I found myself using the analogy of a magnifying glass this week to try and help a friend see how Mother’s day felt for me since losing our daughter Poppy at term in 2014. I used to think as each date passed that it would feel like an accomplishment, that it would suddenly enable me to more easily face the next one, and one after that, and so on. But instead I find that the passage of time just magnifies the loss more and brings home to me the ripples of our loss for the remainder of our lives.

It is always the time of year where I am constantly reminded by other’s to “look at how blessed I am with my other children”, to which I want to just scream! Such a comment implies that because I grieve for my 3rd child on such occasions (and every day) that I am somewhow ungrateful for my living children? It’s such a ridiculous thing to say! It’s as if Ethan, Megan and Alice make up for the fact Poppy died… or that my love for Poppy isn’t valid and would be best shared amongst each of my living kids instead!!

The truth is that yes I am a mother to 3 living kids – I know that, because it is my life! I birthed them, adore them, and I am a stay at home mum to them. Each of my children is unique and special just as every child in the world is. But neither can replace or make up for the other because they are individuals, each with their own unique character and interests, each with their own place in my heart and in our family. And so Mother’s day isn’t a failure to see what is right in front of me, it is rather a magnification of what I have and have also lost.

This day, just as Poppy’s birthday and other significant dates, are bitter-sweet, and will forever be hard for me – not because I don’t see what I have, but because that doesn’t make up for what I have lost.

Mother’s day brings lovely moments where I sit sleepy eyed on the bed with my now 3 tiny gorgeous faces glaring at me in sheer delight. Handmade gifts, cards, flowers, chocolate and pictures; all eagerly handed over and each one excited to see my joy for all they have given me. I am showered in loved, but I am fighting and battling with the soul wrenching pain that another year has passed without knowing, raising and holding one of my precious little babies. I miss the cards from her, the pictures she might have drawn, the scribble of her 3.5 year old signature!

In short Mother’s day magnifies our blessings. But it equally magnifies our loss, and that is something no-one should be shamed over!

Magnified Blessings

Mother’s day is a great day to stand up and be proud that I am a mother! To relish in my motherhood and feel so immensely proud that I have 4 beautiful children. I am 33 and I have 4 kids – it’s nuts, but its brilliant too.

I love that Mother’s day is a great time to reflect on the excitement and anticipation we felt leading up to their arrival – the days we decided it was time to grow our family and how each one is such a lovely blessing in our lives. I love that I am their mother, and I love that I know them. I am forever changed for the better because of that. And so I love that on this day, out of all of the others, we get to be high-fived for our efforts and made to feel so special!

I love to think of how blessed we are with our own mothers and grandmothers and the amazingly strong women in generations before that too (that somehow impact me now as a mother), and I love to think of their sacrifices and examples to me of faith, courage, and strength.

Being able to be a mother, and know such great mothers is such a wonderful blessing in life, and I love how this day enlarges that reality and blessing. I love how I have time to be grateful in the fact that raising my kids, whilst challenging, is also a lot of fun!

Mother’s day is certainly a day to magnify our blessings and feel proud in what we do!

Magnified Loss 

But I am also a mother to a child that isn’t alive and that concept is something I can never get used to. I miss her everyday, and whilst some of those days are more gentle and I am able to function and feel great happiness and sunshine, on other days the storms rage and I can’t see for the fog!

I always find that Mothers day rolls around and magnifies these foggy feelings and our loss – It’s approach brings a lot of anxiety and sadness, and I find as it is a day that celebrates Mothers and Motherhood, what is to celebrate when the child isn’t here? When the world only chooses to see who is here and now, and not who has died and is missing from all of these moments, I find myself closing up and wondering how I make my motherhood to her a tangible and living thing still.

In a nutshell Mother’s day magnifies my loss because it suddenly reminds me of my own motherhood, and my inability to mother my 3rd child because she has passed away. It’s a day where it suddenly feels more intense, and the hole in my heart feels wider and bigger, the gap in our family is enlarged, and as I see pictures of other mother’s, with all of their children and celebrating their day, and my smiles are turned to stinging tears because my loss suddenly feels so huge and obvious again.

I become frustrated that I haven’t got those pictures of me grinning with my 4 beautiful kids, and I never will.

