‘Be Gentle’ It’s Bereaved Mother’s Day.


Today is a day I hold close to my heart; it’s Bereaved Mother’s Day.

Why not just celebrate on Mother’s Day? You may be thinking. And honestly, you have a point. Bereaved mothers want to seem like any other and Mother’s Day (before it was super commercialized) was started for a bereaved mom with living children too. So why have a special day like today, well, for me, you’d have to be in this situation to understand.

It is so hard to talk about a lot of what a bereaved mother goes through and thinks about every single day. Moms and other people how have not experienced loss, would probably look at us like we were crazy. Which brings up today and it’s meaning.

Earlier today, I went to a beautiful luncheon surrounded by mothers who have lost one or more children. Each of their stories breaks my heart and allows me to see healing in the years to come. They are all beautiful mothers touched by loss… and they understand. After the usual hi and hellos, we were really able to talk freely. We could say our children’s name and their stories. Then we could talk about our struggles through loss and what has helped us get through. They let me know that the pain never really goes away, but you get stronger. You’re able to carry the weight more gracefully, but there are some days that knock you right down to the ground. Days where it feels like you’re reliving the loss.

We could talk about the really deep, gritty thoughts that so many grieving mothers have. Then we could laugh and make light of topics that were never meant to be that way. They understood the differences in stories and made sure to let each other know that whatever had happened, we did the very best we could in those moments.

I felt so welcome.

That’s what Bereaved Mother’s Day is all about. It’s not an extra day to get attention or to show our differences as mothers. This day is to form camaraderie with each other and to know that through this journey, we are never alone. This day is for me and my tribe of warrior mamas.  It’s not a day where I expected others to text me or fuss over me. I felt so beautiful in being able to wake up and know I was able to talk about anything Jensen and grief related with people who understood. Driving to the luncheon, I felt Jensen all around me. He was cheering me on, wishing the very best for me. And believe me, it was a gentle day on my heart and soul.

Today’s May We All Prompt is ‘be gentle.’ I use this phrase a lot when speaking to other grieving mothers. Day can’t always be good and I’m horrible at faking it. There are days when I’m so mad at myself when I can’t stop crying and there are days were I feel so guilty for being able to laugh. Being gentle on your heart is perfect for Bereaved Mother’s Day. It means to be easy on your heart no matter what wave of emotion is coming to you.

We are doing the very best we can. We are honoring our children in all the ways know. We are beautiful mothers to angel babies.

I am here for you all. I love you and your babies so much.

Be gentle on your heart this coming week.

 

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Mother Hearts Project.

Next Sunday is Bereaved Mother’s Day… already.

April has completely flown by. It’s been one of the hardest months, but also filled with so much love and support. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any hard moments. It was full of them. Love always conquers though.

Back to Bereaved Mother’s Day. Here’s the quick history of the day. In 2010, CarlyMarie created a day for bereaved mothers to celebrate this specific motherhood. It’s created for moms who are mothering children in heaven and to connect to others. If you want to read more about it, click here. Anyways, each year there is a project moms can do and share on social media. Last year was show your mother heart, where you drew a heart on your palm and shared it. I was too much in a grief fog to participate, but I remember seeing all these beautiful hearts fluttered around Facebook and Instagram. A couple of weeks ago, she shared this years Mother Heart Project: We Carry Them In Our Hearts.

This is a play on ee cummings’ poem, ‘i carry your heart.’ Carly called out to mothers to take pictures or a short video of them placing their hand on their hearts. This picture could be taken anywhere, just a way to show where you carry your children. She’s choosing certain photographs and making a video that will be posted next Sunday.

Right after I read it, I knew I could join in on this. I was going to the beach and was going to take this amazing picture, but nothing felt right. This past week, I was dressed up and tried to take cute pictures while subbing and just around town. Still didn’t feel right. On Thursday night, with only hours to spare to turn in a submission, I was crying in Jensen’s room. I wouldn’t be able to do this.

Of course I called my mom to come over. I told her I was a failure. That I was letting Jensen down because I wasn’t able to take a picture and maybe it get put in the video. I told her I looked gross and I had been crying. Nothing was going the way I planned for this. Sound familiar?

Well, we took pictures all over the house. Deleted all of them. We were back right where we started, me feeling defeated on the futon in Jensen’s room. The very room I was supposed to feel exhausted, but happy to be mothering my sweet little boy. Before I knew it, we were capturing this moment.

Hands over my heart, look up, and I heard the iPhone make that picture sound. She smiled and said, this is the one and turned it towards me.

I hate this picture of me.

My eyes look so tired and you can tell I’ve been crying because my makeups a little smudged underneath. The shine from my face distracts me because I knew how many times I put my hands to me face. I see me being so exhausted and grieving and worrying about if I’m making Jensen proud or not.

Then I see the best part of the picture, his little hand over mine. Our hands holding both of our hearts so tightly. That’s what it’s all about.

