Mother’s Day After Loss

Today was Mother’s Day in the UK. I looked up the definition of the word ‘mother’ in the dictionary, and it told me that it is used as a noun, but can also be used a verb (e.g. a ‘doing’ word). This means that really anyone can ‘mother’ (look after) another person. You don’t have to be a female to ‘mother’ someone, and you don’t have to be a ‘mum’ either. I know plenty of people who are neither of these but do both perfectly. Interestingly, Mother’s Day was actually originally called Mothering Sunday. The meaning behind it comes from when Christians would visit their ‘mother church’ on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Somehow this occasion has become a day we now use to honour and celebrate mothers and children. I think that sometimes Mother’s Day can be seen as excluding those who are not mothers (as in those who don’t have children). However, I think that if it can be looked at in a way that celebrates all those who ‘mother’ us, it includes all sorts of families and those who care for us.

Anyway, grammar and history lessons aside, I have been thinking a lot today about Mother’s Day. Of course it’s been a day for me to celebrate. It’s been a day for me to honour my amazing Mum. She is my role model, the mum I aspire to be. I am so grateful to have had her (and dad) in my life. I am actually really grateful they chose me to be their daughter. Without them I know that my life wouldn’t have worked out the way it did. Without them I definitely wouldn’t be where I am in life today. Today has been a day to celebrate being a Mummy myself. I am the lucky one to have my little girl. She brightens up our lives more than she will ever know. She brings fun and laughter to our house. She has taught me so much about myself, and she inspires me daily to be the best mum I can. Sometimes even now I still can’t quite believe I get to be her mum.

Today has also been a day to be sad and to reflect. Of course with adoption there are losses, and today they seem to be very much apparent. As we celebrate me becoming a mum, I cannot forget that in order for me to do this, someone else has ‘lost’ their child. Little Love’s Birth Mum will of course always be her Birth Mum. I can’t ever take that away from her (and would never want to). She delivered Little Love into the world, and they will always have that connection. It makes me very sad that she doesn’t get to share the experience of watching Little Love grow up. We work had to make sure that Little Love knows she has a Birth Mum, and I guess I want to reassure her (Birth Mum) that we actively do talk about her and try to help Little Love make sense of her story. I do often wonder about her, and wonder where she is or what she’s doing. I worry about her, I hope she’s ok. I think about how she might be feeling. I’m glad we met her, maybe we’ll meet again one day. I think as she gets older Little Love will understand more about the ‘loss’ of her Birth Mum, and I imagine this will be hard for her too. I hope that I can support her to come to terms with this as she needs.

Last year, nearly a year ago I had a miscarriage. Today was the first Mother’s Day after loss. At the time I didn’t expect the miscarriage to have had such an affect on me. I expected to just be able to get over it, and have been surprised that that hasn’t been the case. I’m ok, but every now & then I am hit by what I guess is a wave of grief. Grief for the baby that never was. Grief for the future that I imagined but that we’ll never experience. These last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking more about if we’d had that baby, and how they’d be a few months old now. I makes me miss something I never even had if that makes sense. Baby or not we still have Little Love, and I’m not saying that having a birth child would make me any more of a mum than I already am. Neither am I saying that Little Love is any less our daughter, but it still feels like something of me is missing. I was working today, so we didn’t go to church as usual. I think it was actually a blessing in disguise because maybe being surrounded by all those gorgeous little babies there at the moment might just have been just too much for me today.

Anyway, to summarise, Mother’s Day is wonderful, and great opportunity to honour those who love and support us. But it’s also a day in which people’s sadness is very acute. Mother’s day after loss is hard, and that’s ok to.

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