Being kind to myself on Mother’s Day

By Jodi Ladhams, mother supported by Very Special Kids

Mother’s Day in my family was never made a fuss of. We gave our own mum a token gift because we felt that society obliged us to. We would often organise a day out, my sister and brother and I, just to mingle as a family. It was, I guess, a silent appreciation of our mum and the family she created.

I remember the day that I was pushing a pram around with my daughter Ruby inside, in a rural department store. I knew she was going to die. It was April and the Mother’s Day paraphernalia littered the shelves and card stands. I hadn’t even thought about Mother’s Day until this moment. Two realisations hit me there and then- that I am a mother, and that on my first Mother’s Day I will inevitably be childless.

Now, Mother’s Day really is all about my two daughters, Audrey and Eve. The ones who love to make special cards and hide the things they’ve made with ferocious excitement under the bed or somewhere I am told not to look. The ones who make plans once they get wind of the date edging nearer. For me, it is all about them.

I sometimes allow myself to indulge in the ‘what ifs’ – imagining that Ruby were here.  What kind of card would she make? What would she and her sisters be organising to celebrate for Mother’s Day? But mostly I am kinder to myself and leave it be.

Mother’s Day without Ruby is just that. I cannot imagine it any other way. It will always bring with it the inevitable reminder that she is missing. It will also, in some ways, confirm her existence- and the fact that I will forever be the mother of three precious children.