On this Mother’s Day, I wanted to write a special message to all those mothers everywhere who have sadness in their hearts today.
The heartbreak of burying a child is beyond the understanding of one who hasn’t done so.
The grief of a parent is totally unique, and feels completely backwards.
If a mother never gets to hold her living baby, never gets to take her baby home, never gets to breastfeed, comfort, or snuggle with her baby, is she still a Mum?
I say yes!
The conception of a child is quite possibly one of the most miraculous, exciting and wonderful moments of a woman’s life. The knowledge that a wee one is growing within the womb is mind boggling!
I still remember the first time it happened to me. After almost two years of desperately hoping for that little blue line, my dream finally came true.
I remember walking out to my husband and simply stating, “So….. Would you like a baby for Christmas?” The smile on his face, and the joy in my heart, are something I still treasure to this day. Well do I remember the first flutter of movement, the first maternity outfit, the first ultrasound, the first trace of the baby’s heartbeat. I don’t exactly remember the moment of birth, because I slept for fifteen minutes after delivering the head! But I do remember lying in bed afterwards, gazing at my son’s beautiful face (but don’t tell him I said that, he’s now almost twenty!)
For some of us, those firsts are all that is left of “the pregnancy”. We have a delivery, a death, and a burial all in quick succession. This pregnancy test stick is actually the one that confirmed the pregnancy of my second baby, who died after 42 weeks of pregnancy and nine hours of life outside the womb.
Some mothers never get the thrill of a baby born alive, instead giving birth to only ….. silence. No “first breath”, no living memories at all.
Others have a pregnancy cut short by the fateful news that there is “no heartbeat”, only the trauma of having to go through labour knowing their precious one has already died.
Then there are those who bleed too soon, and miss the thrill of seeing their baby’s heartbeat and moving limbs on the ultrasound screen. There is no knowledge of whether the baby was a boy or a girl, no joyous announcements, just a shedding of blood and dreams. And the proclamation by many that it was just “a pregnancy”, not a baby at all. No gravestone. No recognition. No birthdate.
There are some who have the joy of a live birth and the thrill of raising a child, only to bury their child at a young age. Treasured memories that bring both comfort and pain.
And lastly, there are those who have the heart of a mother, but never even one conception. So much hope, yet only an empty womb. To those women, our hearts break with yours, knowing that you are filled with longing and desire, yet there is never the culmination of that desire, never the experience of entering the unreachable world of motherhood. Unattainable dreams.
Motherhood: a natural, biological instinct, an inner drive so strong for some that it is all encompassing, matched only in intensity by the corresponding despair and devastation when it goes wrong.
To women who have dreamed of being a Mum, yet not had their dreams become a reality,
To women who have only enjoyed a fleeting experience of motherhood,
To women who have a child or children to love, yet hold in their hearts an unfathomable pain for the one or ones they have farewelled,
To you I send love.
May you know the joy of little people, even if not your own flesh and blood.
May you have the thrill of loving a friend or relative’s child, and being loved in return.
May you feel the warmth of pudgy little fingers in the palm of your hand, perhaps not born by you, yet loving you by choice.
May you find enjoyment and pleasure in life as it is, not as it could have been.
May you find purpose and vision for your life, in spite of your loss.
May you feel complete. And loved. And at peace. May you find a reason to smile today. 🙂
And to those who want to help a grieving mother, may you have the wisdom and sensitivity you need to know how to help one who is hurting.