Every Other’s Day, we invite our incredible community to share their stories, poems, photos, art – anything, designed to act as a little creative stick in the sand for anybody who needs a little support. It makes us cry every time, but those really lovely tears, where you just want to give everybody a hug. You’re welcome to join in on Instagram too – just tag us @othersday or use #othersday and we’ll see your post.
I’m estranged from my Mum, and Mother’s Day lands on the date that four years ago we lost my beautiful Grandma too. Here’s a poem our children wrote and recorded to be played at her funeral. No, you’re crying!!! We plan to have afternoon tea and I shall raise a glass to her, my favourite hello and my hardest goodbye.
My mother must have, early on, cared for me the way I care for my daughter. I worry that I might be genetically fated to treat my perfect child the way my mother treated me. I come from a long line of bad mothers.
Mine stopped loving me at some point, pitted me against her. She kidnapped my brother, fled the country. Away from me, didn’t ask me to come, tore a rip between us and stopped us mending it. She rewarded loyalty with designer clothes, punished any defence of my father by ignoring me, showered my brother in gifts while I got nothing. I never cared about the things.
She is a narcissist. She made me feel worthless before I was in double digits. She made me feel unloved, unlovable, and spare. She blamed me for the breakdown of her marriage to my father, a union that ended when I was 5. I don’t know how a mother does that. It took me three decades to understand that what she put me through was emotional abuse.
This year is the first year I haven’t mentally blocked out Mother’s Day. I tell my daughter I love her so many times a day it’s like a tic, and this year is the first I think she understands what that means. Having a baby made me terrified I would repeat the past, and also determined not to. For so many years there was no mother, and now there is one: me. And I’ll be the best fucking mother to this child that it’s possible to be. My daughter will never know what it’s like to look for your mother and see a blank space. She will only know love.
On Mother’s Day 1977 my Dad died I remember being at home unsuccessfully making mum a cake not realizing that after a four day illness he wasn’t coming home, I was 14. From then on I cared for mum it was a toxic relationship that almost destroyed me. I became estranged from every other family member as they ran for the hills for fear of having to be involved or help me. I resented her but I stuck by her . She passed in 2019 and everything I expected , relief, the end, my time, didn’t happen. The loss was unbearable and although my entire life I my relationship with my mother had sucked the life from me I loved her, deeply loved her. I have ticked the boxes today and visited their resting place with flowers and wept all day because I too am a mum and tomorrow will be spent with my only child, my son, the most beautiful soul and kind man I know. Life isn’t easy, our parents are not always what we would choose but if you have lost them or are estranged from them and have children of your own remember they are part of you and without your parents they would not be here. Tomorrow I will think of all the lovely mums that aren’t here, all the mums we can’t be with and all the women who have been a mum figure to us by choice rather than genetics.
Well I lost my mum in 2003 to meningitis. In fact she moved to New Zealand (where she was from) when I was eight or nine, so ever since I remember, Mother’s Day has been a weird one for me. It tends to remind me of what I don’t have. I am dreading it this year even more so because I experienced a miscarriage in late December and negotiating this without my mum was a double blow.
I think social media has created this strange pressure to make an external show of telling everyone else about your love for someone, and that’s lovely and it should all be celebrated, but it’s also really overwhelming when you have lost.
I lost my mum two weeks ago, prior to that she suffered from dementia for ten years. I’ve had ten years of dreading Mother’s Day because I hated seeing her like that and resenting all the “normal” families. She was the most amazing woman. Kindest person you’d ever meet with the biggest heart. She spent her life looking after and caring for other people for her to end up with dementia. I haven’t been able to see her over the past year due to lockdown as she was in a home, except for one window visit for her birthday. She died in a hospice two weeks ago where me and my sister could say goodbye to her. I feel very lucky to have had such a woman as my mum, but so jealous and heartbroken I lost her twice
This will be my first Other’s day. My first baby was due on the 3rd March 2021 and I’d like to think by now I’d have my baby in my arms. I took a positive test on fathers days, 21st June 2020 and lost our baby on the 2nd August 2020. I hate using the word lost, like I’d missed placed my embryo like he or she was a set of keys, and it insinuates that I was careless. I looked after my unborn child the best I could, I ate as well as I could around the morning sickness, stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine. And followed all the nhs food advice. And yet my baby still died.
