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Mother's Day illusions and love 5/1/11

On Mother's Day nine months after Margaret's birth and death, I still had a seemingly normal Mother's Day. Elizabeth and Martin entered my bedroom in their Batman pajamas with breakfast. They spilled my orange juice, munched my toast and climbed on me while I ate, and though they were adorable and their laughter lifted my spirits, all I could think about was that one was missing, Margaret. While they giggled and played, I smiled at them but was really a million miles away. I imagined brown haired Margaret crawling off the bed at nine months old because both of her siblings had crawled at this age. I also devised a Mother's Day mommy plan in my head: After breakfast the older kids would leave and go to the park with daddy while Margaret and I would cuddle. She would nurse some more while I read the newspaper, comfortable between the cool sheets, and then we would both doze off. I had all kinds of scenerios like this going on in my head on that Mother's Day. They all would have worked fine except none of them could actually happen because Margaret was not there. She was in heaven.

When we become mothers, we mother our children their whole lives. We mother them when they skin their knee, say they are hungry or that they just need a hug. When our child dies, we we cannot mother with our hands, and although not being able to touch, to see, to feel, to feed will always sting, we continue to mother with our hearts and minds. We send them our love in the form of prayers, poetry, letters, flowers, music and other rituals. During this month that honors mother and child spend some time in your grief and with your baby. Celebrate the special bond you do have with your baby instead of thinking about what you do not have.