With all the commercial imagery of Mother’s Day being so full of smiles and laughter, warm cuddles and breakfast in bed, I wanted to take some time here to acknowledge everyone who is NOT looking forward to Sunday. For some Mamamia readers, it’s because their own mother is no longer alive. For others, it’s because their relationship with their mother is not a happy one.
Then there are those other mothers. The ones who won’t have a baby in their arms on Mother’s Day. Who won’t receive a hand-made card or a phonecall. And yet still, they are mothers. When your child has died, during pregnancy or after being born, Sunday may be a particularly tough day. A difficult day. A day of reflection or sadness or grief.
Sugarkane, one of our regular MM’s, touched many of us with her comments on this post honouring the death of her babies. With that in mind and on behalf of all those mother’s whose children are no longer with them, I asked Sugarkane to write this guest post about her experience and how she feels about Mothers Day…..
“Recently, I was driving home via the coastal route. On the left were all these magnificent McMansions, with landscaped gardens and manicured lawns. On the right, the Indian Ocean – the water the bluest of blues, a cloudless azure sky and a beautiful breeze with a touch of warmth to it. The windows are down, the car stereo is blaring and I felt at one with nature. As I rounded a bend, a blaze of colour catches my eye in one of the front yards. Instinctively I slow in order to take in the vista I’m driving towards. It’s a miniature garden setting, all lolly pink and lilac, a square table with the benches on each side connected and it’s topped with a matching umbrella. This outdoor setting is occupied by four little girls approximately 4yrs of age, and they’re having a tea party and Dad is serving them. My uterus ached, my heart felt as though it would just explode, tears spontaneously appeared and the first thing that came to mind was “I want that”. The day got a little darker, although I was the only one to notice.
That’s my life as a Mother of four lost ones – I never know when I’ll be confronted with an image of what my life could’ve been if my children had all survived. However, there is one day of the year that always impacts on me – Mother’s Day. No matter what I do I just can’t seem to outrun the inner turmoil I awaken to each and every time on this special day. I think of all the Breakfast’s in bed I’ve missed, all the handmade gifts lovingly made and carefully wrapped. How there would’ve been a touch of competition between them all for giving Mum the best gift of all time, or that they remembered that I love soldier’s with my boiled egg. Of their vying for as many kisses and squeeze’s and looks of adoration, even maybe some tears of happiness so that they can know that they did well in making me feel special.
I can only imagine what my Mother’s Days would’ve been like though, and I suppose I’m torturing myself with these picture perfect ‘what ifs?” I know I’ll never be celebrated for my title of Mother, it’s not as if I’ve worked for the recognition, it’s just that, a title and it makes me feel wretched, yet I never tell anyone what I’m feeling, for a couple of reasons. I don’t want to be pitied, and I definitely don’t want to be seen as feeling sorry for myself – even though I do. I feel sick to my stomach; I want to scream out loud, rant, rave, throw myself to the floor, kicking and more screaming – but I don’t, ever. But it’s not all about the presents, treats, pure love and adoration – I feel so horribly alone, empty – similar to when you know that something’s missing, yet you just can’t put your finger on it, only MUCH worse. I miss them, which sounds ridiculous, seeing as the only time we spent together was when they were all in utero. This is NOT the life I chose for myself, I know I would’ve been a fabulous Mother, not a perfect one, I know I would’ve made mistakes, but I’m also a fast learner so I know in my heart of hearts I would’ve been the very best Mother to my children that I could be.
For years, I’d been working in the Hospitality Industry and Mother’s Day is one of THE busiest of the year. We’re entrusted with the responsibility of providing ALL Mother’s with a great dining experience and being treated like Monarchy – a sort of “job well done”, “you deserve this treat” situation. No dishes for you Mum, we’ll see to it that you can relax and enjoy the company you’re with – your children and grandchildren have brought you here so YOU can be celebrated. Now, don’t get me wrong I would NEVER inflict my patrons with the stuff running through my head, that’s not my style. In fact, I actually enjoyed these frantic services. I’d fall over each and every Mum in my section, gifting them with posies of ‘mums, chocolates, and I’d ALWAYS go that extra mile for them. Make sure their glasses were always full, that they’d get their meals first, make them feel like royalty, because that was what their children wanted to happen. It was my job to look after them.
Now I’m great with children, I always have been, and of course can read them and their parents pretty well. On Mother’s Day, everyone wants attention. It’s not JUST about Mum, but also the kids for wanting to shout Mum a great time without any mess to clean up after. I’ll ingratiate myself with my guests, young and old, make them ALL feel special, and I guess the fact I just fawn over the little ones instantly has Mothers inquiring of my status. “Are You a Mother?”, “Have you children of your own?”, “Did you get spoiled this morning?” My replies to these questions is always the same; “Oh no, I’m just an Auntie, God Mother, Great with Children”, my game face firmly in place. Why would I admit that I am a Mother, but not in a conventional sense? Especially to these Mother’s who are being celebrated at that very moment by their loved ones. My truth revealed would be cruel, and selfish of me to divulge – I’d prefer to lie to them, after all I don’t want to ruin their special day with my situation. I’m just not that sort of person.
So for all you Mother’s out there Happy Mother’s Day, treasure your children and congratulate yourself on a job well done, You’ve earned this special day. Take the good with the messy, and the good intentions that turned into more work for you in the end and relish them, store them in that part of your mind as fond memories and know that you’re surrounded by a love so pure it’s intoxicating – the love of a child. I envy you all.
Thank you Sugarkane for the most beautiful, emotional and deeply personal post. You speak for many and you have given many others an insight into a secret group of women whose pain is mostly invisible in society, especially on Mothers Day.
If this post resonated for you or perhaps may be helpful to someone you know, please send it to them. And here are some other things you may like to know about……
Teddy Love Club Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support (TLC) is launching their first book “You are not alone” a compilation of over 40 shared stories from Australian families who have experienced the loss of their baby’s.
“You are not alone” will reach out and connect with other bereaved families and let them know they are not quite so alone. It is a book that will bring greater awareness to the wider community of the significance and impact the loss of a baby has on parents, families and friends.
The book can be purchased for $20 + $5.70 postage and is available from the website www.teddyloveclub.org.au
If you are in need of support please also visit any or all of these amazing resources
How are you feeling about Mothers’ Day? To everyone doing it tough on Sunday, my thoughts, love and support go with you……