it would have been to have a daughter born in the week spanning World Book Day AND International Women’s Day. It would have been a wonderful week every year of reading, learning and birthday celebrations.
The 9th March was, of course, Summer’s birthday (which for us, will always be The First Day of Summer) and now, today in the UK, it is Sunday 14th March: Mother’s Day. Mothering Sunday. A typo away from the Bothering day it could have been named.
To all of the loss mums struggling today: I see you, I am you. We know all too well that every day is hard. Today is yet another one to get through. I hope people are kind to you today. Tomorrow is a new day, I hope it hurries along.
Personally, I have such mixed feelings about Mother’s Day because…
1) I have such mixed thoughts about it
Last week, James asked me if I wanted him to mark the day in some way, and I said I didn’t know. I genuinely did not know. I still do not know.
When I think about other people in the loss community, I unequivocally feel that they are parents. I wouldn’t dream of questioning or withdrawing their titles – their babies died, they’ve had enough taken from them. Yet, I don’t afford myself this same kindness. I don’t know why, I just know that I don’t.
In all bruthfullness, I think of my two miscarriages with Boc and My Baby, and my second-trimester loss with Summer differently. Because Summer’s life has been recognised by law, I’ve personally felt more compelled to carve out a space for her in our family, now and always. I have a lot of respect for others who do this, with first trimester losses or without birth certificates etc, but for me, this was what felt right. So in my head, I now feel that I was BoC and My Baby’s mummy, and that I am Summer’s mummy, but that I am not a mum. Does that even make sense to anyone else? It barely makes sense to me.
2) I have such mixed experiences of it
In 2017, Mother’s Day fell on James’ birthday, so we’d spent the day before celebrating with my mum. In 2018, we were on holiday road-tripping in New Zealand with James’ parents. In 2019, we were finally parents ourselves (sort of – I was pregnant for the second time) and though I am so grateful to have been pregnant during a Mother’s Day, it was a day that we rushed into A&E due to the bleeding I was experiencing with My Baby. I was exactly 11 weeks pregnant and though it was a perfect scan, the very next day I miscarried – again. It made me an April Fool.
Last year, Mother’s Day fell on the 22nd, just two weeks after Summer had died. Our third loss. Some friends had come to support us, it was the day before the UK lockdown was announced and the last time we’ve seen our friends for a year, as the pandemic restrictions have continued. I will always be so grateful to them, for forgoing their own family Mother’s Day weekend (leaving their children at home), in order to see James and I, during our time of need. I would never have expected anyone to do that.
3) I thought I would have been a mum by now
Is this Mother’s Day this year, for me too? I’ve no idea. I expect not. But thank you to everyone who has sent messages remembering Summer and me today, including us in your club.
Instead of Mothering Sunday, I’ll concentrate on something else: today is our anniversary. Today, marks 15 years of being in a relationship with James – and next month, we’ll have been married 9 years. Although we certainly would have expected to have children to raise by now (yep, plural), I’m going to try not to think about that. We can just have our own little mini celebrations, never mind what all our siblings, friends and peers are marking today. Maybe next year, we’ll join them… but I think that every year.
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