Mothers Day
By Christine Howser

The dreaded day approaches. Dreaded because it is hard to find a way to deal with Mothers Day if you are one of us, the ones with deceased children. The ones who have no living children, like me, in addition to losing children, have lost their identity as mothers along with their babies. This is in the eyes of some, though. I know I am still a mother, but a different kind of mother. Some, the ones I consider shallow, would believe I am not. The cruelty of this amazes me. What doesn't surprise me, though, is the fact that hurtful comments most often come from the uninitiated, the ones who have never had to endure the pain we have journeyed through. We, the survivors, have earned our armor. We have fought this battle hard and continue to fight in the name of our children and in the name of parents like us, and unfortunately, the future's bereaved parents.

For the ones of us with living children and deceased children, how do we answer, "how many children do you have"? Friends of mine vary their answers according to whether or not they want to delve more deeply into the subject, or just let things alone. Some days they may feel like giving the long answer, "Well, I have children here and I also lost a child". Some days, they don't. How do they get through Mothers Day? With celebration of the children they have with them in the physical form and with longing for the children they hold only in their hearts.

I heard of a church service one Mothers Day in which the pastor asked all the mothers to come forward with their children. My family member, who was present that day, was appalled. Once again, this is something seemingly harmless for the uninitiated, but deeply painful for us. I thought about that. I thought about the moms who may have been sitting in that church that day, the moms who had lost children. I felt so bad. I planned a strategy if I would happen to be present in a church on Mothers Day and the same thing would happen. I would walk proudly up with the other mothers. However, I would stand there, look at the crowd and hold my hands out to the sides, as if I was holding my children's hands. I contacted the minister of the church we attend and asked him how he planned to handle the Mothers Day service. I talked to him about my feelings. The church band that day played "Tears in Heaven", Eric Clapton's tribute to his deceased son, Conor. I appreciated that so much because bereaved parents were recognized that day.

For this Mothers Day, I plan to attend the dedication of a local hospital's Garden of Angels. The rose garden is a tribute to area children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. Depending on how strong I feel, I may work on my scrapbook or page through Steven and Timothy's photo album. I may even buy myself flowers, as I did last year. It just seemed right and it did comfort me a bit. I have learned it is best to do what feels right for me and to take care of myself through this sometimes lonely grief. My wish is for you, too, to take care of yourself this Mothers Day and every day, surrounding yourself with comfort. And, know that you are indeed a parent.

Author Biography
Christine is the author of the book "A Different Kind of Mother" and an active member of Neo Fight.

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