Bereavement/Life After Loss

Mother’s Day After Loss

Two years ago today was my very first Mother’s Day since Bear was born. The year before I’d been ten weeks pregnant and we’d excitedly scribbled a note in our mums cards to tell them they were going to be grandparents. We filmed it, and it was so so positive. That year, 2016, was totally different.

I was in a dreadful, wreck of a place. It sticks out to me as a particularly low point. Child loss is always shit. It always will be. But that March, when I should have been snuggling my five month old booby monster, sucking up the last month of my leave, and I had none of that, left me feeling angry and empty.

There’s so many days where I dream about what they should be. Mother’s Day; birthdays. Even just those days where I’m taking Bunny to baby group and there should be another little girl running around. It consumes me. I can’t properly express how much those girls, are just completely and utterly my heart and soul. On that first Mother’s Day everything I wanted (and it felt like everyone else had so easily) felt so far away and impossible. I’m not shy about the fact that I have a long history of mental health struggles. But everything I’d struggled with until Bear died was stimulative; anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, anger management. All hyperactive, with my brain constantly. This depressive, low, completely soul destroying unmotivated feeling was completely new.

I didn’t want to see anyone who knew me and knew that my child had died. I didn’t want the looks of pity, the silence because they didn’t know what to say. Since Bear died even after we got our own house again we went to stay at my in laws on the weekends. It didn’t feel right staying in a house on our own without our baby, and when Chris was at work it gave me company. That Mother’s Day I just felt trapped there though. We shouldn’t have been there if things had worked out the way they should and that felt like a massive slap in the face.

We went out. We went for something to eat, after several tearful breakdowns. It was actually quite nice, despite the other people out obviously celebrating Mother’s Day. We drove around, we didn’t really want to go home or to see anyone, but there wasn’t anywhere we wanted to be. That day was a lot of crying and anger. It was exhausting. It was horrible being in limbo. Largely, I felt low, and like I’d failed as a mum to Bear because she’d died, and at that point Bunny was just another unknown, about 14 weeks along, not even kicking yet.

Eventually we found ourselves at The Range, of all places, and I ended up buying a new square Pyrex dish, which has since been used for many a fantastic lasagne. Bunny’s even had it full of water and toys on the floor for sensory play. That distracted me briefly. Then we just went and hid again. I curled up with Bear’s Bunny rattle, that she never got to see herself, because family posted it down and it arrived the morning she died. I didn’t want to eat, or see anyone still. I just felt angry and bitter and disconnected.

I’d been avoiding social media all day and I probably shouldn’t have, but I looked. It was like this massive thing looming over me all day. I knew the ‘rest of the world’ were having a normal, perfect Mother’s Day with their kids. I was torturing myself imagining it and I’d only go back and look another day, so I just looked.

It felt crap. It felt heart breaking to flick down my Facebook feed and see senseless comments, the ‘all I wanted was sleep’ type. Don’t get me wrong, it also filled my heart a little, to see messages from family and friends, who remembered and realised it would be a rubbish day. My mum and some friends even sent cards. What got me the most was posts from other bereaved parents, feeling exactly how I was. Sometimes I feel like we should have a bunker for days like these just for loss parents to go and hide and be with people who get it.

I felt mad at myself for letting stupid comments, insensitivity, and forgetfulness ruin a day that should be all about my babies, whether they’re right here or not. So I spent the evening of Mother’s Day doing something long overdue. I went down my Facebook and I removed every single person who hadn’t bothered to say a thing to me since Bear died. Anyone who I hadn’t spoken to since school, or who’s posts just riled me up, gone. Random relatives who I didn’t really speak to, and they didn’t bother to acknowledge my daughter, gone. I needed my space online to be a place I could express about my daughter in a positive way.

I privatised twitter and Instagram and deleted most people off of it who I didn’t know. I removed my old blog from the internet. All of this was actually the birth of this blog and this space. Ultimately I guess I was a positive day. I felt a lot lighter after I removed all those people. Like I could access social media without wincing every time I refreshed my feed. 2 years on and I do still have to idiot proof my friends list and remove things I don’t want to see, but that’s much rarer, and I’ve toughened to it all.

I don’t think Mother’s Day will ever be the same. Last year and this year I’ve had the same feelings. Unmotivated, grey almost. I’ll be enthusiastic for Bunny but my heart just isn’t truly in it. I’ve been emotional and down all week with pregnancy hormones and anxiety over the day. There’s a little bit of anger too, that two years since, with a living daughter and another child on the way, that very few remember it’s a tough day. But I’ll just try and focus on the positives; random acts of kindness, doing nice things for other people, and enjoying my babies.

What are your plans for Mother’s Day? How do you choose to approach it? However it is, I hope everyone has a peaceful and wonderful day

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