It’s one week until Mother’s Day and families around the country are preparing to celebrate. Restaurants have been booked for fancy lunches, provisions purchased for breakfasts in bed, and high-street retailers are at fever pitch.
In fact, for bereaved mothers, Mother’s Day can be one of the hardest days of the year. As Perth blogger CarlyMarie explains:
“If you have experienced the death of one or more of your children, struggled to conceive a child or are unable to fall pregnant at all, Mother’s Day can often bring up feelings of isolation, unworthiness, pain and sadness,” she says.
With this in mind, CarlyMarie has created Bereaved Mother’s Day - a special day that acknowledges “all true mothers.”
Bereaved mother and Sands parent supporter Anne Altamore told The Weekly Online that she is in support of the idea. Sadly, Anne had a miscarriage and lost her twins.
“Losing a child is complicated - it is the loss of a future, of milestones never celebrated, and can be very isolating. Bereaved Mother's Day helps make us feel less alone and provides the opportunity and, dare I say it, even permission to join in solidarity with others like us and find encouragement and support,” she explains.
Anne believes that Bereaved Mother’s Day also helps to raise awareness of the bittersweet nature of Mother’s Day.
“Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate and honour mothers. And Bereaved Mother’s Day is a day to acknowledge and validate the losses that losing a child brings and provide support to bereaved mothers,” she says.
While Bereaved Mother’s Day might sound like something for an unfortunate few, there are actually thousands of bereaved mothers in Australia. Sands estimate that one in four pregnancies (103,000) ends in miscarriage in Australia each year, and approximately 3,000 babies are either stillborn or die in the first 28 days after birth.
However, pregnancy loss and stillbirth are often thought of as taboo subjects and swept under the carpet. Anne says that this is because people feel uncomfortable talking about it or simply don’t know what to say.
Anne’s advice is to reach out to bereaved mothers who may be experiencing intense grief.
“Being kind and respectful to the mother no matter at which stage she lost her child will be a source of comfort,” she says.
Sands have organised a number of events around the country to mark Bereaved Mother’s Day such as memorial services, afternoon teas and a bubble-blowing gathering where mothers will meet to blow bubbles in memory of their children.
As for Anne, she says that she will be spending Bereaved Mother’s Day on the phones at Sands offering support and comfort to anyone that wants to talk.
“My journey to integrating my losses and moving forward has had a strong focus on renewal and finding meaning,” she says.
“That makes my life a tribute to my twins.”
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