I haven’t nursed her, taught her, played with her or had the adventures and snuggles like I have with her siblings. I left  the hospital that Sunday night numb and heartbroken that she had gone before we could meet her, and I left that same hospital on her birthday empty handed and never to be the same again! I have carried that pain ever since, and no matter what I do it’s always there hovering beneath the surface.

And so now I look at Mother’s day, and whilst my blessings of 4 wonderful children are very apparent, and my love for them and hard work is acknowledged, I sit and wonder how the heck do I validate myself as her Mother when she isn’t here and few people even knew of her?

I want more than anything on these days for everyone to know I have had 4 kids, and that my amazing body made, carried and birthed each of my precious babies. I want them to see and know that even though there seems to be 3, there are in fact 4. But somehow stillbirth still creates an awkward barrier to that truth, and I back away and feel like I am weird or something. That feeling then feels like a scream that I want to shout out and tell the world that I am a mother to 4, proud of each one. I want to shout out and say that whilst I grieve I am strong, because life is incredibly hard to live without one of your kids. And yes, even though the others make it a happy and fun journey, full of wonderful and blessed moments – it is hard to have number 3 missing from them. And it’s hard to always fight for them all to be remembered, and for me to be validated as a mother of 4!

So how do I feel about my 4th Mother’s day after loss? Well I welcome the day to feel treasured by my little family, and look upon my blessing to hold the title of “Mother”, but I also dread the day because it hurts and enlarges all I have lost in our precious Poppy – another reminder of the ripples of loss!

There are mother’s all over the world that will be reading this and know exactly what I am saying. But there are also the mothers who unlike me, don’t have other kids to celebrate their motherhood with on this day. They don’t have the “other kids” to bring smiles and soften the blow of a painful reminder of loss. These Mothers need the acknowledgement more than ever – the chocolate, the flowers, the “thinking of you” momentos to say “YOU ARE A MOTHER TOO”!! But more so what they need, and what we all need, is some acknowledgement – Acknowledgement of our missing child. It is one of the greatest gifts one can receive and they need that often because they are mothers, and their children are real. They now have so much love and longing that can never leave, and it will always hurt. Yet despite that, they/we are still standing strong and surviving every single day without our beautiful babies here!

So “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY” to all of you Mothers – may the day be gentle and kind!

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Flowers speak so many things don’t they? They are a gift of love, of appreciation, of condolences and comfort, of congratulations, and generally just to make a room more pretty. I love receiving flowers because they make me feel thought of and always look so lovely and they never fail to make me smile however big or small!

But for me having fresh flowers in my life and home are more than just something I hope for on special occasions, rather they are one of my must haves for a feeling of joy and well being in daily life! They are a weekly (or fortnightly) gift to myself to brighten my home and lift my mood. I have my favourites (Tulips), but whatever flowers they are, provided they are fresh, they bring much loved colours and happiness to any corner of my home and life.

I often get messages from people asking what they can do for Mothers who sadly have lost their babies. I always find it so touching that they want to do something (anything), just to let them know they are thought of and loved at such an awful time! Whilst I have a whole post worth of ideas for this (yet to be published), I often want to also remind the friends and family of bereaved parents that help initially is always there in abundance, but it’s as time moves on that it’s also important you reach out. It’s a journey that you need to be in for the long run, because often as time passes, naturally people begin to forget that year after year there are certain dates that just make it all raw again. They forget that one of the “biggies” each year where support is needed is always Mother’s day!

Mother’s day is such a lovely day when you have kids around you or in your life. It’s so exciting to get the homemade cards, the bunches of flowers, chocolates, smellies, treats or Jewellery. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming thing to be remembered and shown appreciation for the love and work you put into raising a family and keeping a home.

But what about the mothers without their kids? The ones that never got to bring their babies home? Where is their acknowledgement and appreciation on a day dedicated to Mothers?

