I didn't know any of these national or international things people did to raise awareness for the loss of a child until I actually lost children.
I think that's pretty normal for everyone--no one really knows about things like this unless it happens to them or someone close to them.
I've been thinking about this day this week, wondering how I would announce it to someone.
I started off thinking, You can't really smile and tell people "Happy International Bereaved Mother's Day!"; especially not to a mother who has lost a child because it's not really a "happy celebration".
And then I thought I'd look at it in a different light and at a different angle.
I've done a lot of hard things in my life.
I've made too many mistakes to count that I sometimes wish I never made.
I lost my grandfather shockingly and suddenly in 3rd grade to pneumonia.
I lost my "gammie" to a rare disease at age 10, after watching her suffer for a year while losing the ability to do things due to this disease.
She was so full of life which made it especially hard to witness.
Her death wasn't a shock, but, because she had always been there my whole life since we lived in the same town and she was my teacher in so many ways other than just violin, it was and still is sometimes really hard.
I've had two painful DVTs (blood clots) that I'm lucky to have caught before anything broke off and caused something even worse.
I've been pregnant four times, having to administer shots to myself that "burn" (same shots that are to treat a DVT) because of previously stated clots every day of the pregnancy and 8 weeks following full term...in my stretching and then deflating belly.
Not to mention pregnancy on its own without the clotting factor is still extremely difficult for me as I get really sick...like practically bedridden, haven't showered in days, good luck getting me out of the house, yeah right I'm not cleaning or cooking, every weird smell makes me puke...sick, that sometimes lasts the whole pregnancy (I feel a bit like a drug addict when I'm pregnant--popping nausea pills and taking shots all the time).
And, I get horrible bear claw stretch marks which leave emotional scars long after pregnancy.
Not to mention birth...twice...once to stillborn twins.
The hardest thing I've ever had to deal with in my life (so far) is the second birth--the death my twin girls.
But, every single one of those "hard things" has taught me something.
I experienced things that I know I wouldn't have experienced with any other trial, and I've learned things I know I wouldn't have otherwise.
I know I've become the person I am today because of those experiences and lessons learned.
I have had countless wonderful spiritual experiences tied to my loss of the girls--right after I lost them up until now.
I count each experience as a moment of tremendous growth, and as a tender mercy from the Lord.
Therefore, because of that, you are welcome to smile at me, and tell me "Happy International Bereaved Mother's Day" because I am happy.
I'm happy to have experienced what I have with my girls.
I'm happy because I know I will get to see my girls again as long as I do what I know to be right.
I'm happy because I'm blessed to have four beautiful children (I don't have to physically see this one to already know he or she is beautiful).
I'm happy because I married a great man who puts up with me as I go through so many emotional ups, downs, crazies and plateaus (thank you, hormones).
I'm happy because I have great family members and friends who put up with the same emotional roller coaster (and lack of communication, sometimes) and love me anyway.
I'm happy because I know that my girls are never too far away, cheering me on.
"You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, 'No one understands. No one knows.' No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor--literally run to us--and strengthen us." --David A. Bednar