May 10, 2015 – Mother’s Day. I was 35 weeks pregnant with Hope, and I was so excited to go to church that morning. I sat in the service, cradling my belly with hope and expectation as I listened to a sermon on motherhood. I remember thinking to myself, “I am so blessed to be the mother of a precious little boy and this beautiful baby girl. Thank you Jesus for giving me these two blessings. I am just so grateful.” We had a wonderful lunch with family, took family pictures, and relaxed. Those are the last pictures I have of myself pregnant with Hope. When I see them, it’s incredibly painful to see the look of pure happiness on my face. I had no idea that just 6 days later, I would wake up wondering why Hope hadn’t kicked me. I would eventually go to the hospital and have a doctor say, with tears brimming in her eyes, “I’m so sorry.” When I see those last pictures, I want to travel back in time and warn myself of what is to come. I want to prepare myself somehow or change what happened by going to the hospital sooner. But I can’t. I can just remember that Mother’s Day 2015 was the last holiday I celebrated without grief.    

Mother’s Day is an extremely difficult holiday for all bereaved mothers, but for me, it is a double whammy since it will always fall so close to the anniversary of Hope’s death. When I thought about writing this blog, I honestly didn’t want to write about Mother’s Day because it’s still a very hard day for me. I don’t have any answers or tips. I’m still fighting this battle. But a wise friend told me that sometimes writing about the thing that scares you is the best thing you can do.    

Mother’s Day 2016 was honestly pretty terrible. I avoided all celebrations, including the church service. I just couldn’t handle the constant reminder of what I was missing. I am very grateful that the church we were attending at the time did not do baby dedications on Mother’s Day. I know many churches do this, but as a bereaved mother, it makes an already hard day almost unbearable. I didn’t even get presents for my mother and mother-in-law because I couldn’t walk down the card aisle in Walmart without being overwhelmed with the Mother’s Day paraphernalia.    

Mother’s Day 2017 was a bit better. I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, Sammy, so I was feeling hopeful and excited for the future, but I was also terrified of history repeating itself. I was able to attend the church service, and I really appreciated how our church just treated it like a normal Sunday. There was a short mention of the special day and a small gift for the mothers, but the sermon was not focused on motherhood. For those grieving the loss of a baby or even the loss of a mother, Mother’s Day is a reminder of what they have lost. The church needs to be a safe place for their grief, so I personally think it wise for pastors to acknowledge both the joy and sadness of the day. It was still a difficult day for me despite carrying my rainbow baby; I felt the tangible weight of grief on my back, making me want to lie down and just get to the next day.    

This year, I have two beautiful boys to hold. I will go to church, enjoy the presents my sons and husband bestow on me, and go out for lunch. But I will also ache inside as I remember my girl that can’t tell me “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy”; I will feel heavy when I realize how close her birthday is. I will grieve what could have been and yet will never be. And I will be grateful for what I have, especially the blessing of new life in Sammy. If Mother’s Day is something you are dreading, I understand and empathize. My best advice is to breathe, enjoy what you have, grieve what you are missing, and do whatever you need to do to survive that day. The day will pass and you will have survived yet another milestone in the journey of grief. And I hope and pray that one day, I will be able to fully enjoy Mother’s Day again.      

Lauren Young is a wife to Will and mom to two beautiful boys on earth (Matti and Sammy) and three precious babies in heaven (Hope, Jonah, and January).  She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing, reading good books, cooking new recipes, and playing piano.  She lives in central Texas now but was born and raised in Georgia.  She and her husband are now in the adoption process and can't wait to see what God has in store for their family.