By Clara Hinton –

When child-loss occurs, a mother goes through a difficult time of emotional turmoil and questioning. “Am I still a mother?” “Does my child still have a birthday each year, or does time stand still?” “Can the mother/child relationship continue to grow, or am I now an ‘unfinished mother’?”

Losing a child often places a mother on a road that begins a lonelier journey than ever expected-one that can never really be explained. There was a beginning, but with the death of the child, there is no middle and no end. Everything seems so unfinished. Hopes and dreams were stopped far too soon. Joy was snatched away so suddenly. A mother is left with empty arms and an empty heart. Nothing can ever be complete when a child’s life ends.

When the death of a child occurs, a mother may suddenly feel inadequate and incomplete. She wears a new name. She may feel an “unfinished mother,” never being able to see the rest of the picture. She will never be able to watch her child mature into a young adult. She will never be able to see all the pieces fit together. The picture will always have part of the scenery missing. It is so painful to be an unfinished mother! Child loss makes everything seem so empty and incomplete.

There will come a critical point in this journey of grief when a mother must reach deep into her inner resources and make a conscious decision to accept herself just as she is-a mother whose heart has been touched by the pain and grief of child-loss. Only then can she start to put together some of the broken pieces and begin to feel like there will be a day when she will feel more like a complete mother than an unfinished mother.

A mother is never “unfinished.” No matter how brief her time was with her child, the bond of love between mother and child was complete. A mother’s love for her child is unending. Dreams may shatter and circumstances may change, but a mother’s love remains strong. As a mother travels the path to healing, it is important for her to remind herself often that she is a mother forever. Her motherhood did not stop when her child died. This understanding of motherhood releases the feelings of guilt and failure and allows a mother to begin to see herself as a whole person again-a complete mother.

A mother is never an “unfinished mother.” A mother’s love runs far too deep for that!

While experiencing the blessing of living children, Clara has also felt the pain of losing six children due to miscarriage, and has delivered one stillborn son.  Knowing the grief of child loss first-hand prompted Clara to write a book, Silent Grief, as well as begin a grief support website,, for parents seeking support while going through the pain of loss. Contact Clara at or visit the Silent Grief website.

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Monica Novak

Monica Novak became a bereaved mother in 1995 with the stillbirth of her daughter Miranda, learning firsthand the devastation of saying goodbye to a much-loved, much-wanted baby before having the chance to say hello. Three weeks later, she began a journey towards healing when she attended her first Share support group meeting. Along the way, she and six other bereaved mothers formed a close bond that carried them through the grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death, as well as the challenges of subsequent pregnancy and infertility. Having been at the opposite ends of grief and joy; despair and hope; indifference and compassion; fear and peace-sometimes simultaneously-she has captured these emotions and the story of her journey in a highly-praised new memoir titled The Good Grief Club. Monica writes and speaks on the subject of pregnancy loss and infant death and is involved with local and national organizations that provide support to families and caregivers. She is a member of the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance (PLIDA). Her mission is to bring comfort and hope to bereaved parents worldwide and to educate and promote awareness to the physicians, nurses, clergy, counselors, family, and friends of every mother or father who has or ever will be told that their baby has no heartbeat or that nothing more can be done. The mother of three daughters, Monica lives in the Chicago area with her husband, children, and a rat terrier named Sami. For more information, please visit or e-mail Monica at Monica appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” discussing ”Miscarriage and Infant Loss.” To hear Monica being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, go to the following link:

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