Surviving Mother's Day After a Pregnancy Loss -- How 9 Real Women Got Through It

kjekol/Getty Images

kjekol/Getty Images

This article is part of a series dedicated to providing support and visibility to motherhood in every one of its forms. To read more stories what motherhood looks like for all types of women, visit This Is Motherhood.

The first time I was pregnant, my due date was May 6, just days before what I thought would be my first Mother's Day as a mama myself. Ten weeks into the pregnancy, the bleeding started. Then the horrific cramps. Then ... it was over. The baby was gone, and I joined the club of women who have experienced pregnancy loss, and it's bigger than most people realize.

  • I'm one of the lucky ones. By the time Mother's Day rolled around, I was pregnant again.

    I was well into my second trimester with my now 15-year-old daughter, but even a decade and a half later, I still remember mourning the loss of that first baby, who likely would have been in my arms by then. I worried that I wasn't allowed to be sad about that baby, because I knew I had this new beloved daughter growing inside me. It was a complicated day for sure, full of bittersweet feelings, as I wrestled the loss of not holding my newborn in my arms with my joy at being pregnant with my sweet rainbow baby. 

    Because this Club of Pregnancy Loss affects so many women, I wanted to know how other moms have gotten through the grieving process, what was helpful to them (and what wasn't!), and especially how they handled Mother's Day. Here are the different ways they got through it.

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  • A Simple Text Can Mean a Lot

    Woman Texting
    @Lesia.Valentain via Twenty20

    "I lost a triplet pregnancy before conceiving my youngest. I think the hardest thing is it being a lonely kind of suffering that everyone around you forgets quickly. I think a simple text from close friends and family saying you are thinking/praying for them on that day means a lot.

    "I seem to know what DOESN’T help. Saying, 'You can always have another one,' after a miscarriage is TERRIBLE!

    "If someone has lost a child, I think every mom wants to know their child is not forgotten. I frequently will simply ask how the mother is doing. Only after they appear to have said in some way that they’ve 'moved on' do I stop asking." -- Megan Y.

  • Make Self-Care a Priority.

    @So_Victoria via Twenty20

    "I lost a baby (my second miscarriage) just 9 days before Mother’s Day in 2016. It was so painful, especially seeing everyone out celebrating that Sunday. What I WISH I would have done that day was have a “self-care” day -- get a Starbucks, go for a mani/pedi, read a happy book, eat ice cream, order a nice takeout dinner, and rest at home. Instead, we were out and about and I was miserable.

    "We hadn't told a lot of people yet, so we didn't have the opportunity to get a lot of external support." -- Karrington T.

  • A Gentle Acknowledgment of Motherhood

    @camdutchpro via Twenty20

    "I think to be just lovingly acknowledged and even celebrated as a mother by other mothers that day could possibly mean much -- however gentle and quiet the celebration needs to be that honors the woman herself. The idea being that she belongs among all of us mothers no matter where her babies may be." -- Leslie W.

  • Knowing Your Baby Matters

    @criene via Twenty20

    "When my husband and I learned I was pregnant, we were ecstatic for several hours before we were told the pregnancy was ectopic. In that limited, glorious time, we talked to our baby, began discussing names and nursery decorations, even mused about how to tell our families -- I was convinced we were having a girl. And then it all came crashing down.

    "The most wonderful thing anyone could have done but very few people did was recognize our grief as the loss of a baby -- not an embryo or a fetus or inviable clump of cells, not an accident or tragedy -- our daughter. We named our little girl but hardly anyone used her name; most insisted on saying 'it.'

    "Our baby would never have life outside the womb, but that does not mean she was any less real than you or me. I wish people would call our baby by her name." -- Susan M.

  • Focusing on Others

    @dantes1401 via Twenty20

    "I might not be doing the most healthy thing but I ignore it. I put all of my focus on my mother and my husband's mother. Might not be the healthiest thing in the world but not thinking about it helps. I thought I had accepted it. It's those moments when you receive a baby shower invite or learn that someone is pregnant that doesn't want to be are the moments when it sneaks up and hits me in the face." -- Alyssa H.

  • Bowing Out Is OK

    @torowhirls via Twenty20

    "After I miscarried, I didn’t want to even acknowledge Mother’s Day. Thankfully I was surrounded by people who let me do my thing and didn’t mind that I couldn’t force myself to put on a happy face. Just being allowed to grieve without judgment was the best thing my people did for me." -- Julie S.

  • Power of Prayer

    @shanti via Twenty20

    "We lost a child in between our son and daughter, right about 15-16 weeks. It was one of those experiences I couldn't believe was happening. I struggled at first to understand any of it, but as I prayed, God kept reminding me that He is good. He alone is good and his plans are perfect, so as I'd go through the day, I would focus on my blessings and all the good in my life.

    "It was easy to be sad. It was a lot harder to muster up the energy to get up, look outside, enjoy the birds, give thanks for all we had. It was easier to focus on the loss, but God kept telling me that I had been abundantly blessed.

    "So as I looked around at dirty dishes and loads of laundry, I gave thanks for the one healthy child I had. As my mind wanted to delve into the sadness, I would instead take our son on a walk and relish in his giggles. It was those simple things that honestly kept me going and made us want to have more children.

    "And we eventually did. When our daughter was born, I could see all God's goodness once again and his promises fulfilled." -- Kristina R.

  • A Supportive Partner

    @Stephanie.kauffman via Twenty20

    "I couldn't have survived Mother's Day after my miscarriage without my husband. He completely took care of me, from bringing breakfast in bed to just holding me while I cried that our baby was gone. He held my hands and told me he knew in his heart that we would be parents someday, and his confidence in that gave me hope.

    "We are parents to two little boys now, and he's the best dad in the world. He still pampers me on Mother's Day, and I'll never forget that first one when he was my rock." -- Laura S.