As Mother’s Day approaches, there’s a lot of talk about burnt toast and bad gifts.
But for some mums, Mother’s Day is a day of overwhelming heartache. The mums with empty arms.
Bereaved mothers are everywhere. We all know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. A mother who has lost a child to an accident or disease. The mums-in-waiting struggling with infertility or waiting with desperate hope to adopt. And the mums estranged from their babies or those with children living far away.
It is important we honour the mums with empty arms this Mother’s Day. And the mums who have arms full of children, but with an empty space in their heart for the ones not there.
For these mums, there may be no handmade cards. No kindy craft. No misshapen pancakes. No pyjamas. No slippers. No phone calls to say I love you Mum. And no cuddles from little loving arms, or loving arms grown big and strong.
For these mums, there is no Happy Mother’s Day. On a day all about mums, these mums may feel forgotten. Unacknowledged. Caught between two worlds where they identify as a mother but the world does not see them as one.
All we can offer these mums is that we remember them.
So please, in amongst your Mother’s Day, think of them, acknowledge them. Send them a message. A small gift. A card. Make a phone call. Pop in. Take them for a coffee, for lunch. Bring flowers. Be there when they visit the cemetery if they can’t face going alone. Offer a hug. A squeeze of the hand. An understanding smile. It may seem small or insignificant, but I promise it won’t be.
And though women all grieve differently, they all grieve because they have loved – or longed to love. The absence of their children doesn’t change that. So, if a mother’s grief feels unimaginable to you, imagine her love instead. Sometimes just letting a mother know she’s on your mind is enough. Especially on Mother’s Day. Extend a hand because, as mums we all know, a little kindness can be a huge comfort.
Yep, I get it. It can be hard to face that kind of sadness. That deep a loss. That unfathomable heartache. It can be hard to know what to do that could possibly make a difference. And it can seem easier, kinder almost to leave those mums alone. But this will only make a hard day lonelier still. And on a day all about mums, who better to remember other mums than us? Who better to share in and understand that amazing thing that it is to be a mother?
So please remember them. It’s about saying Hey there mum, I see you. I get that this is impossibly hard. I’m here. Because being a mum with empty arms this Mother’s Day will be difficult enough. But no one remembering, recognising, acknowledging, that will only make it harder still.