With Mother’s Day in mind, I am feeling thankful and reflective of what I have, chiefly the most precious gift I have ever been given, my children.
It is easy to forget just how incredible being a Mother is when you have had 7 tantrums and an up-the-back poo (when you know you know) in the first hour of the day. But it is incredible and I will never stop saying how grateful I am because I am acutely aware that this doesn’t happen for everyone and indeed Mother’s (& Father’s) Day is extremely painful for some.
You see, not all Mother’s have children. Some women are born to be Mother’s but it never happens for them. Despite all the of hours positive thinking and dreaming, numerous trips to the Doctor and pennies spent on pregnancy tests, those two little lines just don’t appear. Pregnancy remains elusive and all too often there is either no explanation or one that doesn’t seem satisfactory. Questions of ‘why us’ remain unanswered and life has to somehow move forward without a baby and in the face of great sadness.
These women (& men) play vital roles in the lives of other peoples children, always with a smile and patience. A stark reminder of what they do not have, yet you never hear them complain of how unjust it seems. The yearning goes on.
Not all Mother’s are the birth parent of their child. Some brave women take on the role of Step-Mother, but don’t let that title fool you. Actually, let’s just remove the word ‘step’ altogether because often times these women are Mothering to the fullest. Cleaning, brushing hair, offering shoulder’s to cry on and hugs and providing guidance, even when being pushed and rebelled against. They love anyway. That is a Mother.
And there’s the adoptive Mother’s, who take on other people’s birth children for numerous reasons. These women offer more love than any child could ever hope for and there is never any question that this is their child. They love them as though they popped them out themselves and the world is a better place for having one more child in the arms of a beautifully loving Mother.
Not all Mother’s get their babies after the weekly quickie on a Wednesday night. Some need a little bit of assistance. In fact, more parents than you realise are getting some sort of help conceiving but not many talk about it, due in part to the stigma attached. Just recently, a sweet Mum I know posted on Instagram about being an IVF parent, something she doesn’t really talk about but is quietly proud of. And rightly so. She battled for her babe where others have simply been gifted the sweetest of treasures without any consideration for their actions.
It is not something to be ashamed of and it takes a certain type of resilience that a lot of people simply do not have. I firmly believe that it is only by talking about fertility and conceiving that we can normalise the subject and breakdown any misgiven ideas.
Not all Mother’s get to keep their children. They’re born sleeping or taken too early in tragic accidents or by untimely illnesses. It is not how things should be. We can all agree this isn’t the order of things. There is no word for a parent who loses a child because it is so unbearable nobody created one. I cannot even begin to imagine how you start the process of repair after such an utterly, devastating loss.
They say ‘time heals all wounds’, but as I heard a blogger say recently, your ‘dead child is not a wound’. So how do you heal? How do you carry on with your life? Perhaps there are other children involved, who make the decision to carry on for you? Perhaps you simply decide to live every moment in your child’s honour. I do not know. It is unfathomable to me and yet I have seen many a woman (& man) scrape herself up from the floor and begin to rebuild her life after loss. I have nothing but compassion and admiration for these parents and want them to know that they can talk about their babies. With me, with other’s. Speak their names. Tell us about their little toes, their birth, how they made you laugh as a toddler. You are a Mother and you absolutely should be able to talk about your children as much as anybody else.
Not all Mother’s look like me, but Mother’s they most certainly are. No more or less worthy of the title. Perhaps if we open up more about our journeys, we can actually help each other.
They’re not dirty words (trust me, I know some goodies), they’re just words.
Let’s stop saying them under our breath.
It’s ok to talk about loss (whatever form it comes in).
Nobody should feel unable to talk about their parenting journey because it makes those around them uncomfortable.
Yes, these are difficult conversations and they should be treated with the utmost care and respect, but let’s talk about them regardless.