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Thoughts about Mother's Day...

Mothers Day... It actualy hit me very bad,
even worse than the anniversary, or due date.

The roses were beautiful but
the acknowledgement
is the gift that I will treasure forever.
Atlanta SHARE

Letters and Thoughts...

"Mother's Day & 'The Mommy Club'" by JoAnn (4/98)

"What Gift Can I Give?" by Carrie (5/94)

"Mother's Day in Ireland" by Lisa (5/98)

"Surviving Mother's Day" by JoAnn (6/98)

"Mommy's Special LiL Angel, Dominique" by Tracy (6/98)

"My Mother's Day Gift" by Peggy (9/26/98)

"Supporting One Another...tell each and every one of you that you, your families, and your babies are in my thoughts and prayers every day, but even more so today." Love Alayna (5/9/99)

A Special Mother's Day Story (about me!) by JoAnn (5/10/02)

"Angels on a Mission" by Sonia (5/12/04)

"Am I still a mother?" by Shannon (3/15/05) GA

Mother's Day & "The Mommy Club"

May 11th will be 8 months since my son Ian was stillborn. May 11th is also the day after Mother's Day; I'm not looking forward to either day. I've been thinking often of Mother's Day, trying to determine the real reason why I am not looking forward to it.

It's not only because I miss my son and wish I could turn back the hands of time and make this "stillbirth dream" go away, but also due to my interpretation of others viewpoints of my "motherhood" (those outside of my loss experience).

For instance, last year I received a Mother's Day card on Mother's Day! I was 5 months pregnant at the time; what a wonderful surprise to be recognized as a "Mother-to-Be." Will anyone recognize me as a Mother this Mother's Day (I have no other children)? THAT is what is bothering me.

The facilitator at my bereavement group made a comment last month to the effect of, "if you do have more children in the future you will be a better mother, more appreciative, more compassionate." True, I agree.

But, aren't I a Mother now? Am I suddenly excluded from the "Mommy Club" because my child died? I don't think so.

I'll be Ian's Mommy forever, no one can take that away from me. My heart says now that EVERY DAY SHOULD BE MOTHER'S DAY! Not just another day in May.

Not only am I saddened that others won't recognize me on Mother's Day but also that they will lose sight of the fact that I'm always Ian's mother, every day. I hate the feeling that my "motherhood" does not exist to others outside my loss experience and I realize they don't understand. I wish they would at least try.

Visit "JoAnn's Diary" to read her other entries during a year's time frame.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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What Gift Can I Give?

Two years ago I spent my first Mother's Day without my daughter.

Only one year earlier, the day after Mother's Day, I learned that I was pregnant with Katie, and I felt that finding out when I did was a sure sign that this was a very special child. I was right.

Now on Mother's Day I share in the joy that I was and still am Katie's mother.

Her gift to me on that first Mother's Day was the love that I feel when I think of her, and the joy that she brought my husband and I while we waited for her to arrive.

I did receive cards on my first Mother's Day; from my husband and my mother. They meant alot.

Now though, I send cards to other mothers who have lost their children, letting them know that someone recognizes them as the special Mother that they are. In this way you, too, can remember you child; always remembering that you are not alone.

It is very much the same for fathers on Father's Day. Fathers grieve, too. On my husband's first Father's Day, his one and only child could not be with him to tell him how much she loved him, but I was. Remember you husband, brothers, your own father and friends who may be grieving. Give them the love that you may feel unable to give to the child you lost.

Some people would like to think that these holidays were created by the greeting card companies to make money. I would like to think they originated through love.

This is what your child can give to you on Mother's Day and Father's Day - the ability to share with those in your life, the love that you ache to give.

To my daughter Katie, her father Jeff and her brother, Matthew, With Love, Karrie J.

(Note: Karrie sent "anniversary notes" to SHARE Atlanta parents for several years. We find that this means so much to our grieving parents. We send these notes to all our parents at the end of the first year.)

SHARE Atlanta

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Mother's Day in Ireland was in March - here are some thoughts about "being a mom" from Lisa.

I have been keeping quite well, apart from Mothers Day.

