Although Mother’s Day is usually a time of celebration, for those who have lost a child the day can be filled with pain. Unfortunately, there is no real way of avoiding Mother’s Day. The stores are filled with gifts and advertisements on the radio and in the news bombard us for weeks prior to the holiday. Reminders are everywhere and this sensory overload of Mother’s Day media can intensify new grief and or cause old grief to resurface. So how do you care for yourself as a mother, or someone who loves a mother? Here are some ideas:

Be proactive—plan ahead for the day
Recognize potential painful situations–Restaurants, for example, may be a source of discomfort. They may ask if you are a mother or a father in order to give you a complimentary item. Be prepared for this question so you are not taken off-guard.
Spend time with friends and family members who understand your situation.
Allow yourself space to be sad but also to share happy memories
You don’t need to “be strong” on this day or try to minimize the loss by counting your other blessings. You are allowed to grieve, so give yourself permission.
Do something in honor of your child’s memory: Give a donation to a charity. Light a candle at church. Visit the gravesite. Plant a living memorial for your child in the form of a tree or rose bush.
Many moms find that doing something special for their missing child (whether in private or with family) gives them the ability to make it through the rest of the day because they know they haven’t “forgotten” their absent child.
Having an “escape plan” if you just can’t hold it together is also a wise idea. Letting your spouse or a close friend know about your plan allows you to use it quietly if needed while they deal with any explanations that are needed.
Do something to care for yourself-go away for the weekend, spend time being pampered with a massage, manicure or whatever feels like pampering to you.
Everyone grieves differently so everyone will cope differently. Think about what will work for you to get through what could be a difficult day

Remember you will always love your child and you will always be a mother.