Sometimes as mums, I believe we feel as though we should always be in control.  No matter what is going on in our hearts or minds or what’s happening around us, it’s kind of assumed that we should be able to keep it together.

When your child is throwing an almighty tantrum in the supermarket aisle, we’re supposed to speak calmly, get down to their level and handle the situation.  When you have the flu and your children are vomiting, we should find the Codrals and ‘soldier on’ and if we’re feeling sad, we really need to get it together lest we be tagged with ‘it must be that time of the month’.

Well I say phooey to that – I say that today I’m feeling sad and I’m going to embrace it.  Acknowledge why I’m feeling sad and ask for a little mind space to explore the feelings that go with being sad.  Because in our world of rush, rush, rush and chin up and being the oh so empowered mum, I sometimes forget to validate how I’m feeling.

There is a week in August where each year I ebb and flow from the happiness of my daughter’s birthday to the sadness of the anniversary of my son’s death 6 days later.  Most of you know my story and the story of my second son Noah who died the night we bought our newborn daughter home so I won’t go into the detail here.  But to lose a child is I believe the deepest sadness I will ever know and in accepting the sadness, I feel as though it validates him and the fact that the love I have for him will never be diminished just because he is not here for me to care for.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death and it will be hard and sad and tough. I will cry and my other children will hug me tight and say “We know mum, we wish Noah was here too”.  And in embracing the sadness, we will momentarily be one tight little hug full of elbows and knees.  And then we’ll smile.  I’ll tell them a story of something funny that he used to do … and my oldest son will add another of his own.  And then we’ll all say goodbye, pile into the car and have dinner at McDonald’s “because that’s what Noah used to love”.

I’ll go to bed and think of him reflectively.  And if I’m lucky, my dreams will be a wonderful slideshow of his life.  I’ll wake the next morning, thank him for the visit and walk to the shower.  My sadness will be remain but, having been allowed to surface as a short-term houseguest, will bid me farewell until another time.

My point in this note is simply to ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL – whether it be sad, deliriously happy or wild.  Be true to yourself and allow your feelings in. x



p.s. The image with this note is actually a painting.  I painted this in the Winter of 2008 as a reflection on the bond between a Mother and her Son.  It was important to me to show the little boy running around on the beach; Noah didn’t walk until late so never got a Summer where he could race around on the beach. In this painting, he’s doing exactly that and has just come back to mum for a quick hug! I found the process of bringing this image to life soothing and commemorative.

What do you when you’re feeling sad? How do you react? Do you think it’s good to show your feelings or do you prefer the ‘stiff upper lip’ strategy?

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  • This is so sad. I can’t begin to understand what’s going on and hope I never will. All the best as always and cherish the ones in your life


  • This month is the anniversary of my baby son’s death – and like you, it’s only days away from another child’s birth. It is important to acknowledge your sadness to your kids, and also that it is okay to still be happy at other times.


  • It’s a struggle to get it right. Sometimes I did the let it all hang out approach and I’ve also tried the stiff upper lip option. Both work for me


  • We went through a stage where elderly would pass away and a few months later a relative had a new baby. So we went through the grieving process and a few months later a combination of still grieving and the excitement of a new baby in the family. At one stage that happened twice within a year. A close friend’s Dad died 2 months after his 80th birthday during that time too. I was trying to help everybody but had to step back and think about looking after myself to have the strength to care for them too.


  • Depends on their age. If they’re too young to understand, ill act like nothing is wrong till they’re in bed and then I’ll have my breakdown. If they’re older and might understand more, I might tell them I sad and why.


  • When I feel sad I try and get some time out for a little bit, I let myself be sad and tell my child it is ok to feel sad. for my child to learn all different emotions.


  • I haven’t come across your original story about the loss of your son, after reading this, I cross my fingers I will come across it. Such a terrible event, the loss of a child :,(


  • Learning about emotions is often over looked when thinking of educating children.


  • I agree totally! We need our kids to know that it is ok to be sad, just as it is ok to be happy, excited etc…


  • The first thing I noticed was the beautiful image. The painting is striking and just beautiful. We absolutely must take time to feel and reflect. I always share with my son particular dates that are difficult for me and why they are so. I want him to understand it’s okay to be sad, and to remember. My niece was stillborn 20 years ago and we still talk about it on the anniversary, I always ring my sister, and we generally place something on her grave. My Dad died the same year, on Christmas Eve. And 20 years on, we all go to the cemetery at the time of his passing just to reflect and be together. My son understands and has been coming with me to his grave for the past few years. We also talk about him to keep the memories fresh and alive. I never know how I’m going to feel on a particular anniversary, so I just let the memories and the mood take me wherever. My family understands that.


  • Thankyou for sharing your experience Nikki I’m sure it gives comfort to many grieving a loved one. As you mentioned, in our busy lives we forget to breathe and “feel”. I’m a practitioner of Emotional Freedom Technique (AKA tapping or EFT), so I know how important it is to have a strategy to release the stress, or the emotions will present in the physical body if unattended. Be kind to yourself. Vikki (www.moremojo.com.au)


  • Thank you Nikki for the courage to tell your story.


  • This is such a beautiful painting and full of soul and emotion.


  • I had no idea about Noah Nikki! I cried when I read this article. I think losing a child would be the most gut wrenching thing parents would ever have to go through. My heart goes out to you and your family.
    love from Robyn a regular lover of Mom x x


  • I think I will create a “hug full of elbows and knees” with my children of all sizes tonight & remember how blessed I am.
    Your painting is beautifully raw, thankyou for sharing it. I studied Art Therapy for 2 years & the power of expression is just that, powerful.

    Love & light to you & yours.


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