It actualy hit me very bad, even worse that the anniversary, or due date. Partially I think because after I lost Nora, I was very ill and did not go out socialising. The first day I went to our local pub and two friends of ours sent over 2 drinks, as they just heard I was pregnant?! Bad timing or what. Then the couple that we were out with, Nicola the girl lost her baby at 6 months with a lot of complications, he lived for about an hour but died. She doesn't think before speaking and asked what Tom got me for mothers day.

I had never thought of it that I was a "mother", but realised I was intitled to receive a card like all mothers, but Tom was actually afraid to get me anything encase it upset me. I voiced my opinion and said I would like something, even something small.

Mothers Day this year was a Sunday, so Tom suggested we go for a meal on Saturday night.

We had a lovely time, but he didn't mention Mothers Day at all. We met friends then on Saturday night at 2am, and stayed up talking till 11am the Sunday. I was exhausted but couldn't sleep as Nora was in my thoughts constantly.

See ""Born Too Soon," Midterm Loss/Unknown cause, "The Little Angels" - A Special Plot in Dublin, Ireland in "Our Memorial Service," First Anniversary, and "How others might have helped..." by Lisa (1/98)

And Chloe arrives!

Nora - 19/01/97
Second Trimester Loss
Dublin, Ireland

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Surviving Mother's Day

For several weeks preceding Mother's Day I was a basketcase of emotions; my son, Ian, was stillborn on 9/11/97 so May 1998 marks the first Mother's Day without him and the following day 5/11/98 was the 8th month anniversary of his birth. I decided to schedule 2 days off from work on the 11th & 12th, not knowing what my emotional state of mind would be like. However, I think we need to do that; plan for the unexpected, do whatever we think is right to get through the pain.

My husband and I visited Ian's grave on Mother's Day in the latter part of the evening, just before dark. I broke down in uncontrollable tears when I saw a gift someone had left; a white rose was left by Ian's grave with a card. The card stated (as if it was written to me from my son), "I'll always love you Mom, love Ian." What a wonderful gesture! I'm still not sure who did that, but it shows how much love & support he/she had for us. I'll never forget that. I plan to dry out the white rose and place it with the card in Ian's scrapbook.

My husband bought me a gold necklace; 3 small blocks, each one with one of Ian's initials engraved. I'll cherish it forever. I also received 2 Mother's Day cards from close friends; how thoughtful they remembered.

Just when I thought that no one would think about Ian, or us ... it made me able to cope so much better with the day. I thank them with all my heart.

Visit "JoAnn's Diary" to read her other entries during a year's time frame.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Mommy's special lil girl, Dominique Lee

Mommy's special lil girl, who belongs to god now. Your name precious lil one means, She who belongs to God. I miss you so very much. I long to have you with me one more time to feel you poke at me. What a pretty lil girl you were. I am so glad I had a chance to spend time with you before you went to be an angel. Thank you for giving me the one thing I always wanted, to be a MOM. I will Love you always my sweet Lil angel.

Love Mommy 5/23/98

Tracy Lee Utterback
Dominique Lee
Second trimester loss
Mt. Pleasant, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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My Mother's Day Gift

On the first Mother's Day following the loss of my daughter, Annie, I went to a retreat at a convent. This was a very hard time for me. I had lost my mother when I was 18 but this year I was a mother but had no baby with me.

At Mass that morning Father talked about the bond between a mother and her child - how it is similar to the bond between Creator and creation. I cried through the entire Mass.

After Mass, one of my dearest friends, Sister Angelina, brought me to the front parlor, she reached behind the door and pulled out 2 long stem roses, one with a pink bow and one with a red bow. She said, "I think ALL mother's deserve roses on Mother's Day!"

She explained that the pink bow represented Annie and the red, my mother. What a beautiful gift!

The roses were beautiful but the acknowledgement is the gift that I will treasure forever.

I couldn't believe that a woman whom will never have biological children of her own could understand so much! I have truly been blessed by great friends!

