The Feigned Calmness of the Broken-Hearted Mother

She looks calm –

From the outside, the broken-hearted mother looks like any other mother.

Like any other woman.

But do not let appearances fool you.

She is like a swan –

The broken-hearted mother may look placid, calm, serene, but underneath she is working hard, so very hard: to keep afloat, to keep going.

Usually against the tide.

She is exhausted,

The broken-hearted mother.

Paddling against the tide will wear you out. Sooner or later.

So while she appears calm – on the outside

A storm rages within.

Finding strength to get up every day, carry on, find joy in life, to move forward, to not let tragedy define you in a negative way, to not be bitter.

Life is unfair, so very unfair.

She might look calm –

The empty-armed mother

From the outside, well kempt, hair done, time to get things done.

Calmness is coping. Coping is calmness: ‘it is what it is’, as much as you wish it was otherwise, you know that cannot be.

She wishes she did not have to be calm –

On the outside.

For life to be anything but calm.

For life to be full of caring for her baby: playing, feeds, nappies, getting up in the night.

No time to get things done. Hair a mess.

She may look calm.

But look closer.

The tell-tale sign?

The sadness in her eyes.


And then the fun began...

26 Comments on The Feigned Calmness of the Broken-Hearted Mother

  1. Rosemary
    May 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm (6 years ago)

    This poem struck such a cord for me as my son Malcolm died on 21st May 2011 of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 34. The swan image is so true although I worry sometimes that people might think that ‘I am over it’ because I am doing my best to ‘be normal and calm’ although it is such hard work especially around the anniversary and his birthday 1st of June. Writing this comment has been tough enough so I really admire your courage in setting up this blog and reaching out to other mothers in this way. Please accept my best wishes.

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 20, 2015 at 8:17 am (6 years ago)

      I’m so sorry for your loss of your son Malcolm. I understand what you mean about worrying about people thinking I am ‘over it’, when you are not at all, just trying to function. Thank you for commenting. Take care xxx

  2. thenthefunbegan
    May 19, 2015 at 7:44 pm (6 years ago)

    Ah. Beautiful and poignant Leigh. I think you express so well what so many out there must be feeling and the rest of us would never know if we passed you unawares in the street. Keep strong Xx #thetruthabout

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 20, 2015 at 8:17 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you lovely. So important to acknowledge more is going on than people often realise xx

  3. tracey at Mummyshire
    May 18, 2015 at 10:23 am (6 years ago)

    This is so moving & poignant. There is always more going on underneath than what you see on the surface.
    Beautifully written

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 19, 2015 at 1:56 pm (6 years ago)

      It really is so true. Thank you for your kind comment xxx

  4. Astrid
    May 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh wow, this is so beautiful! I am not a broken-hearted mother, but to some extent, I can relate. It is so important ot look beyond immediate appearances. #theprompt

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 18, 2015 at 8:05 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you Astrid. We never know what is going on behind the scenes, so it’s a reminder to be kind and compassionate whenever we can xxx

  5. Sara (@mumturnedmom)
    May 16, 2015 at 8:42 pm (6 years ago)

    This is heartbreaking, but also very powerful and an important reminder to look more closely at that those around us. Sending love x Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 18, 2015 at 8:08 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you lovely. Many of us are good at pretending – we have to be mindful to look beyond appearances xx

  6. sophieblovett
    May 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm (6 years ago)

    A beautiful and heartbreaking poem. It is so, so important to be kind to people. None of us really has any idea what is going on beneath the surface of each others’ realities. The swan analogy is just perfect xx

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 18, 2015 at 8:11 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you – so true, and a reminder to always be kind and compassionate xx

  7. lisaslife1970
    May 16, 2015 at 9:23 am (6 years ago)

    Eyes really are the window to the soul aren’t they? Beautiful words but I so wish you hadn’t needed to write them. Sending love x

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 16, 2015 at 11:29 am (6 years ago)

      Oh me too Lisa. Thank you xxx

  8. mummyshambles
    May 16, 2015 at 6:59 am (6 years ago)

    Heartbreaking but again, so beautifully written, Leigh!
    They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul and I agree with that…sometimes a person’s smiling but the more observant will notice that it doesn’t quite reach the eyes…
    Big hugs X

  9. Mummy Tries
    May 15, 2015 at 6:10 pm (6 years ago)

    Oh hon, this is a heart breaking read 🙁 sending love and hugs your way xxx #theprompt

  10. Nicola Young
    May 15, 2015 at 2:05 pm (6 years ago)

    Aw this is so sad and I agree, beautifully written. Shows us not to take appearances for granted.

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 16, 2015 at 7:14 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you – that is very true xx

  11. mrsteepot
    May 15, 2015 at 9:46 am (6 years ago)

    So beautifully written and so sad.

  12. Louise
    May 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm (6 years ago)

    So beautifully written. I am sure that outward calmness hides a huge whirlwind of emotions. So true that you can’t go by appearance and that there is often so much more beneath the surface than people realise x

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 14, 2015 at 11:19 am (6 years ago)

      Absolutely, Louise. Appearances can be deceptive. Thank you xxx

  13. Tara
    May 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm (6 years ago)

    Beautifully written, Leigh. A reminder to look beneath the surface. You never really know what people have going on.

    • Leigh Kendall
      May 14, 2015 at 11:20 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you Tara. I guess it’s another reminder to ‘be kind always, people are fighting a battle you know nothing about’ xx


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  1. […] I have been aware that people have trodden on eggshells around me. Sometimes those eggshells have been scattered because people haven’t known how to approach me (which I kind of understand, but life hasn’t exactly been easy for me either). […]

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