International Bereaved Mother’s Day was created to educate and remind people that a large group of women typically don’t get honored during traditional Mother’s Day.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Did International Bereaved Mother’s Day Start?
- When Is International Bereaved Mother’s Day?
- How Do People Acknowledge Bereaved Mother’s Day?
These women are those who have had a difficult time conceiving or birthing a baby of their own. This day is also for women who have lost infants, children, or those who have lost adult children.
International Bereaved Mother’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in May.
How Did International Bereaved Mother’s Day Start?
International Bereaved Mother’s Day was started in 2010 by a woman who gave birth to a stillborn child.
The woman, Carly Marie Dudley, wanted to help heal the hearts of other grieving mothers and she wanted to let them know that they aren’t alone. She dedicated International Bereaved Mother’s Day to women who felt overlooked on the traditional Mother’s Day each year.
Dudley organized this movement after losing her son, Christian. She said, “In 2010, I felt drawn to create International Bereaved Mother’s Day to help heal hurting Mother Hearts. International Bereaved Mother’s Day is intended to be a temporary movement. It is a heart-centered attempt at healing the official Mother’s Day for all mothers. I believe that we can do this and that sometime in the near future there will be no need for this day at all because all true mothers will be recognized, loved, supported, and celebrated.”
As Dudley explained in the quote above, the purpose of International Bereaved Mother’s Day is to remind people to remember women who do not have living children on the second Sunday of May.
Dudley hopes that as her movement gains strength, people will reach out to those hurting on Mother’s Day and remember their plight. Having an International Bereaved Mother’s Day may change the typical Mother’s Day messages.
When Is International Bereaved Mother’s Day?
International Bereaved Mother’s Day is the first Sunday of May. Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May.
Bereaved Mother’s Day is one week before the other celebration to remind people to reach out to the women around them who are hurting.
Here are the dates for Bereaved Mother's Day for the next few years:
2022: Sunday, May 1
2023: Sunday, May 7
2024: Sunday, May 5
2025: Sunday, May 4
How Do People Acknowledge Bereaved Mother’s Day?
The purpose of International Bereaved Mother’s Day is not achieved if it is not acknowledged. If you know a woman who struggles on the second Sunday in May, reach out to her on that day or Bereaved Mother’s Day.
It may be difficult knowing what to say to someone who has lost a child or struggles to conceive. You may have an especially difficult time approaching this subject if you have never struggled with fertility and have healthy children of your own.
You may be uncomfortable broaching the subject of loss. Here are some ideas to help you navigate this sad situation.
Send a sympathy message
Instead of wishing your friend or family member a “happy day” or offering medical advice, consider offering your friend a message of sympathy. Here are some examples of things to say or write in a text.
“I just wanted to know that I’m thinking about you today. You may not know, but today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day. I think about Baby Sam often, and I know he is always in your heart.”
“I know Mother’s Day is difficult for you. While I wish I could give you a big hug today, you’ll have to settle for a big virtual hug. I love you, and I’m thinking of you and your husband.
“I know you dread the first part of May each year. Please know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers the next few weeks. I also think of you each year as little Sammy’s birthday approaches. Your sweet baby has not been forgotten.”
“As soon as I saw the Mother’s Day displays at the store, I thought of you. Would you like to meet for coffee this week?”
Donate to an appropriate charity
If your friend or family member had a funeral service for their child, she might have chosen a nonprofit organization to receive donations to commemorate the life that was lost.
Consider donating to this or another appropriate childhood charity each year in May. Your friend will appreciate knowing that her child has not been forgotten.
Plant a tree or a bush
Living memorials are sometimes a nice way to commemorate the death of a person. Consider getting permission to plant a tree or bush at a local park to honor the death of your friend’s child.
You could add a plaque with the child’s name or dedicate the living memorial to all mothers who are grieving the loss of children or who are unable to conceive. This way, other women who see the memorial will know that they are not alone in their loss.
Purchase or make a personalized garden stone
You can find lots of baby memorial ideas online. Some people choose to commemorate an unborn baby’s life by placing a movable garden stone in their own backyards instead of purchasing a plot at a cemetery.
These garden stones can be moved to the next house or location whenever necessary, and you can personalize them with the child’s name.
Post a message to grieving moms on social media
Around Mother’s Day, consider posting a message on social media about how you choose to remember all women on Mother’s Day — those who can’t conceive, the ones who have lost children in the womb, and those who have lost children after they were born.
You may not know how many women in your Facebook friend list will be affected by your words, as many women choose not to share this part of their lives.
Purchase wind chimes
Your grieving friend probably continually thinks about the child she lost. Consider purchasing a small set of personalized wind chimes that will act as a melodic reminder of the child who was never born.
Give your friend a book about grieving
Women who lose children grieve for them, just as anyone would grieve when a family member dies.
Sometimes people overlook this grief, which is wrong and hurtful. Tell your friend that you know she is hurting by purchasing books about losing a child.
Bring your friend a meal
Your friend may not want to go to a crowded restaurant full of celebrating families on Mother’s Day.
She may not want to even get out of bed. Instead, consider bringing a nice meal to her and her family. Perhaps you could even join her if she feels like having company.
Purchase memorial jewelry
You can find many different types of memorial jewelry, some made specifically for someone suffering from an infant loss.
You may also consider giving your friend a ring or a pendant that displays the birthstone of the child she lost.
Find an appropriate figurine
Look at a local gift store for an appropriate figurine that depicts your friend’s situation. You may find one that shows an angel holding a baby.
Purchase a stuffed animal for cremains
If your friend has the cremated remains of her baby or child, you may ask if she wants you to purchase a personalized, stuffed animal with a hidden compartment made, especially for cremains.
This may not be a gift that you would give to someone without asking for permission since she may have other plans on what she wants to do with the ashes.
Write a letter
If you express yourself best through words, consider writing a letter to your friend’s unborn baby or children, telling them what a wonderful mother they have.
Write about your friend’s gifts and talents. Tell the children, “Your mommy is a blessing to everyone who meets her.”
Deliver a bouquet
If you don’t have the right words to say while your friend is hurting, consider dropping off a bouquet of some of her favorite flowers.
Tell your friend that you don’t know what to say, but you know that she is hurting.
Bereaved Moms Can Help Each Other
Sometimes it helps to talk with others who have been through similar situations. Having this connection with another woman who struggles to conceive or has lost a child can make you feel less alone in the world.
Of course, connecting with others is difficult if you don’t know the other person’s story. If you know that someone is hurting, you may consider sharing your own experiences. While we all need to be careful not to compare our grief with another person’s, you may be able to share while at the same time, not take away from the emotions your friend is experiencing.
“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/.