I also the love in my eyes. I see Jensen’s cheeks and general face shape. His hands so very closely shaped like his mama. I see the bridge of his nose. There’s so much of me in him, besides that blond hair. This photograph is a grieving mom doing her best to mother her son who’s physically not here. It captures this crazy life that I hate and love, but it’s mine. I wouldn’t trade it for any one else’s.

Hopefully we’ll get to see my tired eyes on the video project Carly makes and if not, I’m proud I still did it for Jensen.


A little note for May.

I plan on writing or at least posting every single day. There will be some days I’ll be posting multiple times, especially in the first two weeks. I’ll be doing the May We All Heal Project, Still Mother’s The Mothering Project, and I’m apart of a group that will have writing prompts everyday for the first two weeks. A lot of things, but I think it’s much-needed where I am right now in my grief and healing journey.

As always, if you have any questions about any of the projects I’ve mentioned, please ask. On Jensen’s Facebook Page, I am doing a Mother’s Day name wreath. Feel free to request one and I will get it to you as quick as I can. Last little reminder, on my Etsy shop, Grey Woods Design, I am having a Mother’s Day sale. You get 15% off when you use the code: MothersDay. Hoping you all follow along this coming month and that they are gentle for of us.

#ShareYourMotherHeart

I never imagined myself writing about grief; especially the grief for my son, my precious Jensen. A mother should never lose her child, but here I am writing. I carried him for ten months, I should be cleaning off spit up in my hair. I should be doing nightly feedings. My baby boy should be here with me.

Yet, I am here. I have not woken up from my nightmare and I never will.

I decided to join the Share Your Mother Heart group in efforts to focus in on my grief around Mother’s Day. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared. How could I even fathom that my son wouldn’t be here for my first Mother’s Day?

Which brings us into Day Nine of this writing journey…

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Before Jensen passed, I would have never known the community I have found so much support in. I admit, I would never choose to be apart of this community. It breaks my heart knowing all these wonderful, beautiful mothers have lost their babies. We grieve so deeply for our children, we search for answers, and we question ourselves. Even though we’re all going through this tragedy, we rally and support each other.

I can’t say enough about the support I have from other bereaved mothers. Besides writing and feeling my love for Jensen all this week, I was able to share my story and hear their stories. Listening was just as therapeutic as writing. I wish I could give every single mother a hug and tell her she’s doing great. I wish I could cry with her while we spoke of our angels. Support is the main part of this project and I’m so thankful you were all there for me.

I hope you all feel more than comfortable to contact me after this ten day journey is over. I hope you feel comfortable telling me anything on your mind. I hope you want to tell me more and more about your baby. I hope when I feel like I can’t move off the couch from this grief, you are there for me. This is what communities are all about.

Lastly, thank you all for Sharing Your Mother Heart with me. Each of your stories are different, but just as important. You are heard. Your baby is remembered. You are a wonderful mother.

For my family and friends that have followed along through my journey, I thank you all for your support. Seeing your ‘likes,’ messages, and comments help me out more than you know. This Mother’s Day was so hard for me to get through and you followed me through that journey. I know you could never imagine going through this and that’s okay. I never would want you to. If you do and I don’t know your story, please feel free to share with me.

You each heard baby Jensen’s story and for that I am forever grateful.

Advice from a Bereaved Mother.

I dreamt Jensen and being his mother for months. Every night I would dream of our long future together. I was so ready to learn everything I could about him and being the perfect mom for my son. All I wanted was to embrace my motherhood and look at Jensen with joy every second I could.

Even though my sweet baby boy isn’t with my physically, I feel him with me everyday. I had to change my motherhood due to our tragedy. This past week seven days, I’ve made similarities and differences between what I dreamt and now; the before and after. I don’t claim to know everything, especially about being a mom. Although I’d like to give advice or reminders about being a mom to others.

Which leads us to Day Seven’s prompt…

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For Mothers with living children or are pregnant:

  • Don’t wish time away.
  • Always tell your child/ren you love them.
  • Live and cherish every moment like it could be the last.
  • When your child/ren does something that upset you, remember how lucky you are that you have them and that they’re safe.
  • Hug them an extra second longer.
  • Be a proud of the babies you have. They are perfect in every single way.
  • Be proud of yourself. You are a beautiful mother.

For Bereaved Mothers:

  • Your child/ren loves you more than words can describe.
  • You are not at fault.
  • Honor and remember your babies as much as you can.
  • It’s okay to have a good day. You deserve it.
  • Reach out for support, there’s others that want to support you.
  • Be proud of the babies you have. They are perfect in every single way.
  • Be proud of yourself. You are a beautiful mother.

To all types of moms, remember to wish each other a Happy Mother’s Day. All mothers need to be recognized, three small words could change one’s day around.

I wish every mother a Happy Mother’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy your day with your baby, soak up every single second. If you’re angel is in heaven, protect your heart. Do what you feel is okay for the day. Your baby is with you. They want you to know how much you’re loved.

For me, I’ll be spending time with my loved ones; thinking and talking all about my Jensen Grey.

Sweet Love.

