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Mother's Day has another side for loss survivors

By Leanne Italie

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 29 2014 9:23 a.m. MDT

"It's difficult for my family to understand because none of them have struggled with infertility. They're supportive, but they still just don't really get it," she said. "You think about it every single day."

For nearly 20 years, "Motherless Daughters" groups around the country have been getting together the day before Mother's Day, Edelman said. They call it Motherless Daughters Day as a way to honor their mothers and provide women a place of comfort and community during the holiday weekend.

Luncheons this year are scheduled for New Orleans, Detroit, Virginia Beach, Va., and Orange County, Calif., among others that can be found on Edelman's website, Hopeedelman.com.

She has partnered this year with the Los Angeles group to turn the luncheon there into a daylong conference with workshops and speakers, including Cheryl Strayed.

Strayed's best-selling memoir, "Wild," chronicles the undoing of her family life after her mother died when she was 22 and her adventure four years later hiking more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone.

While coping with loss can be difficult at any age — 1 in 9 Americans lose a parent before they're 20 — the first milestones just after can be the most difficult, for mothers, daughters, sons and fathers.

"I'll never forget that first year and trying to crawl out of bed," McCormick said. "They actually threw a wedding shower for my older sister on Mother's Day and I remember showing up late. My hair was crazy a mess. I probably didn't have on matching clothes, and I just sat there stunned and numb. I didn't know how to react or what to do and later there was criticism that I was snobby. People just don't understand."

Edelman has heard similar feelings from the numerous women she has interviewed and many others who have reached out to her after reading her book.

"The first Mother's Day is inevitably a painful experience, sometimes a soul-searching experience, too, because it reminds them of their own mortality," she said. "And if they don't have children of their own it may leave them with no culturally sanctioned way to commemorate the day."

Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie

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