For Mother's Day, I Don't Need Flowers

May 12, 2019

By Sanda Rathamone

"This mother's day let's celebrate and honor all moms, including the moms who hold their children in their heart."

Mother's Day will always be one of the most difficult holidays after loss. This year will be my Fourth Mother's Day (the first was when I was pregnant with Elijah and the second and so on, after he died). 

My first Mother's Day happened to be on the day that my husband and I announced our pregnancy. I was about 4 months along. I cannot believe that it has now been THREE YEARS! Time seems to flutter by so quickly, as if it was all a dream. And yet, it feels like time has stood still and has been forever since Elijah died... Since we were so happy telling everyone that we were going to have a baby.

Elijah died just a month after we made a final announcement to the rest of my husband's family (we shared the news with several others earlier). 

Mother's Day has never been so bleak and confusing as ever. I always question myself if I am or should be considered "good enough" to be celebrated on Mother's Day. However, it seems as though every year after loss, I am somehow singled out and feel disappointed that friends and family forget to include me. I haven't spent Mother's Day with my husband's family for that very reason. Whether they intentionally or unintentionally forget about me, it still hurts.

My second Mother's Day (the first after loss) was the happiest. You can read it here: My First Mother's Day Without Our Baby.

For my third (which I called the"second-ish") Mother's Day, my husband got me flowers and a beautiful card with words that made me cry. You can read more about it here: A Second-ish Not So Very Happy Mother's Day.

Nonetheless, the coming weeks to Mother's day after loss have always brought tension and anxiety. It is like I am preparing for the pain to fully nestle inside of me as Mother's Day approaches - and I can't wait until it's over. I actually can't wait until Mother's Day is over and done with! I am dying hearing and seeing ad after ad about Mother's Day. I have never admitted this to myself and now that I have, it makes me feel better.

Yes, I am one of those sad, horrible, miserable people who hates Mother's Day (because people often associate Mother's Day with mothers who have living children). 

Just a few days ago, I noticed that my brother-in-law bought these beautiful large white orchids for his mom and sister. Of course, I didn't get one, but it is just as I would expect.

People forget about me, people forget that there are mothers all around them. People forget that motherhood begins the moment of conception and does not end when the baby dies. It is not that I wanted flowers, I just wanted to be acknowledged, too. I just wanted to be a part of being honored for the grief and sacrifices I have had to endure since losing Elijah. If anything, I would sacrifice Mother's Day and call it Elijah's Day, because he was the one who made me a mom.

I don't care for flowers, just say my baby's name. Tell my baby how lucky he is that he has a mother who has given and done more than she could ever bear.

All I want is for someone hold space for my baby on Mother's Day. It does not have to be longer than 5 seconds, just remember that I had have a baby who died and that his death does not diminish my duty as his mother. 

"A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart." - Franchesca Cox

With love,
Must Read:
Read Elijah's Story, "From Gender Reveal to a Spontaneous Delivery"

Photo: Jamali Garden

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