At this time one month ago, I was leaving the hospital without a baby. I’d only given birth to Jensen 15 hours beforehand. The nurse wheeled me out the back way of the maternity wing. I hate to think of how many other mothers had to go down this hallway without their baby. I can just remember all the tears flooding my eyes. I was supposed to leave the hospital with my son. My whole body and insides ached. Not from physically giving birth, but knowing I was leaving a huge part of myself behind.

Besides not leaving the hospital with Jensen was the looks the happy family in the waiting room gave me. They obviously saw my tears. They were obviously about to get the best news, a new, healthy baby. Then they saw me. Their looks haunt me still…

I was the reality of what could go wrong.

Today not only marks one month since Jensen has been gone, but I’m halfway through my Share Your Mother Heart prompts.Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 7.24.00 PM.png

I’ve never questioned what motherhood was, even from an early age. My mom has poured love into my brother and I’s lives. Every time we leave the room we say we love each other. She would do anything for me, all because she loves me. I’m made of her and I’ll always be apart of her no matter how far I go. Even on the horrible day she gets to see Jensen again in heaven, I’ll always have her love.

When I got pregnant with Jensen, I was in love. When I found out he was a boy, I was still in love. As he grew everyday in my belly, I was still in love. When I found out the angels came and got him, I was still in love. When I delivered him in the silent hospital room, I was still in love. When I was wheeled through the back way of the maternity ward, I was still in love. When I went to my son’s funeral, I was still in love. Last night when I was terrified to go to sleep because I didn’t want him to be gone for one month, I was still in love. As I find the words to write, I’m still in love.

The common theme of all different types of motherhood is love. No, I’m not able to parent Jensen the way I dreamed. Believe me, I would do anything to have him here. It still does not discount the fact that I love him till my last breath. Each day of this writing journey, I’ve wrote about my endless love for Jensen. Even though I have faced this horrible tragedy and I grieve so deeply everyday, I would not feel this way if love was not there. Instead of being angry, depressed, and feeling hopeless every second of the day, I choose to feel the lasting love I have for Jensen and my motherhood.

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Bereaved Mother’s Day.

For the next ten days, I have decided to participate in a journey to explore my motherhood after losing Jensen. It’s on an online community for mother’s without living children that I joined named: Share Your Mother Heart. Since it’s almost been four weeks since Jensen was born, I thought it would be good to document this ten day journey. Since it’s still such raw grief that I’m feeling, I want to be able to reflect on this next year and the year after that to see how I’ve progressed. Plus, just exploring new topics in my early stages of motherhood will be beneficial to me.

Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day and it’s my first one. Before Jensen, I never knew there was such a thing called Bereaved Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, Jensen is in heaven and I’m learning new facts about stillbirths.

Now on to today’s prompt…

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What does it mean to you to “honor your motherhood?”
What would help you feel like your motherhood is being honored?
What can you do today, on Bereaved Mother’s Day, to honor your motherhood?

My first Bereaved Mother’s Day started off like the other 25 days Jensen has passed, I told Jensen how much I loved him and spent a few minutes talking to him. I let my parents know about today and knew it would be a trigger day for me. They understood and talked to me about Jensen, like they do most days. We smiled talking about my pregnancy and how adorable Jensen was. They took me to the movies to watch Keanu, since Jensen loved going to the movies and his kitty Poe. We went to Applebee’s and I got his favorite meal from there, Fiesta Lime Chicken. They steered me out of the ways from triggers and made sure I was comfortable all day. The only thing I wanted of course was my Baby J. Now I’m writing this blog, remembering him more and honoring me as a mother. I feel like today my family and I did a great job of honoring Jensen and my motherhood.

What does it mean to “honor my motherhood?” It means to always say Jensen’s name. To let everyone know his story. Just because he isn’t here with me physically does not mean I do not love him less than a mom with living children. It means to feel like I did my best in provided Jensen the best in his time with me. It means not blaming myself for what happened to him. It means being me. Since I found out I was pregnant, I was so happy to be a mommy. I took care of myself and in turn for him. I did everything for Jensen no matter what and I still do. I ask myself, “Would this make Jensen smile?” or “Would Jensen be happy with this decision?” It means grieving my son at my pace. It means when and if I do have other children to let them know their big brother is always there for them. He’s their and my guardian angel forever. It means unconditional love for my child, my precious Jensen.

To help me feel like my motherhood is honored everyday, it would take a village. Like everything in life, we all need support. The best way for others to help honor my motherhood would be to speak Jensen’s name to me, ask about him, and talk about him. For other’s to acknowledge I’m still a mom. When acknowledging my family, acknowledge him. If I have tears when I talk about him, know it’s tears of love. But also, for other’s to be okay if I’m not comfortable with a situation. My heart is heavy and I need time to grieve and not put myself in a vulnerable position. Just showing love to Jensen and I, listening, and being there for me honors my motherhood.

Honoring my motherhood means so much to me. The second I knew about Jensen, I wanted to be the best mother for him and I continue to want to be the best.