Sunday, May 5, 2019

International Bereaved Mothers Day

It's all kind of crept up on me. Today -- one week out from Voldemort Day* -- is International Bereaved Mothers Day.  I ALMOST felt brave enough to post something about it on social media this year. For whatever strange reason, I'm finding it easier lately to be a little more open  (among the non-members of this Club Nobody Wants to Belong To) about my daughter & her stillbirth -- although not so much, still, about infertility & being childless not by choice. Let's see... which is "better/worse" in the eyes of my family & friends & the general public? -- being reminded I am childless? -- or being reminded that I actually, really am a mother -- the mother of a stillborn baby?

Anyway. I didn't post anything, because I don't want to rain on our Older Nephew & his pregnant wife's parade. It's her birthday this coming week, as well as her first Voldemort Day as a mother-to-be.  Nephew has already bought her a beautiful necklace for the occasion. BIL has never been anything but kind to me, but he's a nervous/anxious guy (even more so than dh), completely on edge with this pregnancy, and he's said more than once that he doesn't want anyone or anything stressing out these two parents-to-be. I don't want that someone to be me.

And so, I keep my literal and cyber mouth shut  :p (outside of dh's company, this blog and a few private forums). I may post something next Sunday, along the lines of wishing a happy m-day to my own mom, and a peaceful day to everyone who is missing someone special in their lives (which I have done before). That covers both friends who have lost babies, as well as those who have lost their mothers (which seems to be a far more acceptable form of loss to speak about). 

Nephew's Wife had another ultrasound yesterday. She's now 12 weeks along. ("She must have gotten pregnant on Valentine's Day!"  SIL mused. "Really?" -- sez I, whose due date was one day apart from NW's, and whose LMP date for my pregnancy was February 8th.) We didn't see her, but she sent a picture to SIL which we all crowded around the cellphone to admire, and we did see Nephew, briefly.

"It was so cool," he told us, adding that they saw the baby moving around and waving its arms. "She was saying hello to you!" laughed SIL, the proud grandma to be (they don't know the gender yet, but we're all kinda/sorta hoping for a girl, lol).

I kind of winced at that. Just before they plunged the amniocentisis needle into my stomach, they located the baby via ultrasound, and I saw a little arm waving at dh & me, as if to say, "Hi Mom & Dad!" A happy & sad memory all at once. I felt horribly guilty and anxious about the amnio -- we were only doing it because we already suspected, from the blood testing I'd had done, that all was not well -- and as the needle went in, I burst into tears & started sobbing, "Oh baby, I'm so sorry. Mommy's so sorry."

The onslaught of Voldemort Day posts hasn't started yet on my social media feeds (thank goodness!!)... but I've already seen photos from several proms, and of a shopping expedition for a "moving up ceremony dress." Which reminded me that my friends' & relatives' kids in the States should be getting out of school soon -- kicking off a full month of proms, graduations, "last day" photos & moaning from the parents about where time has gone and how big they're getting and what grade next year and so on & so on & so on, until the last "last day" of school and last graduation here in Canada in late June. As I've said before, I don't mind the odd photo -- but they just keep coming & coming & coming, wearing down my spirit, like Niagara Falls on a stone.

Hang in there, everyone...

*  Voldemort Day = my personal nickame for That Painful Sunday in May Which Shall Not Be Named  :)


  1. I know you feel joy for your nephew and wife but deep down inside the pain is still there. Hugs to you.

  2. Oh, Loribeth, your account of the amnio made me tear up. Your thoughtfulness to your nephew and NW and BIL is lovely, but personally I don't think you could rain on their parade, as they are surrounded by cheerleaders already.

    I am glad though that you have this space, and a few others, where you can express your legitimate sadness for your own situation, and concern for them, without freaking them out.

    Sending hugs.

    1. Yes, plenty of cheerleaders! We're usually among the biggest ones, of course. ;) But it's true -- we really can't rain on their parade. Even if I did post something, it's not that likely that anyone would really notice or care or make the connection. This pregnancy isn't about us, nor should it be. It would be nice if people did remember and realize this might be hard for us, but I've come to accept that most people just aren't that clued in. It's maybe not the way it should be, but it's just the way it is!

  3. Dearest Loribeth,

    What a beautiful, poignant, heartfelt post, I teared up reading this - especially the part about whats better for everyone else, being reminded of being childless or being reminded you're the mother of a stillborn baby - and yes, why it's seen as socially 'acceptable' to mourn the loss of a mother, but not the other tangible losses we feel so keenly, no, they have to be placed in a compartment out of sight of the good general populace/family/friends, don't they? Even though these losses have ravaged our souls, we mustn't show this side of our grief! It's all twisted and wrong, isn't it? You hit the nail on the head right there.

    How bittersweet to have joy for your nephew but not be 'allowed' to speak your own quiet truth 'out there' in social media world for fear of causing others angst - this shows your depth of empathy and your love for those you seek to 'protect'.

    Sometimes, I think this protection (for want of a better word) we show others doesn't help society realise the enourmity of our lives after loss or infertility and it leaves other women like us walking in the wilderness because there aren't too many of us who speak out (although that's slowly changing). We're so good at 'protecting' others, because we know how it feels to be the holders of broken hearts, the 'walking wounded' amongst society.

    And yes to the posts of school leavers, proms, last day pictures, sports days (they have here at the end of the school year) and you're right it's literally non-stop, it's relentless and it feels like it's next to no time until we have those new school year pictures again - it really is non-stop.

    All those milestones we've watched pass us by, in silence.

    Voldemort day is a perfect name for a day that shall not be named. Thinking of you and all of our sisters out there around the world who sit in silence with hearts full on these days.

    Much love xxx

    1. You're right, Bamberlamb, we can be our own worst enemies sometimes, can't we? People are clueless, in part because we don't give them a clue as to what we're thinking & feeling, because we don't want to hurt or offend them. And then we wind up being the ones hurt & offended. It's a vicious circle sometimes...!

  4. I'm a member of a gentle parenting facebook group and there was a thread for bereaved mother's day where people were encouraged to share about their losses. It was heartbreaking looking at the post - there were a lot of stillborn baby photos and sad stories but it was also a lovely way of acknowledging those who were only here for a short time and giving the parents a chance to talk about it which I imagine is rare these days.

  5. Dear Loribeth, I'm so sorry you felt sad and could share how you feel with your family. It shows how selfless and empathic you are. I hope you can find some comfort here on the blogosphere and that your family "rewards" you with much love <3