For many, Mother's Day is a celebration marked by handmade cards full of spelling errors, sleeping in past 7 a.m., and breakfast in bed. But for those who have suffered the loss of a child, this day is a mix of emotions. Unless you have walked that road, you can't truly understand how this event can impact your life and the feeling that come with it. But if you have a friend, neighbor, or coworker who has experienced this situation, you can find ways to support someone who has lost a child on Mother's Day. Because your act of compassion can make a difference.
The loss of a child — whether by miscarriage, still birth, or death — is one of those devastating life events that ripples out beyond the parents and saddens the hearts of all those who care for the family. It's one of those situations where many people step back and say they are giving the family space, "out of respect." But I come from the school of thought that believes that love has the power to heal. Of course you are not going to take away the pain that comes to a person who looses a child, but running in and showering them with love will beat out keeping your distance, every time.
Humans need love, and those mamas who have said goodbye to a child need your love on Mother's Day. Show them they're supported and cared for by extending your heart in one of these ways.
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1. Celebrate Their Child
As a mother who lost a son, Paula Stephens shared the ways others make her feel comforted in an article on Mind Body Green. Just because that child is gone, does not mean you should never bring them up. As Stephens wrote, "if you see something that reminds you of my child, tell me." Simply sharing memories and talking about their child, helps to bring the mother joy.
2. Don't Worry With Words
Sometimes you don't know what to say, and that's OK. According to Psychology Today, when it comes to grief, nothing you say can make someone less sad. Just allowing them to feel sad in your presence is what's most important.
3. Honor Her As A Mother
No matter how brief or long, for a period of time, that woman who lost a child was a mother to that child. Mother's Day should honor the love she had and still holds for the child she lost. Don't be afraid to tell her your thinking of her on Mother's Day, and even send a card with some heartfelt words.
4. Plan Some Quality Time With Her
On a day like Mother's Day, it's important to surround those who've lost a child with love, by spending some quality time together. But as Today's Parent pointed out, ask first, and if the bereaved mother chooses to spend that day alone, make a date to do something in the near future.
5. Gift A Thoughtful Gift
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Give her a gift of remembrance like a piece of jewelry with her child’s name, initials, or birthstone. It will be a sweet reminder of her baby as well as a comforting reminder of support from you. A gesture like this will bring a bright spot to what may be a particularly difficult day.
6. Let Her Talk
Simply asking, "how are you doing," give a mother permission to share her honest feelings with you. Offer her a safe and open space to talk freely about how she copes with Mother's Day. No need to worry about saying the perfect thing, those words don't exist. Just listen and let her talk.
7. Remind Her She's Strong
Lift that mama up with some encouraging words she can take in to remind her of her strength every day. It doesn’t have to be big, just something to help bring her a sense of peace. She will appreciate the thoughtful gift any day of the year, but especially on Mother’s Day.
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