I’d never had a miscarriage before and didn’t really know anyone who had, why does no one talk about it? Although we were very aware of the stats around miscarriage and made a point of saying “it’s early days” (as if that made a difference, FYI. It doesn’t) when we told our parents but no amount of rational thinking towards it or level headedness prepares you for when it actually happens to you.
We had only told our immediate family and a few close friends straight away, we wanted to try see people face to face with our news but covid made that hard so we ended up telling alot of close friends that our baby existed after they had died.
This was a huge regret and one I didn’t want to repeat. I could go into the detailed impact covid had on our miscarriage, being made to wait till 12 weeks for a scan and having an operation alone etc. But where those things definitely didn’t make it any easier losing a child at any point is never going to be easy. It certainly wasn’t for us and it won’t be for the many who have to go through it at any stage in life. Grief does not fall onto a one size fits all spectrum, no one persons grief is easier or harder than another’s. You may have your own spectrum but it cannot be compared to someone else’s.
Mine is a story which you could say has a happy ending, because if you are reading this on other’s day 2021, I am now exactly 21 weeks pregnant with baby number two and crossing absolutely everything that we get to take this one home with us. This baby doesn’t fill the hole in our life and hearts of our first, it’s hard to comprehend that this little one wouldn’t exist at all if it wasn’t for that loss. But we are grateful, happy and learning how to stem the worry.
This will actually be our only public announcement of any of this. We decided against posting on social media as I’m very aware of the pain pregnancy announcements can have to so many. So we chose to share our news on a personal level.
Before I go I’m just going to say one more thing. If you’ve been through this, or sadly do in future, all I can say is talk to people, and feel all the feelings, you don’t have to be positive or look on the bright side. One day you will naturally feel better, in your own time but until then try your best to ignore the toxic positivity. Usually starts with the word “atleast” or are instructional in form. These things will be said from a good place but they hurt like he’ll because people just don’t realise its ok that they don’t know what to say. Because there is nothing anyone can say or do to make it better. We just need love, understanding and an ear. It’s shit, you’re not alone and can I get you a tea are probably the only things we want to hear.
So here’s to you, whoever you are, today is your day and you are awesome!
Women are complex. I’ve cradled women who have just escaped the darkest realms of physical pain after abortions, or their first bereavement, having experienced death’s hands for the first time, or from the realms of their own mind. One of them being my own mum. As a young girl, I watched her destroy herself. A heady mix of alcoholism, psychosis, depressive episodes, disordered eating, disassociation, disappointment, disillusionment with the world, the highs and the lows. I’m grateful for this as it gave me a deep empathy, understanding and love for women. No matter how flawed.
Mum, when you left this realm, the growth of me and my sister Laura would have seemed incomprehensible. We have conversations now. Instead of just an entanglement of pulling hair, “stupid bitch” and sisterly rivalry. Just this morning, we had a powerful conversation. I told her how the straight community intimidates me. She told me the LGBTQIA+ community intimates her. So we spoke. A discussion. Educating one another. Sisters, soldiers, separate.
So, to my mum, who won’t see this but is beyond proud of me. Believes I am the exact, right person to launch SISTERHOOD ( @sisterhoodcreativecommunity ) and step into my power. Even when I don’t. Who thinks I’m the best thing since sliced bread, Warbies, that I’d pick up from the corner shop, along with a packet of 40 cigs, for her, on a Monday morning when I should have been at school. Skimming stones on the concrete slabbed Blackley kerbs, gap-toothed, aged 10, impressionable, innocent. Confused at the misery cobalt grey cloud that hung over you. And, forever in your shadow, wanting to make it right.
Mum, I forgive you.