Lanise Shortell serves her local community as a perinatal and pediatric hospice nurse in Atlanta, Georgia. She facilitates family centered grief groups and speaks internationally to spiritual leaders on the importance of family grief support to enhance communities around the world. In her latest blog written for ICPCN, Lanise looks at the ‘bone deep’ grief experienced by mothers who have buried a child and ways in which we can support them without resorting to clichéd responses.
She writes, “Our attempts in caring for this unique population leave grieving mothers feeling misunderstood and distressingly isolated.”
Grieving mothers are our experts
She goes on to say, “We learn to comfort grieving moms best from grieving moms. Grieving mothers are our experts. As Mother’s Day approaches, consider yielding to and implementing the guidance below. The smallest gestures have the most impact in supporting a community of women that is often unseen.”
A mother who lost her six-year-old son to a rare brain tumour tells us to avoid asking bereaved mothers how they are doing. She says, “Rest assured, grieving moms will not be doing well on Mother’s Day. Send a text, a card, or make a phone call to acknowledge the heaviness of the day. Encouraging words help us feel less hidden.”
Lanise writes that child loss is a ‘journey without guideposts but says that our communities can be safe havens for grieving moms by developing listening skills, empathy, and an inclusive mindset. She encourages the readers to consider a mom that is shouldering grief this season and extend a hand of compassion.
Read the full blog on the ICPCN website.