I cried in the supermarket yesterday, looking at Mothers Day cards and pastel bouquets, reading the words ‘Mummy’ printed across coffee mugs and chocolate boxes. I stood there, blinking back angry tears and a lump in my throat, as it hit me that another Mother’s Day has come around without my child.
Years ago, before I became a Mummy, I imagined how perfect our Mother’s Day’s would be. I dreamt of chubby hands surprising me with my favourite flowers, a splodgy hand painted card brought home from nursery, a Sunday lunch in the local pub, my heart bursting with happiness at how lucky I was to be a Mummy at last.
And for two years I had just that.
I will never forget my first Mother’s Day, the fuss that was made, the presents I was showered with, a one year old Lewis held in my arms, pinching myself that everything I had ever wanted was right there in front of me.
The following year was so special for me with a two year old Lewis, and Joseph kicking away in my belly, all of my hopes and dreams right there about to unfold. Little did I know that it would be the last special occasion I would celebrate with all of my children; little did I know about the pain that would follow which would mar my future Mother’s Day’s, for always.
And I think it is this which I struggle with the most, the fact that not only did my child die and we lose the life we had hoped and planned for, but that in all of these moments going forward, which I have waited my whole lifetime to enjoy, they will forever be tainted with sadness now that Joseph isn’t here.
And that feels so desperately unfair.
I am sad that on Mothers Day, when my four healthy children, my beautiful little rainbows, hand over their cards which they have worked so hard on at school, when they throw their arms around my neck and shower me with kisses, when they snuggle into my chest and tell me how much they love me, it will never be enough.
I am angry that this Sunday, when we sit around our breakfast table together, all four of the children looking at me through eyes filled with love and admiration, completely unaware of how difficult it is for me to make it through the day, I will be thinking of the one who isn’t there.
I feel guilty that on a day so many will never experience, when so many others live with empty arms and broken hearts, despite the fact I have four children right here beside me, my heart will still be breaking.
Because as grateful as I am that they are mine, and as thankful as I am to have been given the chance to go on to have more children, I will always be thinking about that missing card, that missing face, that missing piece of our jigsaw whose loss feels even greater on the special days we spend together.
And there is nothing wrong with admitting that.
Everywhere you look, and everything we read, we are told that in the face of adversity we should find strength and determination, that with every hardship we should find happiness and positivity, that with every loss and every heartbreak we should be grateful and joyous for the things we do have, no matter what the circumstances.
And yet some days, like today, I don’t want to focus on the positives. Some days I don’t want to hear how lucky I am to have gone on to have more children. Some days I don’t want to be reminded how grateful I should be that my children are happy and healthy and safe in my arms. Some days I just want to wallow in the fact that my boy isn’t here, to explode with rage that all of our lovely moments have been overrun with heartache, that whilst there is four, there should have been five. Some days I just want others to appreciate that you can be grateful for the children you do have whilst still desperately wanting the one you don’t.
You see the truth is, Mothers Day can be tough for all of us – those without their children, and those without their Mothers – and even those with surviving children in their arms, or Mother figures in their lives, are entitled to feel sad on a day which celebrates the relationship between a Mother and her child. This Sunday, as I take Joseph Spring flowers to lay at his grave, just know that it won’t hurt any less because I have four children waiting for me back at home. This Sunday, as I read my cards from the children, know that I won’t miss Joseph any less because there are four names staring back at me. This Sunday, as I hold my children close to my chest and feel grateful for all that I have, know that I won’t feel any less cheated that my boy is not here because my arms are still so very full.
So this Mothers Day I want to send my love to all of you missing a child. I want to tell you that it is completely normal to admit that you find the day hard, that you feel angry and bitter and desperately sad for all of those stolen moments. It is perfectly okay, even with healthy children in your arms, if you still struggle to see the positives, to feel whole, to raise a smile, to accept that this is the hand you have been dealt. This Mothers Day I want to tell you that there is nobody more deserving than a Mummy who had to give one back, and my thoughts will be with you on Sunday, and always.