Last weekend was International Bereaved Mother’s Day.
A time to honor the identity of “mother” that so many loss moms/angel moms want to claim, but from which they feel barred. Such is the nature of what is commonly known as disenfranchised loss. Losses like these are characterized by lack of social recognition or validation: a lack of entitlement to feelings of grief. Perinatal loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death) falls into this category despite the known impact on those who suffer this type of trauma.
Bereaved Mother’s Day serves as a day to acknowledge the pain of motherhood lost too soon, while also reserving space to grieve without the onslaught of posts singing the praises of their mom or a new mother cradling her baby. Witnessing these images & posts is often too painful when grieving the loss of your own child… or your own mother.
Mother’s Day in and of itself is loaded. It’s loaded with expectations, complex feelings, bad relationships, lost relationships, judgement, admiration, gratitude, reverence, pressure, failure, and success. Regardless of your relationship to it, motherhood has an impact on you. Someone or something comes to mind instantly when you hear the word “mother”. It means something to you… often it actually means more to you than the simple definition of the word.
Mother: a woman in relation to her child or children; to bring up with care & affection; to give birth to.
Look closely at the definition above. Do you see anything that does NOT include you as a loss mom/angel mom? Do you consider the life you had inside you, your child, regardless of how long you had with that soul? In the time you had, did you provide care and affection? Did you give birth? If your answer to any of those questions is “yes”, sit with that and keep reading.
Moxie: force of character, determination, or nerve.
You answered “yes” to some or all of the questions I just posed. Try, try really hard to strip away the perceptions of others as you reflect on your yeses. If your soul gave you a Resounding Yes (as Oprah and Alicia would say), then THAT is your answer. Furthermore, if you have that Resounding Yes, I encourage you to listen to that force of character, determination, and/or nerve. The audacity of motherhood.
LAWD that sounds good doesn’t it?! The Audacity of Motherhood. *I’m finally reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama so I’m all in my feels about my favorite POTUS and FLOTUS* It’s a bold statement and a bold act of self to verbalize, or simply acknowledge for yourself, your identity as a mother.
As this May kicks into high gear and pressure starts to mount to engage or avoid these holidays, take a minute to get still and listen for your mother’s day moxie. Maybe she’s quiet and soft-spoken, maybe she’s firm and constant, maybe she’s loud and boisterous. However she shows up, acknowledge her as best you can and love on her a little bit (or a lot a bit).
Sending my <3.