Am I Still a Mother?

May 10, 2012
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A Special Mother’s Day Message by Sherokee Ilse


Some people may find it strange that those who have had a child die want to be recognized on Mother’s Day, too. Mother’s Day is a special day of remembering the love of our own mother, grandmother or special women in our lives, but also shared with the reminders of how amazing it is to also be a Mother.

For many of us, being the mother of a beloved child who has died is complicated –whether at 6 weeks or 9 months into the pregnancy or if we are the mother of a child who died in infancy or even a failed adoption.   For those who only have children in heaven, the question is especially haunting on Mothers Day….. Am I really a mother?  And for those who have some living children and some who have died, the question is am I a mother of all my children or only the ones who live.

A mother is a mother. Period.  When you carry a child in your heart, prepare to have them in your home, or love them and the dreams for your shared future, your motherhood is confirmed.  Mother’s Day is bittersweet then for those who have felt the ultimate in motherhood – burying and saying goodbye to their precious one.  Of course, Mother’s Day becomes challenging.  We want to be honored for the mother that we are, of all the children we hold dear.  Let there be no doubt!  You ARE a Mother!

The most thoughtful thing others can do on Mother’s Day is join in remembering those children in heaven as well as those on earth. It’s not easy for those who haven’t experienced the loss of a child to know just how to do this and so most don’t. Those who do,often make well-meaning but sometimes hurtful comments without even realizing it. And yet when nothing is said the silence is deafening.

If you know someone who has had a baby die to miscarriage or stillbirth or a child of any age – please remember them on this Mother’s Day. I thought offering suggestions on how to do this might be useful.  One fabulous way to honor these special Mothers is to purchase a Star in their Honor (see below) and support ongoing research & education.

Click here for Do’s and Don’ts for Friends and Families at holiday times and on ordinary days. 

I suggest that you think before you speak. If you have never experienced the same kind of pain, don’t act like you understand, because I promise, you have no idea.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, whether your child is on Earth or in Heaven.



Sherokee Ilse is a mother of two living children and three who live in her heart and heaven…Marama (miscarried), Brennan (Full term baby died prior to birth), and Bryna (ectopic pregnancy).   She is the author of the self-help book, Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death and author/co-author of 16 other books and booklets on loss.  As an international speaker, trainer, board member and parent advocate, she has worked to change paradigms to empower and support bereaved families as well as inspire and support careproviders.  Sherokee is a Star Legacy Foundation Board Member, the co-founder of Loss Doulas International and president of Babies Remembered.


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