Mother's Day

Once a Mother, Always a Mother

After weeks of publicity and promotions, the long-awaited annual celebration of motherhood has finally arrived in the United Kingdom.

Yes, Mother’s Day, a significant annual fixture in the UK calendar that recognises and celebrates the honoured status of the mother is once again being celebrated up and down the land today.

Each year millions are spent by the British public on cards, flowers and gifts of various sorts, anything that could be given to mums as a gesture of gratitude and appreciation.

However, you may be surprised to learn that Mother’s Day is not marked by all families.

Some argue that they do not need to be told when to honour their mothers, while others see the aggressive advertising of Mother’s Day merchandise as another vivid example of commercialism ‘gone mad’.

Whether you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day or not, you stand little chance of avoiding the hype and marketing leading up to this day.

I plan to spend Mother’s Day with some of the most amazing and courageous people I am honoured to serve.

They are the mothers of Children of Jannah, the mothers of children who have died.

Recently, I was introduced to a bereaved mother, who said, “I am the mother of a child who died and that makes Mother’s Day difficult for me.”

My experience of working with bereaved parents has given me a valuable understanding that ‘special days’ of any kind, such as Eid, Mother’s Day, or birthdays, can be painful and difficult times for many people who are bereaved.

In fact, the first year after the death of a child may often be filled with anxiety and worry when an anniversary date, special day or holiday approaches.

With this article, I aim to offer some useful suggestions to help our community of bereaved mothers get through Mother’s Day, and to assist those of us who are close to a bereaved mother support her.

A situation that I come across frequently is that I find well meaning people often erring on the side of caution, in their view, and choosing not to mention special days, like Mother’s Day, so as to not upset the person they love and care about.

People may feel uncomfortable about mentioning the name of the child who died to the mother.

But what they don’t perhaps appreciate is that this approach can often leave a bereaved mother feeling forgotten.

According to many bereaved mothers I have spoken to, a card (whether posted or sent electronically), a phone call, or even an email, sending your best wishes for a happy Mother’s Day, may go further than you think.

You see, while she’s on her own path of redefining where she now “fits” on this day, you are helping her to know that she fits where every other mother fits – in the spotlight.

You are helping her to realise that she is still a mum, and that she is viewed in this way by those around her and in her community.

One of the best gifts a bereaved mother can give herself is the acknowledgement that she is a mother, even though she may not be carrying her child in her arms. One suggestion for bereaved mothers is to remind yourself that there is no right or wrong way to work through Mother’s Day.

Whatever you choose to do on this day, doing something that is healing for you as an individual, whether this is spending time with your spouse, a friend or a family member talking about your loss and what your child or baby meant to you, or whether you decide to write a letter to your child in Jannah (as described in chapter 7 of my widely distributed book, Sorrow to Serenity), giving yourself the permission to be human and allowing the tears to fall may help you feel a lot better.

According to some of the bereaved mothers I have spoken to, Mother’s Day is not a day to mask feelings; rather it is a day to celebrate that your child is in Jannah, free from harm.

It may also be helpful to remind yourself that loss is a part of life.

There are no guarantees in life, ever, and our children are gifts for us for whatever length of time we have them with us.

Often times by building a support network around you, and explaining to loved ones that this day may be a difficult one, could also help you get through the day.

To join a Bereavement Support Group in Manchester, London or Lancashire, UK, please click here

With warm regards,

Hafizah Ismail

CEO & Founder, Children of Jannah

About the Author The Children of Jannah blog is maintained and updated by our editorial team.