Give the Gift of Flowers

Flowers are a great gift at any time of year, they are a fantastic gift for our mothers, and especially as a gift to a mother without her child on Mother’s day. This date in the year for bereaved mothers is one of dread and anxiousness. Its another reminder of what they are missing, and it’s a day that feels really hard. Yes they are a mother…deep in their hearts every single day, but on the surface to the world they are seemingly not. It’s a day that screams to them “you have no child here… you don’t get to mother that baby”! For them mothers day lacks the hand drawn pictures and cards from your child, the scribbling name next to the others and the lovely treats chosen by the little ones. For them there is no acknowledgement of what it means to be a mother.

They miss out on the gifts, the cards and the brunch. But most importantly they are missing out on the little hands around their necks and gentle kisses on their cheeks – they are missing every tear, “I love you”, and cuddle that comes with being a mother.

My suggestion to anyone reading this, that knows of a mother that is facing mother’s day without their baby, is to send them something. Yes…why not send them a gift? And something so easy is a gift of flowers. You can order from the comfort of your home, with a personalised message and send them anywhere in the country or world even!

By sending a gift of flowers to a mother on Mother’s day you are acknowledging who she is on a day that seems more than ever to remind her of what she has lost. You are sending colour to her life and a vase of happiness to her home. It shows her that she is thought of, and her child is remembered! It brightens her home and lifts her heart, and helps her to take comfort in the knowledge that she and her child are not far from thoughts of others (as is sometimes the case in everyday life).

They are gift that will instantly lift the mood of the person you have sent them to, and bring positive emotional feelings to their day as you say “I remember who you are – Happy Mother’s day”!

Prestige Flowers have as many varieties of Mother’s day bouquets as there are mothers, so you are bound to find the perfect thing for that special mummy! They can be ordered in advance or last minute, and my favourite thing – they have some great offers on including Free Vases or Chocolates with some of their bouquets, and £10 -15 off some of them too.

So whether it is for your own mother, the mother of your kids, or a friend or relative that might be struggling this Mothers day because of loss – Why not send them a bright and beautiful gift of flowers right to their door. Let them know they are remembered this year, and help them feel acknowledged as a mother this mother’s day!

I am still very much enjoying the stunning bouquet that was sent to me last week with a few additions of a bear, vase and chocolates! When I saw them sat on my front step it was such a joyful delivery and has brought a lot of happiness to my home each time I see them – it made me think of all of those mother’s that might not get this this year!

*In Collaboration with Prestige Flowers

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I stood with a full heart watching Ethan’s Mother’s day assembly this morning. Full of pride for my little boy and for each of his class mates, for their talents and hard work. I was full of joy for the beauty of the whole thing and for my little boy. And then one line, in one fun little song completely caught me off guard, and before I know it there it was – Grief…just around the corner! It wasn’t just that moment, its being brewing all week, but it reminded me of how fragile my heart is.

In this case the trigger was something about how mothers keep them safe (or safe and warm I can’t 100% remember) and that was it. Yes that was true, mothers do keep their children safe, and yet one of mine died. They keep them warm and yet I cannot because she isn’t here. Was I a good mother to her? Whilst I no longer blame myself for what happened, there are always the questions of did I do enough? Did I fight for her life as much as I thought I was doing? Could I have had her born alive if I had have done more?

The majority of this week I have fought it… kicked back and tried to escape the anguish of grief. I tried. I promise I tried so hard this year to be excited for a mothers day with my new baby and my gorgeous 3 living kids. I tried incredibly hard to focus on my blessings, our new chapter with our beauties and more joys. I have survived 2 already as a bereaved mother…surely it gets easier to face? But no..apparently not, and no amount of positive attitude can counteract the natural emotions of grief that come from your baby dying, and the blatant reminder of that on mothers day that once again leave you plagued with an aching heart.

Once again I am here feeling low with reflections on stillbirth and a little angry about so many things, but mainly that the anger of grief and passing time means no one will really talk about it anymore. It isn’t personal, it is an effect of grief.

I am mad that she died.

I am mad that I couldn’t save her.

I am mad that I failed as a mother.

I am mad I didn’t see or hold her alive.

I am mad that I couldn’t have more time.

I am mad that I now have to be the weird one with a dead baby.

I am mad that however much time passes, grief can always catch me off guard as its just around the corner.

I am mad that few people understand and that I still need moments to talk.

