Out of the Shadows

This Mother's Day, Lori Federico expresses the hope the we will choose to recognize all mothers and to embrace instead of shy away from bereaved mothers on this day of many mixed and raw emotions. Today, we honor every mother and stand together, holding each other up, in grief and in joy, in pain and in comfort. May we do as Lori says today, and reach out to each other, bringing the bereaved among us out of the shadows. 

At the beginning of each summer, Mother’s Day brings with it a sense of thanks and joyful images of children making heartfelt gifts and loving on their moms.  It’s a day that is supposed to bring joy, recognition, love and appreciation to these incredible women that do so much for humanity.

But to some, Mother’s Day is a stark reminder of what doesn’t exist, and it is one of the most dreaded days of the year.  Some moms no longer hold their children in their arms, and on Mother’s Day, these women are sometimes painfully ignored.

They include the invisible moms who have experienced pregnancy loss.  They include the bereaved moms who have have outlived their children.  They also include the hopeful moms - struggling with infertility and hope for nothing but to parent a child.  

When Anna Jarvis founded the official Mother’s Day in 1908, she was honoring her own mother who lost eight children.  With such heartfelt and meaningful roots, it is devastating to see how, through the years, bereaved mothers are usually completely forgotten.

If you know a bereaved mother, recognize her this Mother’s Day. A card, phone call, hug, or even a text will make her feel loved. If the child was named, speak his or her name - nothing comforts a grieving parent more than knowing you remember their child.  If you are at a loss for words simply say, “I know today must be hard for you. I just want you to know I’m thinking of you.

This Mother’s Day, let us bring these women out of the shadows and surround them with love.  These mothers have survived excruciating pain and yet carry on, walking beside us every day. This bravery deserves recognition - especially on Mother’s Day.