Loss and Motherhood

5 years ago

I think one of the hardest things about motherhood is how loss gets woven into the tapestry of our experience. Some losses are the expected ones: those of baby teeth and chubby cheeks and their firm reliance on your presence and experience. Then there are those losses that we dare not imagine for fear they shall befall us. Whether via miscarriage, stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, illness, accident or any other horrible variation thereof, the loss of a child is something no mother wants to understand... but too many do. While we are celebrating More than Mother's Day, I feel it is important to stand with those who have lost.

Kimberly at West Coast Posse submitted a post that ties together many aspects of family life and motherhood. Her post gave me shivers as she talked not just about a previous miscarriage and trying for a successful pregnancy, but of her grandfather. I know my grandparents have shaped my parenting, as have the losses I have endured over the years.

Perhaps that’s why bluebirds were sent to tell me after six long years that my son would finally be; perhaps my grandfather sent them. Two days in a row, two bluebirds came to the feeder outside my kitchen window. I knew they were a sign; an omen that everything would be OK. We had just closed our restaurant and financially our future was very uncertain. There was the work trip to Britain my husband wouldn’t have been allowed to embark on without me, but otherwise there was only uncertainty: temperature charting, endless research on endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, chiropractic visits, drastic dietary adjustments, yoga, chakra balancing, progesterone cream, cleansing and fistfuls of supplements to fill my days when our teenage daughters were in school. Failure and fear filled my thoughts, until I saw those bluebirds and experienced the lush, colorful spring of London. Suddenly my chronically acidic pH was perfectly in balance, and hope was my friend. This was April. And by June I would have cause to take a pregnancy test again; prayerful that this time would turn out better than the loss we experienced two years before.

The bluebirds weren’t the only sign my grandfather sent.

Weeping Angel

Loralee of Loralee's Looney Tunes recently endured the loss of an important family member, their (adorable) little puppy. The thing about mothering after a loss is that sometimes the unexpected things poke at our grief, making us think about what we have lost and how those things affect our family.

We drove as hard and fast as we could, but my little puppy died in my arms in the car as she looked at me and my tears fell on her face while I told her her mama loved her to the moon and back and I begged her not to leave me.

My heart is in a thousand pieces.

Having lost a baby boy, I always used to get infuriated when people would compare the loss of a child to the loss of a dog.

I still refuse to compare them.

But nothing, NOTHING, save the death of my sweet baby boy has hurt this much or caused such grief with my family, we loved that tiny fuzzball so much.

I feel like I can’t even move this hurts so much.

I would apologize for the tear-jerkers, but the losses we experience as mothers and how they touch other parts of our family are important in the discussion and celebration of motherhood. That said, I'm hoping for a lighter post or two next week myself. I'm out of tissues. Please take some time and submit a post about motherhood. You can learn more about what we're looking for on our original launch post for More than Mother's Day.

But before you go, perhaps you'd like to share more about how certain losses have shaped your mothering? Feel free to comment -- and support others -- below.


Family Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is an editor, writer and photographer.

Photo Credit: terra-alchemist.

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