Recently, I attended a baby shower for a close friend who is expecting her first child. At the shower, I found myself finally being able to contribute to the “mom” conversations. I was able to talk about actively mothering my twin daughters. I could add to the daycare conversations, the things-needed-for-a-new-mother conversations, the birth conversations, and everything in between. For the first time, I didn’t feel left out.
I didn’t feel like an imposter amongst the mothers.
However, I’ve been a mother for a lot longer than just these past two months to my twin daughters. Depends on how you look at it, but really I have been a mother since April 2016 when I got my first positive pregnancy test. One miscarriage and one stillbirth later, I was still a mother, just one with empty arms. Now my arms are overflowing with babies, and my motherhood is acknowledged by the outside world.
Related: I Am A Bereaved Mother
Prior to the birth of my daughters, people would share their birthing stories with me like it was my first time having a child. However, I had given birth to my daughters’ older brother only 18 months prior. I knew what it was like to deliver a child. I also knew what it was like to experience the deafening silence of birthing a child who was no longer alive. My experience was similar to that of “normal” mothers but also vastly different.
I left the hospital empty-handed.
After losing Asher, I felt like an imposter being around other mothers who didn’t know loss. They would share their stories about pregnancies, birth, and raising children. I would try to contribute by sharing my experiences, but it was usually met with a complete change in the tone of the conversation or topic. Bringing up the fact that you experienced pregnancy and birth, only for your child to die isn’t exactly something people want to hear. They don’t want to know that babies die. It’s almost like your experience is contagious and should not be discussed.
Now when I share my experience of raising my twin daughters, there is no change in the tone or topic of conversation. I am able to contribute just like any other “normal” mom. I can talk about the normal “mom” topics without feeling like a leper, like the loss of my son will contaminate others. However, I still feel slightly uncomfortable because I am unable to share the myriad of emotions that come with raising children after the loss of one. It’s not something they can relate to and, again, not something that people, who haven’t experienced that loss, want to think about.
Having and losing Asher changed me.
I don’t think that I will ever fully feel comfortable around “non-loss” mothers because I am not one of them. I am a loss mother, who is navigating the road of parenting after losing a child.
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