Local mother shares emotions of celebrating Mother’s Day after losing a child

It can be a difficult holiday for people who have lost mothers or children.
As Mother's Day approaches, it can be a tough time for women and families dealing with loss.
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 7:02 PM EDT
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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - As Mother’s Day approaches, it can be a tough time for families dealing with loss.

Gaston County mother Lauren Shaw hopes sharing the tragedy of losing her daughter will make others with similar experiences feel less alone.

“Our sweet angel baby Elizabeth Ann was born last August 23rd, and she lived for 55 minutes,” Shaw said. “But it was the best 55 minutes of our lives.”

While Lauren Shaw was pregnant with her third child, she learned she would likely be stillborn or die shortly after birth.

“It was a very special moment to hear her cry, we were not expecting that,” Shaw said. “They had prepared us that she may not cry,” she said. “So that was the sweetest, most precious sound to hear her cry.”

Her two young boys got to meet their sister and the family got to say goodbye.

“During that time she knew nothing but love,” she said.

This Mother’s Day will not be what she had envisioned when she found out she was pregnant.

“You would think we would be holding our sweet new baby for this Mother’s Day, and instead we’re going to be spending the afternoon having a picnic at the cemetery with our boys to just spend some family time together,” she said.

For Lauren, it’s important to keep her daughter’s spirit alive.

It’s a focus that mental health licensed counselor Jaren Doby, with Novant Health, recommends for many parents coping with loss this Mother’s Day.

“Writing a letter to them or journaling to them in some way, making a donation to an organization or donating time in their memory, these are just ways that you can positively make sure that their memory lives on,” Doby said.

When it comes to supporting your loved ones who are grieving, Doby says you should ask before guessing.

“Make sure that you ask them simply if there is anything that they need,” he said. “If they say they don’t need anything at the time, you know how emotions run, some folks don’t want anything in that particular moment, make sure to show yourself and identify yourself as a support in the event that they need you in the future.”

Lauren hopes sharing her darkest day.... will bring light to others.

““Just know that you’re not alone,” she said. “It’s good to just keep her memory alive by talking about her and honoring her through sharing her story, in hopes that it will help another family going through something similar.”

Doby also recommends parents consider taking a break from social media if Mother’s Day posts may be upsetting to read this Sunday, and give themselves the grace to feel the emotions they’re feeling.