The First Sunday of May: International Bereaved Mother’s Day

An important day for the mums who have lost their little ones.
The First Sunday of May: International Bereaved Mother’s Day

When April hits, marketers get to work. We’re a month away from Mother’s Day and so, naturally, the promotional content starts pouring onto social media, our TV screens, our targeted ads (when the paid ads specialists get it all wrong), and on every billboard we drive past on our way to work.

Mother’s Day can be a beautiful day for some, but it can also be an extremely challenging time for others. While society is slowly getting better at acknowledging those who have lost their mum over the years, we aren’t quite where we should be when it comes to those who have lost a child (or multiple children).

What is International Bereaved Mother’s Day?

International Bereaved Mother’s Day occurs on the first Sunday of May, every year. It’s a day that honours mothers who have experienced misscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or any type of pregnancy and infant loss. Yes, Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day is also a thing – but that’s more a day of remembrance for the little ones who have died, rather than a day to honour the mothers of those children.

How did the day come about?

International Bereaved Mother’s Day hasn’t been around for as long as you might think. In fact, it’s a relatively new calendar date, brought to life (pardon the irony) in 2010 by a woman named Carly Marie Dudley.

Carly had given birth to a stillborn son, Christian, and wanted to find a way to recognise those who had lost children and ensure they knew they weren’t alone. She has dedicated International Bereaved Mother’s Day to every mother who has felt overlooked on traditional Mother’s Day. A beautiful initiative, we think.

“In 2010, I felt drawn to create International Bereaved Mother’s Day to help heal hurting mother(s’) hearts. International Bereaved Mother’s Day is intended to be a temporary movement. It is a heart-centred attempt at healing the official Mother’s Day for all mothers. I believe that we can do this and that sometime in the near future there will be no need for this day at all because all mothers will be recognized, loved, supported, and celebrated”, Carly so eloquently put it.

When is International Bereaved Mother’s Day?

International Bereaved Mother’s Day is recognised on the first Sunday of May, every year; one week before Mother’s Day (which is traditionally held on the second Sunday of May).

How can I recognise the day?

There are a few ways you can commemorate International Bereaved Mother’s Day – whether you’re the bereaved, or you’re wanting to support someone who is grieving.

If you’re wanting to support a loved one, we’d recommend you:

  • Give them a call or send them a text on the day to check in. Ask them how they’re going, and consider inviting them out for a walk, a coffee, or for lunch.
  • Donate to an organisation dedicated to miscarriage, early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or SIDS. We’d recommend checking out Pink Elephants and Red Nose Australia, but always remember to do your research first!
  • Host a morning tea or afternoon tea – we don’t discriminate between mornings and afternoons! If they feel comfortable doing so, invite your loved one to speak about their experience with pregnancy and/or infant loss. This can be an impactful way to raise awareness and donations for organisations in need.

If you’re wanting to find a way to raise awareness and commemorate the day to recognise your own loss, we’d recommend you:

  • Consider points two and three, mentioned in the section above.
  • Do a quick Google search to discover International Bereaved Mother’s Day events near you, and attend them (or just attend one, if you feel up to it).
  • Make plans with friends, family members or colleagues who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant loss.
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, reach out to a podcast, digital magazine or TV channel to share your experience. And if you aren’t quite ready for that, you could share your story via your own social media channels. While this is so incredibly challenging (and gosh, we definitely don’t expect you to do this!), sharing your story can be an incredible way to raise awareness and help other parents feel a little less alone. You might even find the experience cathartic.

Wrap up

There are so many ways you can recognise International Bereaved Mother’s Day. What’s most important is that you do – at least – recognise it. We have a long way to go in ensuring all mother’s feel supported during May.

If you have been touched by miscarriage, early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or SIDS and you'd like to recognise a dedicated charity in your Will, we've made it easy to leave a bequest in just a couple of clicks. Start today at

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