Anne Elizabeth, Stillborn
Atlanta, GA
SHARE Atlanta

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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"Supporting One Another"...Love Alayna

Dear Marcia~

I lost my baby at 10 wks on March 3, 99. I was really scared of how Mother Day would affect me. Well here we are. I'm at the computer, my face soaking wet, my heart broken. This is my first Mother's Day, and it hurts bad.

I found a Mothers Day poem called "Yes, I Am A Mother" that really helped me.

I know that I'm sitting here wishing that someone would recognize me today even though my baby isn't here, so I want to recognize all of the SHARE Atlanta families and tell each and every one of you that you, your families, and your babies are in my thoughts and prayers every day, but even more so today.



Ashlie Tierra

Marcia's thoughts: Thank you for your kind words of support for all the Mothers who have lost a special baby and are trying to "get through today." It is one of the hardest days for us to get through.

What gives me hope is knowing that we do survive our great pain and part of the reason is that we reach out to one another. This IS God's plan. His way of loving us. And you have been part of that today.

You are not alone. Tears and pain are part of the grief we feel because we have lost a little one so special to us. God gives us comfort through each other and through the knowledge that we will NEVER forget these special babies. They will be forever in our hearts and souls.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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A Special Mother's Day Story (about me!)

I wanted to share this with all of you:

In December 1997 I took a trip to Manhattan at Christmastime (three months after my son Ian's stillbirth). At first I wasn't going to go, because finding joy in the season so soon after Ian's stillbirth was extremely difficult.

One of my favorite things to do in Manhattan is see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and watch the ice skaters. At a store nearby, I found a book "The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center," which tells the history of how the tradition started. Of course, I had to buy that book (I'm a book nut). On the bus ride home, all I could think about was how much I missed Ian and how sad I was that he would never see the Christmas tree at R.C.

Recently, my daughter took a liking to that book (she'll be 18 months on May 20th). She loves flipping the pages and pointing to the colorful Christmas tree photos. Karalyn is now "talking" quite a bit, and one of her favorite words is TREE. She points to the photos and says "TREE." How wonderful that makes my heart feel.

I'll never forget clutching that book with tears streaming down my face on the bus ride home from Manhattan in 1997, hoping and praying that one day I could share it with a new child, and now I'm blessed with my daughter!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of you!


Visit "JoAnn's Diary" to read her other entries during a year's time frame.


Marcia's thoughts: What a wonderful surprise!! I always love hearing from you. What a very special story - a gift from Karalyn in loving memory of Ian. Once again, things of "today" trigger memories of "yesterday." Isn't it special and wonderful when they blend for a beautiful time. I am so glad you shared it with us.

I have been working on the site a lot over the last few weeks and rereading so much of it. It has been a journey just to do the site. Babies like Karalyn, Chloe, Brendan, Jenny, and so on tied with wonderful people like you, MaryBeth, Janet, and Lisa and others make the journey so very special.

I know your Mother's Day will be fabulous. Please give you ALL a hug from me. Would love a picture to put on the site - if you'd like.

I will add this to "your diary" next week. Take care, Marcia

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Angels on a Mission

Church was not on the top of my agenda yesterday, Mother's Day. We were expecting a house full of relatives and friends over, and my husband was in charge of the planning and executing. I hated to leave him home alone with the kids to handle everything by himself, but for some reason I felt more compelled to attend morning services, so I went.

As is customary at most churches on Mother's Day, the minister asked all grandmothers, mothers, expectant mothers, and potential mothers to stand. Amidst the applause as we women stood, I heard a big sob. I looked down to my right, and sitting next to me was a young lady who was being consoled by her husband.

A little later, during the welcome segment of our service, I had the opportunity to ask him if they had lost a baby. The answer was yes. I embraced the young lady and told her I had been there myself.

I wrote them a short note telling of my two losses; the first in '95, the second in 99', and urged them to check out the Share Atlanta website.

At the end of the service, remembering the pain of the first Mother's Days after my losses, I told the husband that it would take a while, but that the pain would evenutally numb.

Who knows why I happened to be sitting next to those two young people yesterday; maybe my two little angels in heaven guided me there. All I know is that I was glad that I could "share" with them in their time of need.

