Before I lost my first baby I always disliked that women would identify themselves only as a mother. Everyone has their own special talents and things to offer to the world and I felt that these women were doing their children and themselves a disservice. While motherhood is great, it should not be the only thing about you, or so I thought.
I don’t know where these feelings came from, but they were there.
When I found myself unexpectedly pregnant I suddenly felt as though I was morphing into one of these women. I felt like a bright vibrant woman who had been thrown into a washer with a lot of bleach and come out a pale and tattered version of myself. This was something I really struggled with while I was pregnant.
The woman I was in that moment, was reconciling with the woman I thought I had to be as a mother. Then I lost my child.
For a moment I felt free, I could still be who I was. But when I ate sushi again and drank alcohol, I hated it. Yet, I felt like I could enjoy hip-hop again and watching movies that had a higher rating than PG. And then I realized that all of these things about me, what my interests are and aren’t, none of that had to go away when I had a child. This was a huge realization for me. I would set a better example for my child by being myself.
As time wore on and I worked through grief, I endured each day as if it was a chore. I had bouts where I wanted to do nothing but forget motherhood and be twenty-two, but then I had even larger bouts where I just hurt inside because I did not have a child. When I finally made the decision and set the month for trying to conceive again, I made drastic changes. For the first time in my whole life I was actually eating better, taking vitamins, and so much more. I had never worked harder for anything in my whole life.
And the thing I was working hard for, the thing I wanted more than anything, was to be a mother.
I realized that I was becoming one of those women, the ones who identified as nothing other than a “mother”, but now I realize why. Having my child taken from me was the worst experience I have ever been through. It is something I know I will not fully recover from. It upsets me that it took such an awful experience for me to realize what an amazing thing motherhood is. Not all women feel this way about motherhood and I understand that too. But I think it is perfectly okay to feel that being a mother is the best thing about your life or yourself.
Miscarriage is an odd experience. It rips the opportunity to mother your child outside of your womb.
It leaves you with few memories. But miscarriage does not take away the fact that from the moment I found out I was pregnant, I have been a mother. This is something I have had to speak up about. Many do not want to acknowledge my identity as a mother since I do not have a child to hold. However, losing a child does not and should not negate one’s motherhood.
I feel badly about my previous disapproval of women who only identified as “mother”.
My lack of understanding was naïve. I am currently pregnant with my rainbow baby and identify myself as a mother of two. Every day that brings me closer to my rainbow gives me a new appreciation for this journey. I cannot wait to have this baby in my arms. One day when someone asks me what I do for a living I intend to say, “I am a mother”, and do so proudly.
Heidi Beltran is the mother of Talia Luna, who was lost to a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks in April of 2016, and her Rainbow Baby, Atlas Delilah Rose, born December 2017. You can follow her on Instagram to see her journey.