Sunday, 3 May 2015

Choosing to Celebrate Love.

Jess shares with us her thoughts on approaching her first Mother's Day as a bereaved mother.

"As bereaved mothers we have to make too many decisions that no parent should ever have to make. So let’s make a decision for us, let’s celebrate Mother’s Day, because we are mothers too."

Through all the anniversary and festive dates of our 8 month journey, I have come to learn that the lead up is always the worst. But just like every other day, you crawl into bed as night falls and you take a deep breath, and you acknowledge that you have survived another day.

We lost our Isobel just weeks before Father’s Day last year. The upcoming event didn't even occur to us until the day we needed to refill my painkillers prescription. There in the pharmacy was a nice little display of Father’s Day gifts, a table of dad-like products staring back at us. At the time I chose to ignore it, not realising how painful those 5 minutes were for my husband, until we got home and he broke down. That was the day we wondered if we would ever celebrate a special day again.

Christmas was just as hard. We thought putting up a tree would help, and we were even lucky to receive beautiful ornament gifts for Isobel. But the days leading up to it were torture, and the day itself even worst. Friends posted pictures of their baby's first Christmas. Strangers wished us a "Merry Christmas" but we couldn't even say the words in return, we weren't 'merry', there was nothing 'merry' about Christmas to us. We put smiles on for our families on Christmas Day so they could at least enjoy it without feeling guilty, but we were heartbroken inside.

Now Mother’s Day approaches and the fear lurks in my mind - how will I survive it?

I know that I am not alone in this fear. Mother’s Day is a "trigger" for thousands of mothers out there, although one of many triggers I'm sure they feel every day; for me it's the colour yellow, her songs, hearing her name called out in the supermarket. The triggers never really stop, but the Mother’s Day trigger is a big one. For a bereaved mother, Mother’s Day is a blend of numbness, disbelief and sorrow. It feels like everything in the world is reminding you of your loss, every television ad, every display in the shop window, even the sight of every mother with their child knowing they will have the chance that you won’t have to celebrate together.

As bereaved mothers we have to make too many decisions that no parent should ever have to make. So let’s make a decision for us, let’s celebrate Mother’s Day, because we are mothers too.

I recently watched a beautiful video about motherhood by American blogger Missy Lanning. It talks about what motherhood means, and to Missy it means love. And I agree. Love is the most important part of being a mother because it is there from the very beginning and it never goes away. The moment we started trying for Isobel I felt the love for our unborn child, although it took a long 3 years; my love just grew stronger. As my belly grew I remember feeling strange because I loved our child so much but I couldn't define if my love was for a girl or a boy, it was just pure love. The moment she was born I felt instinctive love of wanting to protect her, and I always will.

This Mother’s Day I will tell the world that I am a mother. I love my daughter unconditionally, a love which grows stronger each day. I worry about her, hoping she is safe. I am proud of her, and I hope she is proud of me. I feel guilt that I am not doing enough for her, or giving her enough attention. I share every moment with her. I am her mother. She is my daughter. I choose to celebrate our love on Mother’s Day, and I hope all mothers will choose to celebrate their love with their child.


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Jess Schulz

Living in quiet beachside Adelaide, Jess is a fundraising officer for Motor Neurone Disease SA, freelance graphic designer, and social blogger. Married for 5 years (together for 12), Jess and her husband experienced the saddened loss of their first child in 2014 at 40 weeks. Their daughter Isobel Lola, passed away 6 days after she was born. A perfect pregnancy ended with a cord prolapse during labour, and now Jess and her husband are walking the road of grief while trying to survive each day without their Isobel. Love, hope and support are the essence of their survival, and Jess has chosen to share their story on Sands to hopefully support other bereaved parents walking this road too.

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