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10 ways to help support a bereaved mum

Baby loss charity Sands is here for bereaved families this Mother’s Day 

As Mother’s Day approaches, the UK’s leading pregnancy and baby loss charity Sands, is making sure any bereaved mums, their partners and other family members can find support if they need this. 

Family celebrations, such as Mother’s Day, can be an extremely difficult time for anyone who has been affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby. With so much focus on family, children and socialising, those living with loss can feel even more isolated and alone in their grief. 

10 ways to help support a bereaved mum around Mother’s Day 

  1. Say something (anything!) rather than nothing. 
  2. Acknowledge their baby.
  3. Say their baby's name. 
  4. Send a really simple message such as 'I'm thinking of you and ... today'.  
  5. Ask how they are. 
  6. Reassure them that it's ok to feel how they are feeling. 
  7. Encourage them to take things at their own pace, one step at a time. 
  8. Encourage them to do what is best for them. 
  9. Offer to do an activity together - a walk, a coffee - if they would like to. 
  10. Be yourself and be genuine in whatever you say, and if you think you've said something unhelpful, just apologise and say something like 'I'm really sorry and I think I might be getting this wrong, but I'd just like you to know that I am here for you.' 

The charity is also inviting everyone to make a Mother’s Day online dedication to recognise all the wonderful mums and grandmothers in their lives. 

Sands’ Director of Bereavement Support, Jen Coates, said: “We know from bereaved families that have experienced baby loss, days like Mother’s Day can be full of mixed emotions. We want everyone to know we are here if they need support, but also that anyone can make a difference by reaching out to someone they know who may be struggling at this time of year.  

“At Sands, we understand that some people find it difficult to know what to say to someone affected by pregnancy or baby loss. We’d like to remind everyone that however recently or long-ago someone’s baby died, they are always a mum or dad. The saddest days can be those when that is forgotten, or not acknowledged. At times like this the simplest of words or gestures, can make a real difference. For parents, self-care and taking time to grieve or remember your baby in the way that feels right for you is important.” 

picture of Mothers Day Sands baby loss support

Parents talk about how they remember their babies 

Here at Sands, we want any bereaved families feeling in need of emotional support around Mother’s Day to know they are not alone. Sharing their experiences and talking about their babies can help some bereaved parents feel less alone. 

Hilary Grierson lost her son Hamish in 2012 and now volunteers with her local Sands support group in north-east London.

Hilary said: “Mother’s Day is an unavoidable event each year. The level of marketing is intense. For us bereaved mums, it’s just another painful reminder that we don’t have our baby here to mark the day with us. It may be the 1st year or the 21st year since our baby died but the grief remains. Many of us have learnt to mother our babies in a different way. A way we hadn’t expected motherhood to be. We mother their memory to ensure that they are not forgotten. 

“For others to acknowledge the fact we are still mothers, provides us with comfort. It means that their existence, no matter how brief, mattered! They will always be our baby. We need others to just validate our feelings as no one can heal the pain. I have found that being part of Sands and the baby loss community has helped. We hold each other up and we understand without any explanations needed. We all know we are still mothers.” 

Tara Alexis Gayle experienced a late miscarriage in April 2010 when she was five months pregnant with her son.

Tara Alexis said: “A text message from my sister five years ago, acknowledging me as a mother on Mother’s Day was the start of real transparency with friends, and family about my feelings and experience of loss.  

“Before this, I felt like Mother’s Day wasn’t for me, like I couldn’t take part, I felt like I didn’t qualify because I hadn’t had other children yet. My sister’s text showed me that this is not the case, that I am and will always be a mother to my boy, and that I deserve to participate in the day, should I want to. For me it’s been helpful to be included by others on this day, whilst also taking time to remember my boy.” 

Sands is here to support anyone affected by pregnancy or baby loss, for as long as they need this. Find out more about all the ways the charity offers bereavement support.  


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