1995, 1999
Atlanta, GA

Marcia's thoughts: Bless you, Sonia, I believe that your two angels did indeed guide you there...and here. I am touched by your story and by your sharing it here. I know that you gave this couple more support than you could ever realize.

It is such a lonesome feeling on Mother's Day when the church does this kind of thing...always in love, but oh, so hard for those who have had losses. I wish that they would recognize women as nuturers and have available red or white carnations in memory of or in honor of each of our own mothers. That is what my Mother - in - laws church does and it feels very nice. Then, people can remember and feel as they are moved to.

Thanks for taking a moment and 'dropping by' to share your experience. We are never alone...outreach and being there for each other is always important. Give yourself a gentle hug from me...

Am I still a mother?

I think there is something different about loosing your first child.

I have had other people come to me since my firstborn baby son Patrick, died at birth on Jan 11 2005. They have shared their stories of miscarriage and stillborn babies. I am amazed by how many people have lost children.

I appreciate their willingness to share their story with me. However, some of these people had already had a child. They know what it is like to be called mama. They know the joy of seeing their first child open his eyes and grow and change. They know the joy of birth announcements and showing off your first baby. Someone still calls them mommy.

I not only lost my precious baby, but the honor and experience of having a first baby. What will happen if I am blessed with another baby? Will he be considered the second child or will people refer to him as the firstborn. Will he always feel he lives in his dead brothers shadow?

Even though I will be overjoyed if I become pregnant again, it will not be like my first pregnancy, which was very very special. When people ask "is this your first?" What do you say?

I am slowly returning to my normal life, going back to work and other activities. But I have missed out on the experience of raising my child. I have no other children calling me mama so I am just me, a childless married woman like I was before.

All the transformation I went through in my pregnancy, physically and mentally, for nothing. The scars, stretch marks, weight, and nothing to show for it. The way I changed mentally and emotionally as a person during my pregnancy, in preparation for becoming a mother, all for nothing. I am just the same old me, doing the same old thing.

Some people tell me "you are still a mother." I try to believe that in my heart. I know its true, but to the world I am "married, no children." I have no stories to share with other mothers about my baby. I can share my birth story as I did experience childbirth, yet my story has a different outcome from theirs.

I have all the baby clothes and accesories, yet mine sit in boxes in my closet. My subscription to parents magazine still comes in the mail. I give it to my friend who has 2 healthy children.

The other day a friend of mine told me her birth story about "being tortured by the nurses and then it ended in c-section after 28 hours of back labor. . " I said, "wow that's rough. But you still got to leave with your baby. YOu got your baby." She remembered quickly what just happened to me and said I was right.

No one will ever complain to me about their kids or their birth story without hearing it from me. I won't bring it up otherwise. I just want people to appreciate their gifts, their children.

Am I still a mother? If a woman looses her only child at any age is she still a mother? This is a question that is heavy in my mind. Maybe someday I wll find the answer.

5/10"Patrick's Story" by Shannon (2/7/04) Third Term loss/known GA

Patrick Fitzsimmons
Carrollton, GA
March 15, 2005

Marcia's thoughts: I wish that you would join us this evening. Your questions and your thoughts are reflective of just about everyone who has ever joined us. Am I still a mother/father? What club do I belong to? Is it harder to loose the first or the second OR does it make any difference? No one else really understands...and others who complain about the ups and downs of "parenthood', birthing, pregnancy, etc. will hear from me. ALL of these we discuss and weigh. Some at each meeting...but most in our Relationship meeting and in our "Significance of You and Your Baby" (the fifth meeting in May and in Oct.)

Are there any answers? Brainstorming and sharing with others who "have been there" helps us to begin to cope. Grieving brings so many things. We talk about the loss of innocence, the loss of the role of parenting a living child, the loss of communication with others...and tonight we will be talking about our relationships and grief. Grief influences every relationship we have! Can and how do we cope???

Your questions are good ones. They are "discussable" as we work through our grief. We make choices of how we are going to approach them and the world in general. Each person decides for her/him/self how they will walk the walk.

