Still Standing

Saying Good-bye to the Mother I Was Supposed to Be

I see her in my mind’s eye: beautifully pregnant, rosy-cheeked, anxiously awaiting the birth of the amazing little human in her womb. As she carefully placed the freshly washed, tiny girl clothes in the drawers meant for her sweet baby, she thought ahead to the lessons she might lovingly teach her daughter someday.

She re-counted birth cloths, scanned the diaper inventory, and excitedly packed the hospital bag so everything would be ready when that precious infant decided to enter the world. She believed her life had been renewed with incredible purpose and love… the role of ‘mother’ was a new title she eagerly embraced.

She knew that there was nothing she wouldn’t do for her unborn child, no sacrifice she wasn’t willing to make. She was going to live a joyous life, happily raising her daughter named Lucy, who she’d give the whole world to. She is the mother I was supposed to be. That sweet hopeful mother, the person I used to be, disappeared on August 11, 2016. She’s gone, disintegrated, vanished in the wind, replaced by a shattered woman sentenced to tread the waters of grief indefinitely. Now, nothing is as it should be.

I could never have predicted how my life, in a just a mere blink, would unravel and become the substance of nightmares.

Everything my husband and I had ever longed for was right at our fingertips; we couldn’t wait to embrace the joys of parenthood. After a perfect full-term pregnancy, we imagined nothing other than gleefully bringing our healthy daughter home with us. Fate cruelly decreed that it wasn’t meant to be, and robbed us of our happiness. As my body prepared for birth, my sweet baby began to show signs of distress, and it became clear that things weren’t going to go exactly as planned. I accepted this as the doctor decided that a C-section was the safest way to deliver our baby. The mother I was then bravely and calmly accepted it.

However, as my water was broken, all hell broke loose with it. A placental abruption was ultimately the incident that would steal away from us the life we should have had with our child. I was put under, Lucy arrived into the world, and when I awoke, my husband had to tell me that everything wasn’t okay. Our precious baby courageously held on for a day. There was no saving her. My heart and soul were left in ruins.

The woman I was, the mother I was… gone with her.

When Lucy passed from this world to the next, cradled in my arms, the mother I was supposed to be ceased to exist. She was a hopeful and optimistic woman who believed that happiness was a choice and love would always conquer all. She saw the future as being full of promise and beauty, and never thought for a moment that such an unthinkable tragedy could touch her life. She was going to be a loving, supportive mom, a beacon of light through the darkness of any difficulties her little girl could face as she grew older.

She’s instead been replaced with a woman forced to endure the earth-shattering, soul-crushing reality of the losing her infant daughter.

A woman who doesn’t know who she is or what her purpose is. She’s someone I still don’t know very well. The mother I’ve become knows the depths of raw grief and the searing pain it inflicts upon the heart. She has been broken and will never be whole again.

As I finally find the courage to say good-bye to the innocent, cheerful, naive mother that I once was, I am trying my best to embrace the mother I am now, the one I had no choice but to become. Though my motherhood is often not visible to the rest of the world because my arms remain empty, it is still motherhood. I am still a mother. I’ve somehow become a resilient, strong, courageous woman who keeps fighting. I may be broken, yes, but I’m also filled with the purest, most profound love. Instead of being the beacon of light, I am guided by one. My life has been forever altered and I am irrevocably changed because of Lucy.

Though I would give anything to be the mother I was supposed to be, I know I must forge ahead as the mother I’ve become. This mother will continue to love her child fiercely and keep her beautiful baby’s memory alive. Despite the insurmountable grief, there is still more love. I will uphold the legacy of love that began with my daughter, and I will carry her light within me for the rest of my days.

So, to the mother I was supposed to be, I bid farewell, and she too will always hold a special place in my aching heart.