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How to cope on Mother's Day when you have lost a child

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Dealing with grief on Mother's Day

For those who have lost a child, Mother's Day can be a very painful holiday. Give yourself permission to feel sadness and grief, and find ways to honor your child's memory during this very challenging time.


Write a letter

If you have lost a child, it may help you cope to sit down and write him/her a letter (or an email). Writing is a great way to get out any emotions that are bottled up inside you – from grief and pain to guilt and anger. Pour your feeling out on the paper. Write about your feelings and memories of your child. After you are done, read the letter out loud to yourself. This is a very comforting exercise for many people who are grieving and helps them cope with the loss.

Lean on friends and family

Spend time with friends and family members who understand your situation. You don't need to spend the day alone or put on a happy face and go to a big Mother's Day celebration. Instead, lean on a friend or two who are sympathetic to your situation and will lend a shoulder to cry on, if necessary.

Honor your child's memory

On Mother's Day, do something in honor of your child's memory. Give a donation to a charity. Light a candle at church. Visit the gravesite. Plant a living memorial for your child in the form of a tree or rose bush. Planting a tree is also a great way to honor your own mom on Mother's Day.

Don't try to minimize the loss

You don't need to "be strong" on this day or try to minimize the loss by counting your other blessings. You are allowed to grieve, so give yourself permission.

Give yourself a break

If anyone needs a little "me time" right now, it's you. Pamper yourself with an afternoon at the spa or a weekend away. Self care is very important in order for you to grieve and heal.

If you know someone who has had a miscarriage or suffered the death of a child, reach out to her on this difficult day. Acknowledge the loss and recognize that she is a mom. Even though the child is no longer with her physically, she will always be a mother. Don't think that she doesn't want to talk about her child. Many moms who have experienced the death of a child would love people to acknowledge their children and talk about fond memories with them.

More about grief and loss

Helping someone deal with a cancer loss
Love after pregnancy loss
The first holiday season after a loss

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