International Bereaved Mother’s Day is observed on the first Sunday in May every year and this year it will be marked on May 5. Most people have probably never heard of it, which is understandable given how mainstream media doesn’t cover it. The world is usually busy prepping for Mother’s Day around the same time. Corporates and marketers flood our inboxes, screens, and messages with reminders about celebrating our moms. But imagine how devastating this must be for mothers or parents grieving for a child. International Bereaved Mother’s Day is a day for moms who have lost their children. An opportunity to share or talk about all they may have endured. Women grieving for children are mothers too — even if their babies are no longer with them.
History of International Bereaved Mother's Day
International Bereaved Mother’s Day began in Australia, thanks to Carly Marie Dudley. Since then, women the world over have welcomed and embraced the day. It speaks volumes about how important the day is. Today we honor parents who’ve lost children — particularly mothers who may have experienced stillbirth, S.I.D.S, miscarriages, or other types of infant loss.
Motherhood is hard, even under normal circumstances. So, the pain of losing a baby is almost unimaginable. The sorrow endures over months, years, or a lifetime after. Even parenting a new baby later in life can be filled with anguish and guilt. Mother’s Day every year is complicated for grieving mothers who struggle on so many levels. The world doesn’t recognize them as mothers, even when motherhood runs through every fiber of their being. Loved ones are uncomfortable with bringing it up. Will talking about it be more distressing? Should we spare them the pain? All valid conundrums and compelling reasons why International Bereaved Mother’s Day is a blessing for many mothers everywhere.
An open expression of grief helps the healing process. Mothers can openly talk about what they went through during pregnancy. Maybe share pictures of their babies. Today, mothers can reminisce, cry, or even share the dreams they had for their children. The day serves a dual purpose — a celebration of mothers and a remembrance for children gone too soon. The discomfort around notions of death can be stifling. Most people would prefer not to acknowledge the pain and run away from it. International Bereaved Mother’s Day hopes to dismantle the stigma. By sharing stories and grief, families can gradually transform pain into acceptance and ultimately some measure of peace.
International Bereaved Mother's Day timeline
A group of researchers finds similar patterns in infant deaths post-natal.
Eric Clapton releases the heart-wrenching “Tears in Heaven,” a song in memory of his four-year-old son.
A research paper outlines rituals in ancient cultures that mourn a lost pregnancy.
Researchers at McGill University say the ‘Five Stages of Grief’ theory by Kübler-Ross is outdated.
International Bereaved Mother's Day FAQs
How do you say Happy Mother's Day to someone who has lost a child?
Support friends who have lost a child by acknowledging their pain. Respect their rituals and encourage them to talk.
What is the difference between bereavement and grief?
Grief is a response to any loss a person may experience. Bereavement is the grief that comes from losing a loved one.
How long does bereavement last?
Grief has no timeline. Some people feel better in a few weeks, whereas others may take years. You may notice yourself feeling better in small ways each day.
How to Observe International Bereaved Mother's Day
Do you know someone who’s lost a child? Send them flowers, a nice note, or give them a big hug today. This will make them feel special and loved.
Listen to a grieving mum
If you don't know what to say, go with where the person is. People grieving often struggle to find people willing to listen. Ask open-ended questions and give them the space to talk.
Find support groups
Reach out to others with the same experience. Connecting with others can bring healing. Nobody should go through this by themselves.
5 Real Facts About Miscarriages
It’s more common than you think
About 10 to 15% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
Watch for these symptoms
Cramping and bleeding during the early stages of pregnancy are the most common symptoms.
Do not guilt yourself
Often, there's nothing different a woman could have done to prevent a miscarriage.
Reactions can vary, each one is normal
Some women grieve the loss, while others with unplanned pregnancies can experience relief.
You can get pregnant again
Most women who experience miscarriages can get pregnant again and have healthy children.
Why International Bereaved Mother's Day is Important
Its an inclusive, sensitive day
We’re all for celebrating special days. Particularly ones that include individuals whose stories don’t get the spotlight as much as they should.
Its a day for healing
Healing is an ongoing process. Still, one day dedicated to sharing and restoration is always a good thing.
It's a memorial and celebration
Today, we remember what was and what could have been. We also celebrate the strength of mothers with different experiences.
International Bereaved Mother's Day dates