Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Home > My Babies > Gaelen Evangeline > M is for Mother (Do I count?)

M is for Mother (Do I count?)

One of my husband’s aunts came to visit us in the hospital after Calvin was born. I was in pain still, and I had difficulty getting out of the bed and walking to the bathroom. She made a comment to my mother-in-law (in Tagalog) as I pushed my IV pole past her and toward the bathroom. What she said basically translates into: Wow, it’s like she really just had a baby. This was the day after I delivered Calvin.

I responded, I *did* have a baby. I don’t remember what happened after that, if she heard, if she responded. I only remember the shock, feeling caught and frozen where I stood. I only remember needing to say something to validate what I just went through, needing to defend the son I held in my arms just hours before, and how those words filled my mouth and toppled out.

That is one of my most vivid memories of feeling like I didn’t count as mommy, of thinking that I’m not really a mother because I didn’t give birth to a living child, because I’ve never carried a pregnancy into the third trimester, because I couldn’t bring any of my babies to “viability.”

March of Dimes - M is for Mother - Unpacking GriefWearing the remembrance shirt for Calvin, Rainbow, and Gaelen that Louie designed for the March of Dimes walk this year.

But then, I remember something: My babies count. My Calvin. My Rainbow. My Gaelen. They are my children. And that makes me their mommy. And a mother’s love, a mother’s heart cannot be undone–not by distance, not by time, not by death, and certainly not by the ignorant definitions others may hold. Sometimes, we just need a little help remembering that.

So how are you reminded that you are a mother?

What has helped validate your relationship to the child(ren) you’ve lost? What has helped you remember that you are a mother, that you count, too?

This post is a part of a series called Unpacking Grief, which I began as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

Crystal is a mother-wife-writer whose explorations include parenting, grief, food, and semi-crunchy living. She is currently an MFA in writing student, a content editor for Still Standing Magazine, and the technical editor for Switchback.

0 thoughts on “M is for Mother (Do I count?)

  1. I came to your blog from I’m touched. I’ve lost two babies and I haven’t found the strength to write about it yet, but I’m awed at your willingness to let me peek out from my safe place and explore your world. When I find people like you who have lost their babies and refuse to forget, it makes me feel like maybe I don’t have to either – that I don’t have to wait until the world considers me a mom, because I already am. Thank you.

    1. Anonymous Friend, I’m so glad that you found me and that my story has touched you. You should never feel like you have to forget. Whichever way of mourning your babies that works for you–whether it is writing in private or sharing with the online community–I hope are able to do so without feeling pressure to get over your losses. Yes, you are a mother. You are a mother to those two precious babies. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. ((hugs)).

  2. My word – this is so painful what she said. I am so sorry. You are right, you are a mother, a beautiful mother to all your babies. And I second that sometimes we just need help remembering we are still mothers to all our babies. For me it helps to continually mention her from time to time, not in an obnoxious way, only to those who care to listen, and in my opinion worth it 🙂 Like all my BLM friends, my hubby and some dear friends in real life. Sending big hugs!

  3. What an awful thing to say but we all know it’s not true anyway… I really meant it when I said you’re one of the best mothers I know!

    How was your trip? Glad you guys are back. Can’t wait to see you guys and hear about your trip and see all the pics and video. Mom showed me the one where you guys are on the water. 🙂

  4. All I can say to this post is yes… Yes you are a mother. Yes you count. You are a mother to Calvin, Rainbow and Gaelen. And I truly believe that you will be a mother to those babies that will be here with you on earth as well.

    You are always in my thoughts, as well as my prayers.

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