We talk about learning to protect ourselves and how to honor our child's memory. Love and peace not resentment and hate is what we strive for. But, it takes learning how to cope, working through the issues and finding positive ways to remember. We must take time with our grief, time with our baby, and know that we will never forget our love for our baby.

I am the mother of five children. Three are in heaven (my belief) and two are here on this good earth. Each one has helped to make me who I am today. Each one is special to me - for different reasons. To dismiss any one of them would dismiss a special creation and dream that my husband and I wanted.

I had two babies who died before our first living son was born. Then we lost a child at birth after him. I then went on to have a living son two years later. You are right, when we have no living children and we loose a baby, we have no one to call us "mommy" and no one to mother. The pain is great. When we loose a baby after we have a living child, we do have a child that calls us mommy and one we can wrap our arms around, but we now know, even in a greater way what we have lost. Either way, the pain is great. We don't like it and grief must be coped with.

I have seen parents at every stage of grief and parents who have five living children who loose their sixth child and the pain is great. I believe that we cannot replace, make right, "whatever"...each baby is special in his/her own way and every parent suffers. I also believe that the length of time we carry a baby bears little on a parents level of grief. Some will say or try to say that an early loss is different...and it is for many reasons (and we cannot judge the ways), but each parent must be given "permission to grieve" their loss in their way.... On our site, the section on grief "Allowing Grieving to Happen to Heal" addresses many of these issues.

Are you a mother? That is your call...but I believe you are. We carried a child, we dreamed what that child might be like, we can name that child and do loving things in his/her memory. On our Mother's Day page there are some wonderful poems that speak to this issue. You might want to look on it. I believe that some of us do a lot for the baby that died. Our grief is because we loved and our baby died. If our child meant nothing, there would be no grief...

Our subsequent pregnancy is filled with more issues. Our subsequent pregnancy group discusses these with pregnant moms. We talk about some of what you are asking in our grief groups. (Next months grief group is "Grief and Future Choices" and we discuss how to approach the subsequent pregnancy. Some of this is online under subsequent pregnancy and Carol's book, of course, is excellent for these issues!)

Our innocence is the joy going to return? Yes...slowly, but yes. We find that have to move careflly and we often need support. We find we do love these subsequent children and many know about their "big" sister or brother. Depending on who asks and the circumstances and the length of time from your loss, various answers are given to the time worn questions "Is this your first?" "How many children do you have?" Life is complicated, is it not? But, we find that we can gradually work through some of these issues.

The thing that we talk about is time is empty if we don't use that time to cope and work through the very kinds of questions you are asking. Also most people think that grief lasts two or three weeks so we put ourselves in a pressure can to get it "all taken care of" in that timeframe. Well, it makes us feel even more crazy.

Grieving is a process not a moment in time. We feel better gradually and not uniformly. It takes 6 months to a year to feel "healed" for most people. The 4th to the 6th month can be another dip into reality and that is normal. I say that grieving is "doable" and we have to keep our options open and realize what options we have...all along the way.

I want you to know that I am thinking of you. You are not alone in your quest for healing. I sent you the March Updates and, hopefully, you have asked for our Parent Packet that tells all about our groups.

Tonight is the Women's meeting here at my home and we will be talking about "Grief and Relationships." I will include the directions in this email (they are in the March Updates as well). You are welcomed to join us - I have people travel to the group from all over. The women meet each other and share their thoughts in a safe place. If you can't meet with us in person, hopefully you will connect with someone online. Many of our members have found supportive friends through the website. I realize that not everyone can make it to a group.

Your thoughts are wise and on target. Know that others feel very similarly. There are options and ways to cope. It is not easy to cope with the tragic death of our baby, but with support we can weave a path that is healing.

{Well, I thought that this was sent to you on last Wed. before my group that evening. I am just now finding it here...with a little red check by it...something did not go right. I so wish that you had received it and joined our 12 women last Wed. We talked about so many of these issues. Please consider joining us next month or at the Acworth or Cascade meeting - it helps to talk to each other. But, if you can't - for any reason - please continue to email me. Your email is on the site and you can get to it by going to Recent Entries and clicking on your entry. Hopefully others will be helped by your questions and will email you, too. Take care, Marcia}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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