real life

Rebecca Sparrow: "To you who face Mother’s Day with a sense of dread."

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It’s Mother’s Day and truth be told if I could close my eyes and skip a day – jump ahead to Monday and miss Mother’s Day altogether – I would.

Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me. And I think that’s probably the same for thousands of women. Women who, like me, have lost a child. Lost a pregnancy. Lost a marriage. Or lost a dream – the dream of motherhood that seems to have sailed on by. Then of course there are the women who have  lost their own mothers, or their relationship with their mothers too.

I get it. All of it. Of course I do.

Mother’s Day becomes a painful reminder of what you don’t have.

I’m heart-burstingly lucky, of course. I have three beautiful happy and healthy children who tomorrow morning will smother me in kisses and cuddles. I’ll be presented with homemade cards, cold tea and a piece of toast suffocated in vegemite.

And then there is of course my husband who will valiantly attempt to give me a rest and keep the kids out of the bedroom for an hour or two but when you have three kids aged 5 and under, that’s like trying to keep One Directioners from Harry Styles.  Who knew motherhood could make you feel like a rock star in your pyjamas?  What an absolute blessing and privilege it is to experience.  To be so adored for simply being you.

So, while I know deep into my very soul how lucky I am to have my gang… A six and a half year old girl is missing today.

She should be here but she’s not. And because of that, Mother’s Day, Christmas Day, Easter, Halloween, my birthday, her birthday, every excruciating day of the year is bittersweet for me because one of my children is missing.

My second daughter Georgie was stillborn 10 days before she was due to be delivered in 2010.

Listen: How do you come to terms with losing a baby? Olympian Libby Trickett shares how she made it through the sadness (post continues after audio…)

And I wonder about her now as much as I ever did. Would she and Ava have been close friends? Would her hair have stayed dark? Would she have twirled into my bedroom in that pink and red tutu Ava often wore at three? Or would she have wanted something totally different? That’s what tortures me the most… that I don’t know.

And I miss her. A complete stranger and yet my little girl.


That alone makes me want to sob at my desk.

And you know what else?  In between the tea and the toast and the cards and the cuddles on Mother’s Day, I will actually spend the day looking for signs from her.

A clue.  A whisper that she is around. It sounds ridiculous, I know. Possibly a little nutty. But that’s how it is. On Mother’s Day more than any other day I crave contact from my missing daughter as though I’m in an episode of Touched by an Angel and not just a mum in the suburbs who spends her days packing lunch boxes and hanging out washing.

So to every woman who faces Mother’s Day with a sense of dread or a strangled heart – I hear you.  I get it.

For every woman who is putting on a brave face, who is pretending to be happy for everyone else – I get it.

For every woman who spends the day being reminded of what she doesn’t have, for what passed her by – you have my heart.

And I just want you to know this: You’re not alone.

We’re all in this together.

Mamamia's Infertility Week shines a light on the joy, the pain and everything in between when it comes to creating  families. To read more from Infertility Week, click here.