It has been 18 months now since our daughter Poppy was born sleeping at term, and almost a year since my 1st mother’s day as a bereaved mother. I feel like in that time a lot of fog has lifted and my emotions have settled to a state I would describe as “more controlled”, but it doesn’t seem to lift the small ounces of anxiety and dread on days like this, because yes there is still pain, and a longing for and missing her. There is still all the wonder and wishing of life with her here, and then there is still fear of it happening again with the next. But mostly there is still a hole in my life and heart where I am very much aware of where my 3rd child should be.
My mum is still alive and because up until 2014 becoming a mother was fairly straight forward to me, its always been a lovely day and it has always been a day of acknowledgement, appreciation and recognition for the role of what a mother is and the love in life that has been given. It was a day I always looked forward to and enjoyed, a day that felt a little bit special thinking of how great mothers are!
It wasn’t until last year (my 1st as a bereaved mother) when this image was tarnished and my view changed. I suddenly became very aware of how painful this day can be for people for many reasons, and that often it is even dreaded or just not acknowledged. I began to see that it was one of those dates on the calendar that carried a lot of hurt for people that had lost loved ones or were desperate for the opportunity to just have a child they longed for.
I expect right now my life looks happy, its hard yes, but we are quite happy. I am pregnant again, we are in a fairly Okay place with nice things and lovely days out together and we laugh so much more, but then i’d say we also do a good job of keeping all of our hurt, emotions and thoughts hidden quite well now.
I personally spare people the broken record and continuous cycle of sad thoughts and emotions relating to the loss of my baby, because I think they have probably heard it enough. And with time I no longer stand out so much because I am pregnant again and can do the baby talk (mostly). I can be excited for baby things…I talk about her death all very factually and matter of fact and I no longer cry publicly or if I do its often very little to people (even on the days I want to) and I guess I am learning now to just live with it and that its just there and a part of me now.
But then there are those moments in my life where it suddenly cannot be “Just a part of me” but dominates me and consumes me again…it affects me to the point of feeling the all too familiar weight of sadness and grief. It comes on days like this which are titled “Mothers Day” and the blasted anniversaries, or moments when you are face to face with the death of a loved one once again, and it slaps you round the face at how hard it is to realise they are not here and your child isn’t here either. I do not ever need reminding of what I went through, I remember that every single day, but as I have been feeling progressively more emotional recently I have to acknowledge that “Mothers Day” is a painful reminder.
I am not naive, I have been aware that it was coming and I have also enjoyed preparing for it and doing things for my own mum. I have enjoyed that there is less fog and I have enjoyed being in a less vulnerable place than last year, but I cannot avoid who I am and as it has drawn nearer it has had a subconscious grasp on me to draw out my emotions and to make me stop in my tracks and take some deep breaths, to climb in to bed at night with ear phones in and listen to songs that remind me of her and be alone with my thoughts and pain.
I have struggled emotionally recently feeling grief from various sources, but a lot more from this day approaching, because whilst I have a blast with my living children every single day and thank God for them and as I can now excitedly anticipate the arrival of another, it is my reality that this day brings me back to a clear reminder and recollection that I am a still and always will be a bereaved mother. It means that I cannot and never will be able to celebrate my motherhood with all of my children and it reminds me that she is not here and that we have missed so much in the last 18 months. The cards and gifts carry one less name, and a sense of guilt fills my heart on these days that whilst I am her mother, did I really do a whole lot for her? Did I do all I could for her? Will she just be a memory for people or will she always been seen as my child, my daughter…my baby girl?
I will smile on Sunday and probably fight the tears. I will celebrate whilst my heart is pained, and I will be thankful everyday for the blessing of motherhood. But I will be reminded more so than on the days that I control it, that my daughter died and that there is one missing. That I actually want to cry some more again and tell the world how unfair it all feels that she is not here and missing from our pictures and experiences and sadly always will be. If I’m honest with that, I really am not sure how you cannot ever feel any of that or reflect more intently on it on days such as Mothers day?!