Mother’s Day is never the same after you lose a baby.
That very first one—when you’re supposed to have a baby in your arms, or at least still be pregnant—is the worst.
You feel an emptiness that can’t be described. What is meant to be a day of celebration becomes a day of deep mourning. Another one, in a seemingly endless season of mourning where the days are strung together with tears and a profound sadness that no one seems to understand, or even see.
Babies are directly in your line of vision. Except for your baby.
Your baby can no longer be seen or felt. Your baby is the baby who’s gone; the baby who died.
You’re a mother without her child.
And the cruelty of life on this earth is never more evident.
But even after time passes and the open wounds have turned to scars. Even after the grief has settled and fades into the background of everyday life. Even when and if you’ve made peace with your loss. Or when and if you have living children.
Even then, Mother’s Day is never the same.
Because there’s a tension between life and loss. An awareness of deep pain that can’t be forgotten or ignored.
You see empty arms and empty wombs and empty eyes—but for the tears that spring to the corners of them. You see nothing where there should be something. You see mothers who’ve been emptied by loss. And you never really stop seeing them.
They are everywhere, though often hidden in plain sight. Visible only to the sharp eyes of other mothers who know the heartache of losing a baby.
Mother’s Day is never the same after losing a baby.
No matter how long it’s been.
Because the pain is always present. Even if it’s not necessarily yours, it’s SOMEONE’s.
And you never forget that.
This post originally appeared here. Jenny Albers is the founder of the Still Loved community and author of Courageously Expecting. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.