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Bereaved Mother’s Day: 5+ tips to help you through

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There are lots of reasons women around the world have a love/hate relationship with the second Sunday in May. When you’ve lost a child, whether you have living children or not, it’s always {at least} a touch bittersweet…

I have found the first Sunday in May, International Bereaved Mother’s Day, actually lightens my heart a little. Only if because, for no other reason, it reminds me I am not alone in my pain and sorrow. And, no matter how old your baby was, or how long you got to hold them in your arms, you will ALWAYS carry them in your heart.

Regardless of which Mother’s Day you ‘celebrate’, please remember to be gentle with your heart. Holidays {yes, ALL holidays} are hard when you’re missing your person. So, let me offer you an acronym: PIERS. Just think of the PIERS to support you, hold you up, and allow you to grieve:

Plan: Decide how you prefer to spend your day and do that. It doesn’t have to be a ‘traditional’ day. Lay in bed all day. Go on a run. See a slasher flick in the theater. Make a batch of cookie dough and eat it from the bowl in your underwear on the sofa. Have a plan for the day – even if it’s loose-ish and completely cancel-able. Having an agenda {with the intention to stick to it} helps remove the decision fatigue.

Ignore: The stupid comments and ‘helpful advice’ others will try to give you. Know that they {probably} mean well they’re just really bad at communicating it. People are designed to ‘fix’ and pushing you to see the ‘bright side’ or ‘silver lining’ is their attempt to fix. The problem is, feelings don’t get fixed.

Hanlon’s Razor is my new favorite theory. It says: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. People don’t mean to be hateful – they’re just stupid.

Ease: Your load – if you don’t want to do ‘Mother’s Day things’ then don’t. Rest if that’s what your body and mind want. Consider asking friends and family to bring over supplies, or just be there with you. If they have ‘traditional’ plans for the day that you just can’t bring yourself to partake in suggest a different day/time/location so you can be included, or just tell them straight up you can’t… If they truly want to support you, their love for you will overpower any hurt feelings by not having you there.

Rehearse: Your answers to the questions you think you’ll be asked, especially if you’re going to be around others. If it is early after your loss, you’ll probably get a lot of ‘How are you doing?’ type of questions. Or, others will ask about your loss story… Or, better yet {see above}, others will try to ‘fix’ your grief and ‘make’ you happy.

How do you want to answer those questions? {There’s no right way.} It’s OK to give the real answer – and – it’s OK to give a quick ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ answer too. There is no right answer, there is only YOUR right answer…and also it’s nice to think about answer ahead of time.

Share: Your thoughts and feelings openly. If you need to be alone, say so. If you want others around, invite them over. If you want to cry there is no reason to feel guilty or wrong for doing so. Sharing your thoughts and feelings the best way you know how: talking, drawing, dancing, writing… You don’t have to share anything with anyone just getting the emotions OUT helps.

Are you hosting someone grieving this holiday? If you don’t remember reading about My Holiday ‘Grace Space’ may I suggest you do? And, you can always find a time to chat with me if you want to talk to someone that truly understands.


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