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I am searching for terms to replace “a grieving mother,” or “a childless mother.”

Is one also considered a grieving mother if she has no other children, in other words, her only child died?

This is from a story in which a mother, who lost a child saves a stranded girl, which reminds her of her daughter whose death the mother caused. However, the mother is unaware the girl is on the run from her father whose space fleet is on its way toward our solar system.

  • Related, very closely: Word for grieving parents? – Mari-Lou A May 15 '17 at 8:20
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    As the word is commonly used, the status of parenthood is never lost. On the other hand, the term childless mother is a contradiction. – Lawrence May 15 '17 at 9:25
  • @Lawrence I wanted to ask if that means the same, so thanks for explaining it to me that it does not. If “a childless mother” means without a child – what would be the right expression for a woman who cannot have children? – Syk May 17 '17 at 7:49
  • @Syk There may be different words depending on the reasons, but consider the term barren (linked definition 1.4). – Lawrence May 17 '17 at 12:48
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bereft; Oxford Living Dictionaries

  1. (of a person) sad and lonely, especially through someone's death or departure.

‘his death in 1990 left her bereft’

the answer to the question in your second sentence

Is one also considered a grieving mother if she has no other children, in other words, her only child died?

is yes. She will be a grieving mother until the day she herself dies; although less intense as time goes on, the grief will always be there.

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    Thanks for your answers. Would “grieving mother” be automatically understood as a mother who grieves after her child? Is there no place for misinterpretation, like a mother who grieves after something else in her life? – Syk May 16 '17 at 4:58
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    @Syk "Grieving mother" would be understood as a mother grieving for her child. Suppose her husband and child and sister all were killed in an auto accident: Then one might say something like: "Not only is she a grieving mother, but she is grieving also for her husband and sister." Similarly, "a grieving wife" would be assumed to be grieving for her husband. If she is grieving after something else, one might say something like: "My mother is grieving for her sister, and I am trying to console her." – ab2 May 16 '17 at 5:35
  • If I follow up on this, “a grieving brother” would be someone who grieves after his sister and vice versa? – Syk May 17 '17 at 7:44
  • I grieving brother could be grieving for his brother. – ab2 May 17 '17 at 11:08
  • I was too quick on this one. So there is no short way to introduce a brother who grieves after his sister, like in "grieving mother." – Syk May 18 '17 at 13:01

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