Mother’s Day is nearly upon us. For bereaved mothers, this time of year is a cruel reminder of all we lost, of all that was taken from us.
And it can be tempting to just suffer through this year in all the usual ways, to just bear down, dig deep and push through. Sign the cards. Show up. Smile just enough to get through.
But I would like to suggest something different.
You are still your lost little one’s mother. So what would it look like if you truly acted like it this year?
How would you shift the ways you interact with family and tradition this year? What would you opt out of? What would you go all in for? What would you dare ask for? How would you truly want your status as a bereaved mother to be acknowledged or responded to by others? What would you do just for yourself? What would you do for your lost little one?
While there is no right or wrong way to move through this time, I want to offer you some ideas to consider as you approach Mother’s Day this year. Print out the worksheets to write & reflect as you watch the video workshop below.
5 Ways to Claim your Crown after Infant Loss
1. Own your Title. You are a Mother. Maybe not in a way that is simplistic, or easy, or fair, but you are your lost little one’s mother. In fact, you are a Queen Mother.
Queen Mother: A woman who has bled on the battlefield of Love for her child. A woman who has fights a daily war of Grief in her head; who been burned at the stake and tortured by the voices in her head who accuse her of unspeakable things. A woman who has been knocked to the ground and robbed of all that she held precious and who somehow still found the courage to Rise to her feet and find her way back home again.
And then declared her allegiance to Love all over again when she got there.
(the fact that you are reading this is proof. You are here. You are allowing your love for child lead you back to Life.)
It’s time to take back your power. It’s time to claim your Crown.
Begin by asking yourself:
How would I act if I truly allowed myself to own the title of Mother to my child? How would you carry yourself differently as you moved through the crowd of skeptics and critics? How would you interact those around you if you truly let yourself own and respect the full power and respect that a bereaved mother deserves?
You are enduring the loss of a child. You are surviving the unthinkable. You are stronger than you can see.
2. Be Unapologetic about your Truth.
The reality is that life has changed. It’s not fair, it’s not right. But it has. Mother’s Day doesn’t mean what it used to before you lost your little one. So why then, do we feel this pressure to maintain the status quo? It’s not our fault we lost our children. And yet so often, we carry the weight of concealment and blame. It’s like we don’t want anyone to be disrupted or inconvenienced by our grief.
And so we continue to do what we’ve always done, even when it hurts. Even when it no longer makes sense. It’s like continuing to wear a pair of shoes despite the fact that you outgrew them and now they just hurt and cause you pain. Bad idea, right? So what would it take to have the courage to let your truth be seen? You are changed. Mother’s Day has changed. It is not what it should have been. But that does not mean you need to pretend to be indifferent or unaffected.
Now that life has changed, perhaps the traditions need to change too.
Take a moment to reflect: How does your family usually spend Mother’s Day? What are the general agreements & unspoken expectations? Do you usually always visit your grandmother? Cook dinner for your in-laws? Go to a certain restaurant? What parts of your family traditions still work for you after losing your little one? What parts could use some updating?
3. Your needs are Sacred. Your rights are Law. A Queen doesn’t wait to see who approves of her. She simply does what a queen does. seeks wise counsel and finds out exactly where she stands before she makes a move. Risk disappointing your mother in law. Your grandmother. Give them an opportunity to show you some care and support.
4. Face your Fears but have a Plan B. A queen doesn’t just charge into battle. She plans. She prepares. She thinks realistically about the danger to reduce the chances that she will be in harms way.
Who can help support you in asking for changes? Can you find out which parts are most important to your mother in law and which ones are flexible? If we guess, we risk guessing wrong, so go directly to the source to negotiate and little give and take.
But here’s where plan B comes in.
I recently come across an article (I wish I could remember who wrote it) where the author talked about that dreaded backfire that so often accompanies boundary setting. We’ve all experienced this phenomenon: you choose your words carefully. You use all the right “I” statements and keep your tone easy and approachable. No need for a big conflict, right? No hard feelings here, we just need to clear the air of a few things. Simple. And then you carefully launch all your gentle words into an assertive but kind plea for a little more relationship equality – and the other person still acts like a total jerk. They get mad. They get defensive. They lose their shit.
So here’s what that wise author suggests: Make a Vow. Step back and take a good hard look at that person and everything that you do not want to be. Now vow to yourself that you will never, ever, treat anyone else the way they just treated you. Use this person as your teacher, someone who is helping you to be a greater, nobler, leader & Matriarch. Then straighten your crown, hold your head high and walk away.
This isn’t going to break you. You have survived so much worse than this nonsense.
5. Gather your ladies in waiting. You can’t always choose who you have to spend time with, but sometimes you can. So counterbalance all the hurt and exhaustion of this time and go cushion yourself with some good trustworthy care and support.
Who is really there for you? who gets it? Who will back you when push comes to shove? Seek their solace and care. Let them comfort you. But you gotta give the direction. You gotta take the reigns and be the one to make it happen. Get out your phone right now, text your bffs and pick a date to get together and recoup.
Better yet, get the care & comfort you fully deserve at our Life after Loss Healing Retreat, July 14-16 2017. It’s going to be an amazing gather of women, compassionate care and total relaxation. Get all the details here http://lovelossproject.com/life-loss-retreat-healing-pregnancy-infant-loss/
And if you found this useful, then please share it and help me on my royal mission of breaking the silence & isolation surrounding baby loss.