Mother’s Day is going to be another one of those hard/trigger days that we will have since losing Asher. I plan to avoid social media like the plague on Mother’s Day. It will be flooded with photos of mothers with their children and the homemade gifts they receive. To my dismay, it has already started and it’s not even Sunday yet. I won’t be partaking in the day’s festivities because my child isn’t here. However, I am still a mother.
After my miscarriage, I didn’t consider myself a mother. I viewed that very differently than some people do. I was only 9 weeks and the baby wasn’t old enough to live on its own. Yes, I lost a child when I lost that pregnancy but that child didn’t have an identity yet. I couldn’t feel it move, I didn’t know its gender, and it didn’t have a name. It wasn’t a fully formed human yet. I was devastated when we lost that pregnancy but I didn’t consider myself a mother after losing that baby. However, now, I consider myself a mother. I carried Asher for 32 weeks, 8 months. I felt him move. I felt his hiccups. He was a boy. He had a name. He was a fully formed human. I gave birth to him like every other mother has with their children. I felt the physical pain of cervical checks, contractions, and pushing (the epidural did not work during that portion of labor 😐) in order to bring him into this world. The only difference between me and other mothers, is that my child was stillborn. But, he was STILL BORN. I still bore a child. I still carried a little human who was half myself and half Hubby. I am a mother.
I was speaking to someone who was telling me how unfair it was that some women get to be mothers, who shouldn’t necessarily be (we all know them; the abusive mother, the alcoholic mother, the mother whose child is born addicted, etc.), and that other women, like me, struggle to be one. The person was saying how unfair it was that I don’t have a living child and other women do, who aren’t the best mothers. They were saying it to support me and point out the unfairness in life, but they missed the fact that I am still a mother. Yes, my child is not here. But, I am still a mother. I still had a child and I still delivered him. Those of us who have lost a child are still parents. That child is still a part of us, even if they aren’t physically here. The argument can be made that if someone lost an adult child, you wouldn’t stop considering them as parents. You would still think of them as mothers and fathers. Just because our children died young; in utero, during delivery, after birth, a few days, weeks later, etc., does not mean that we are not parents. We simply parent our children in a different manner.
I was lucky enough to be a part of two events put on by different organizations that honor loss moms for the mothers that we all are. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a “Still Mothers” photo shoot put on by the Queen B Project. It was an event for mothers who have lost a child/ren. We were given the opportunity to have our individual photos taken with items that remind us of/or represent our children. At the end of the evening, group shots were taken of all the mothers with an item of our child/ren. It was an absolutely wonderful event. All of these woman had experienced the same loss, the loss of a child. We are all broken on some level because of our loss; but also, are so strong. We are all mothers who fiercely love their child/ren. It was such a great and emotional event. I was very happy to be a part of it. I encourage you all to go to their Facebook page and read the stories of some of these extraordinary mothers.
This past weekend, our local SHARE chapter put on a Mother’s Day brunch for loss mothers. We were each able to bring a guest. I brought my mother. It was a great day of pampering; mini-manicures, hair/makeup, chair massages, making sugar scrubs, and memory art for our babies. It was wonderful to spend the day being celebrated for the mothers that we are with other women who share a common loss. We are all members of a club that no one ever wants to be a part of but we are all strong women and support one another in our losses. My mother was taken back by all the women at the event. She couldn’t believe how many women have lost their babies. It happens more often than people think for various reasons. For me, I was shocked to find out that 1 out of 160 births ends in stillbirth. That is a huge number and way more common than I ever thought. You always hear of these things happening, but you never think it will happen to you, until it does.
Without having a child in the house to take care of, it is easy to feel like I’m not a mother. I’m not waking up at night for feedings or changing diapers. I am not able to contribute to the conversation about my child’s milestones or behavior. I am back to sitting quiet because I can’t contribute to the “mother” conversation. My house is quiet and my life has sort of picked up where it left off, against my wishes . But I am a mother. I have a son. I held him in my arms and kissed his sweet face. I am his mother and he is my son. His death doesn’t change that.
To all the mothers out there, I wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day. To those who have lost a child, I feel your pain and anxiety about this day. Know that you are a mother and you always will be. The death of your child does not change that. To those who are struggling to get/stay pregnant, I know your pain. Mother’s Day is just a reminder of something you want so desperately and can’t seem to have. Do something special for yourself and try to keep the faith. To the mothers with living children, enjoy the day with your children.
On Mother’s Day, remember your loved ones who are struggling with infertility, had a miscarriage, or lost a child. It’s a tough day for us. As happy as we are for our loved ones who haven’t had to experience any of these losses, it’s a reminder of a missing child in our lives. So take a moment to let them know, you are thinking of them and remember their child.
“A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the amount of love in her heart.” -Francesca Cox
Happy Mother’s Day!