I am mad that the people that were there; that I invited into my vulnerable life and saw, and wept with us… that helped me, seem to have moved on and no longer have the energy, time or desire to listen to the emotions of a mother whose baby is never coming back.

I am mad I expect more from people when I wish I had no expectations.

I am mad with myself that I can’t control my emotions and get angry and just need to talk.

I am mad that grief changed me so much and I can’t go back because of what is in my soul.

I am mad that people think I should behave in a certain way over my loss when they have not been through this.

I am mad about so many things from Drs, to how I was treated and yet I rejoice she is ours and remember how lovely and yet heartbreaking it was to hold her briefly.

Then like always it came to a head and I was able to figure it out…why am I so mad this week? So upset again and so frustrated about all of these things still? Well this year is a glimpse of what 2 years ago was supposed to look like. This year I have 3 children and I once again live with a glimpse of what I really lost. I grieve what should have been,and how it never was.  This year I see what I missed out on and all that was taken from life when she passed away. I clearly remember I have 4 and one is missing. My would be little tot isn’t here…I am incomplete. Her beautiful baby sister is here now and they do not get to grow up together like the others do. Each day I am reminded of what they are missing and have missed and what we have and are missing too. Each day I sit at home with a baby, clueless as to what to do and a little lonely too, and I am reminded I missed a whole stage of life.

Each time I see friends and family with babies and tots together I see how life was supposed to look and I can’t help but wonder if my life would be more happening than it is right now.

I just feel like a first time mum again struggling to know my place and finding new motherhood all a little lonesome. I feel like I need to make new friends with babies because as much as I love random meet ups and catch ups, they are lovely, but they are sporadic, and the majority of the time I am a bit lonely! I walk loads or sit at home because I fear baby groups – why? because I fear the reaction of telling people she isn’t my 1st, but rather my 4th.

I really wish I could give you a glimpse into my heart. I wish you could understand how possible it is for joy and sadness to exist together. I wish you could each understand my crazy desire and need to just talk about her and how hard it is some days, and understand that having a new baby is brilliant but hasn’t made me all better… I wish you could feel how my arms are full with beautiful children and my heart is full too, and yet it feels so empty and achy too, because grief is always just around the corner. Grief triggers are just around the corner, and I am reminded far too often that being a mother in my world means I barely feel like I am doing any good as I mother through pain, grief and far too many moments of feeling like I’m not even me!

I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, I want them to take time to listen and try to connect with my heart. I don’t want pity, just patience with me and an understanding that grief is often just around the corner.

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This Monday at our SANDS meeting, one of my friends and I decided it might be nice to do a craft with everyone. With the approach of mothers day this weekend, it just tends to be a more sensitive time for bereaved mothers and we find that crafts not only help us create (hello therapy), but our poor skills in that department also mean we tend to laugh together along the way as we share what’s in our hearts. We thought that tealight holders would be a nice thing to do as then we could all light them to remember our babies on mothers day.

I am sharing this with you because whilst it was something I did in my journey of loss with my fellow bereaved mothers, I also think that on a general scale it will make a lovely craft to do with kids as a gift for someone. Ethan actually asked if he could make one when he saw it yesterday morning and I then thought what a lovely activity to do with them too. The thrifty lass inside of me got to thinking a homemade tealight holder would make a nice and inexpensive gift for mums, Grandma’s, aunts or teacher’s for Mothers day or any occasion really and would be so personal. So here you go –

Homemade Tealight Holders

You will need 

*A glass or jam jar  (these were 50p from asda)

*Glass pens

*Embellishments (we used washi tape and stick on diamantes but lace and ribbons too would work)

*Tea lights (available all over, though the supermarkets have some lovely scented ones).

Then just go for it…Draw patterns, images, Lettering. Maybe add some tape or sparkles. Maybe some burlap and lace…

We all chose to do them differently with hearts and quotes drawn on some, to me with a letter P for poppy. One of the dad’s even got involved with tape and lots of sparkle for his wife. I loved how it was just personal to each of us for our baby, and I imagine when Ethan and Megs have a go they’ll be different again.

They are/were super easy and look pretty cute, so why not just go for it… Make someone a little tealight holder with a scented tealight. They will be lovely, cheap and greatly appreciated i’m sure.

Run Jump Scrap!
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