My child may be dead, but I am a mother. So, mother’s day and all that – yep, I count. I nurtured and delivered a whole human. My water broke, then the placenta was delivered, and in between was a beautiful, delicate little boy after a few hours of contractions. And I’ve been a step-parent for over six years, so I’ve earned my stipes.
Some of the most well-meaning and insensitive things have been said to me since losing my son last fall. And they usually come from the mouths of people who do love me, which makes it all the more awkward and difficult to point out.
One dear friend who I was speaking with about trying again someday for another baby said, endearingly, something like “so you’ll finally get to know what it’s like to be a mother.” I corrected them and was pretty straightforward about it, but it inspired me to make this PSA. And it’s just something to remember when speaking with someone who has lost a child.
Our children stay with us, whether they’re alive or were taken from us. And we’re constantly thinking of them. Not having them counted amongst our living, or yet-to-be born children, is painful. Much like my worries about Henry being forgotten around the holidays, and much like the fears (hopefully unfounded) about actually having another child someday and hearing that same sentiment, of “finally” being a mom.
Henry has given me the gift of being a mother to my own biological child, and my step-son has hurled me into the realm of parenthood. It’d be a mouthful to say this to someone in passing, so I’d likely hum a smile in response to questions about my children. But please be aware when asking people about their kids that you never know what heartache and trauma someone may have, or is experiencing.