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What does motherhood mean to you?

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For many of us Mother’s Day is one of those diary dates filled with mixed emotions. For lots of mums there’ll be breakfast in bed, lovely cuddles and family time; perhaps there will be tinges of sadness too for those who have lost their mother, but they can look back on happy times spent together or forge new traditions with their child.

Less familiar to the world at large, but weighing heavy on the minds of the families we work with, is the prospect of Mother’s Day to mums and dads who are caring for a seriously ill child; those who have a child who has died or those who have lost a baby during pregnancy.  For those living with loss, the day often feels like a painful reminder of what’s gone, and for those caring for a seriously ill child, thoughts turn to the length of time they’ll have together.

Happy or sad, Mother’s Day isn’t a milestone that we wanted to let pass without marking. Importantly, we want families to know you are not alone, however you’re feeling.

This Mother’s Day, we asked some mums involved with Together for Short Lives what motherhood means to them. We hope you’ll find their responses as moving as we did.

Michelle and her son Keir
Michelle and her son Keir

Mum, Michelle said:

“My children are without doubt my proudest achievement. They are brave, strong and kind. They have taught me so much.

Keir is gone and we miss and think about him every single minute of every single day – not just on his anniversary or his birthday. It makes me so sad to know that I will meet so many people in the time to come who will never have the privilege of knowing our fantastic son. He came into the world and made it a better place for all who knew him. We couldn’t make him better but he made us better. Made me better.

Keir is my hero. Keir is my son.”

Mum, Hayley said:

“My Mother’s Day is spent every year with my children who mean the world to me and I smile and feel thankful that Holly had made it to another’s Mother’s Day with me. Inside though I hide the fear and unbelievable sadness knowing that this could be our last Mother’s Day together as with our journey tomorrow is never promised.

So if I could wish for one thing for Mother’s Day it would not be to change Holly in any way as I think she’s perfect just the way she is, but I would wish that our mother and daughter team could stay together forever and never be separated. Deep down I know that my wishes are never going to become the reality so I go back to locking those thoughts in my little secret box and carry on enjoying every single second of being the best mum I can be to my beautiful Holly.”

Read Holly’s Mother’s Day family story here.

It hasn’t changed anything. I’m still a mother, and I’ll always be his mum.


Mum Arti said:

“I always wanted to be a mother, it meant the world to me. A mother gives love and care through happiness and sadness. Every step her child takes, she will always be there. I would have given my life for my child.

For me, Sean Toto’s death at 14 weeks didn’t mark the end of motherhood. It’s more painful but it hasn’t changed anything. I’m still a mother, and I’ll always be his mum.

Mother’s Day has changed for me though. When I see Mother’s Day cards, and flowers in the shops I get upset, because I never had that. It’s not that I want flowers, they just die, but it gets to me that I don’t have anybody to spend that day with. On the day itself I often just stay at home and think about Sean Toto, looking at his photos.

For me, I’m still a mother, and always will be. Motherhood lasts a lifetime, and nobody can take that from me.”

Jackie's children
Jackie's children

Mum, Jackie said:

“On Mother’s Day I’m thankful my children are with me and I give them an extra hug for the mums who have lost their children as I know that could be me in the future.”

I have incredible memories.


Mum, Jane said:

“Quite simply, motherhood means that I have been able to spend time with the two most amazing boys – Connor and Callum.  We smiled, we cried and I have incredible memories now that Callum has passed. So proud to always be known as Callum’s Mum.”

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