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.”
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?