Almost three and a half years ago I was thrown into the world of the grieving parent. At the time, I was in a highly alert state, taking words that were said to me and dissecting them one by one. Sometimes people said things that I found confusing, and maybe even hurtful. I started reading…
A four letter word that has largely defined my entire life. This hope led me to blessings that have been more than I could have ever dreamed.
I am the mother of two, and one of my children isn’t here. This is a road I did not choose to take and never thought I would travel, but here I am.
My son was born July 22, 2012, and he is and has been my greatest joy. The love I feel for Reeves and the fun I have being his Mom is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. He was born 5 ½ weeks early — my water broke as we were getting ready to walk out the door for my maternity photo shoot. He is all boy and has been keeping me on my toes ever since. He is bright and playful, funny and really caring. He tells me every day that I am his best friend, which makes my heart feel like it is going to explode!
My daughter was born asleep October 17, 2015. Her name is Madison Reid. I love and miss her every day and still feel a lot of anger, confusion and sadness that she is not here with me physically anymore. Even though I did not know her outside of my body, I feel I know and got to experience so many things about her. She was constantly on the move — I mean constantly! She was already giving her Daddy fits – every time she would kick and I would grab my husband’s hand to feel it, she would stop. At the time, we did not know if we were having a little boy or girl, so I used to joke with him that we were definitely having a girl and this was only the beginning! And like any good southern lady, my girl loved tomato sandwiches. With loads of mayo and salt and pepper. I seriously could not get enough tomatoes over the summer – we bought pounds of them every Saturday at the Farmer’s Market. I would count the minutes until lunchtime every day (and some days I will admit eating lunch inappropriately early!) ‘cause baby girl would not be denied!
It is a strange thing for a mom to have one child here and one who is not. It’s like being a part of two worlds at the same time. I feel an extreme sense of responsibility and need to teach my son everything I can about this world that we live in and also make sure that I teach the world about my daughter since I can’t do the same for her.
I started an organization in my daughter’s honor called Madison’s Closet on April 2, 2016, which was the date one year ago that we found we were expecting her. I started it to support my fellow sisters in loss by providing donated clothing for these brave women to wear following these devastating events. In my own experience being nearly full term, I was unable to wear my own clothes when I returned home from the hospital. When I had Reeves in 2012, I didn’t care. I continued to wear my maternity clothes or my trusty yoga pants. I was exhausted, blissed out, and no one was looking at me anyway! After having Madison, it felt like a cruel reminder to put on my maternity clothes, and it was so painful.
When you lose a child, a part of your confidence and self-esteem is lost too. I hated my body for not providing my daughter safe passage into this world. With only maternity or frumpy clothes to wear I felt even worse about myself. I didn’t want to go out or be seen in public – by anyone. Losing a child is isolating as it is, this makes it even more so.
For me, I was fortunate to be able to afford clothing. But it was never about the money. I couldn’t face buying clothes for a body I felt failed me.
My hope is that the clothing we are collecting will help a mom regain a bit of her self confidence in the days after a loss. My hope is that the moms we help feel the love and light from the women who donated the clothing and that they are truly not alone.
I know two things for sure, one: I was meant to be a Mom, and two: that I was meant to be Madison’s mom. I do not like this and I do not understand it. What I hope to be able to do, is take something that devastated me and create a lasting legacy for my daughter and all the sons and daughters of my fellow sisters in loss.
If you would like to hear more about our organization, would like to make or receive a donation, or just want to chat, please visit www.madisonscloset.org.