Whether you yourself are a bereaved mom, a woman dealing with infertility, or a friend of someone who wants to be a mom, read this. Read it. Share it.
(A version of this post was originally written by HDYDI author Angela in honor of International Bereaved Mother’s Day, a day set aside in 2010 to honor moms who have lost a child, whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or loss at another time. It’s a day to honor the moms who ache to be moms, but have struggled with infertility and may not have ever been pregnant. Who ache for morning sickness. Who ache for sleepless nights. It’s for ALL moms who have lost a child or never had one she so desperately wanted; who the world may not see as a mom, but who feels like one even though she isn’t holding her child.)
I am a proud mom to my children. I am a loss mom, too. And I would like to acknowledge my babies.
Baby Bickford, miscarriage 8 weeks, 2008
Baby Bickford, miscarriage 6 weeks, 2010
Carter Eugene Bickford, infant loss – born 12/9/11, died 1/27/12
And I want you to acknowledge your lost child. It doesn’t matter when you lost them, because they mattered.
A person’s a person no matter how small. ~Dr. Seuss
They mattered. And it’s time the world took notice.
To the moms who lost babies… Don’t be shy about speaking your child’s name. Or the way they left this world. The only way the world will learn to accept the loss of a child as a real thing is if we talk about it. Not just to each other. To any one. To every one. No, I’m not asking you to walk up to a stranger and say your child died. I’m asking you to be proud that they lived, for however small of a time. To be proud enough to make that time count. I’m not asking you to dwell. I’m asking you to remember. To celebrate. To make a difference in the name of your child. To give hope to those who will come after you. To be a light in their darkness.
For those who feel the ache because you have yet to even feel the joys of pregnancy, I’m asking you to be kind to yourself. To take that desire to be a mom and put it 110% into something aside from grief. Mentor. Be a great aunt. Work in your church nursery. Babysit. Find the mothering moments in every day moments that you may be missing. Not because you’ve given up, but because you’re letting precious opportunities slip by, moments that you could be sharing your motherly instincts, your motherly love with little boys and girls who may need a motherly influence in their lives. Don’t miss out on these moments. These are the moments that will prepare you for the motherhood you so deeply desire.
There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.
For the broken ones that know they will never have a child of their own, at least not from their own body, I’m asking you to find peace. Make peace with your body, your soul, and your partner. Forgive yourself for the feelings you have of guilt, like so many do. Know that you are still a mom in your heart, because in your heart is where that desire first grew, and it never died. You’ll always feel that way, that’s what makes you so beautiful.
For the moms who are moms and have never had to experience the pain of loss, know that it exists. Don’t brush it off. Don’t ignore it just because you couldn’t imagine how it must feel. Or don’t want to imagine it. Don’t ignore it because it’s too hard to talk about. If you do that, you’re telling your friend – the world – that these children don’t matter. Put yourself in our shoes, and just for a moment, feel what we do. Feel it so hard that you hurt. Feel it so much that the next time a loss mom wants to tell you about their baby or their loss, you listen. Hug. Cry. Bond. Because you are the model of what motherhood is. You are what we wish we could be. What we might never be. Remember that. And remember to always be grateful for your little ones, sleepless nights, poop-smeared wall, and all.
Love on yourself today. Love on a friend who’s feeling the loneliness of empty arms. And never, ever take a child – yours, the lost ones, or anyone else’s – for granted.
Angela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business, her job at Hand to Hold, a non-profit dedicated to preemie/NICU awareness and support, and her personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress.
This post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.