As Mother's Day approaches, not everyone will be happily celebrating. For those who have lost a mother, it can be a daunting day, especially if this is the first one without mum. The day may also bring mixed and complex feelings to women who have experienced the loss of a child, infertility or miscarriage. They may struggle to cope with the memories and emotions which this day triggers, and may feel very unsettled.

For those who need a little support at this time, I offer some guidance to help you get through...

The Loss of a Mother
If you have lost your mother, this day could prove to be overwhelming, so be gentle on yourself. Do something positive, and perhaps choose an activity that will connect you - be comforted by looking at photographs of her, revisiting places you know she loved, spraying some of her favourite perfume, or listening to significant pieces of music, to relive those special memories. You may find this upsetting at first, but it will allow you to feel her presence, and as time goes on, it could become your own ritual. To honour her memory, plant a living memorial in the form of a tree or rose bush. You may still want to buy a Mother's Day card, to celebrate this day in your own unique way. She may not be here - but is still very much your mum.

The Loss of a Child
The death of a child is a loss like no other. If you feel yourself struggling during this significant day, light a candle in their memory, which could make you feel especially close to your child at this time. You may feel anger, sadness, or guilt, because they died before you. These emotions are very common with grief - don't try to suppress them. No matter how long since your loss, if you are still suffering, consider joining a bereavement group which could help you to feel understood, and give you hope, that if others can survive their loss - so can you. In time your focus can hopefully shift away from your child's death towards remembering your child's life.

And celebrating the day...
If you are celebrating this Mother's Day with your family, relish and enjoy every single wonderful minute. If you are wanting to treat mum, try not to be influenced by the multitude of gifts on sale. Instead treat her to something far more worthwhile like breakfast in bed, an offer to clean the house, or work through that pile of ironing. Perhaps bake her a cake, and get to enjoy some quality time with her. These gestures from the heart would, I'm sure, mean far more to her. And if you know anyone who may be reminded of a heart breaking loss on this day, perhaps help ease their pain by a small act of kindness, such as offering a card, flowers, or words of encouragement, which could make a huge difference to the way they are feeling.

Life goes on, and we must embrace it. Hopefully there will be plenty to look forward to in the future, and, however you do, or don't celebrate this occasion, I wish each and every one of you a very happy Mother's Day.

For additional help, advice and support, contact:
Cruse Bereavement Care: 0844 477 9400
SANDS is a national charity which can offer you support when your baby dies during pregnancy or after. 020 7436 5881