As I navigate parenting after loss, I constantly wonder… am I spreading my love equally?
It is true that with each child you have, your heart expands so that each child has carved our their own little spot.
I wonder when you’ve lost a child, is there a chance their part of your heart, is it a bit larger. Not a significant amount but by some. All the things we miss, the grief that will linger the rest of our life.
All the hurt that clouds over us.
We never know the true, profounding heartache of grief until it is our child.
Our firstborn was the first to start carving his spot out in my heart, but when he died, his place became covered with the scars, the tears of grief.
I am a mother; one who died at 12 days and two living.
With each subsequent pregnancy, my heart grew to allow all my children to have their very own spot. A piece of my heart. A way to always be a part of me. For the rest of my life.
But I have fears.
Most days I know all parts are divided equally among my three boys but… is that true?
Is there a chance my first born’s part is a bit larger?
Do I love him more? No.
Do I love him less? No.
Do I love him equally? Yes.
But he died in my arms.
I try to keep his memory alive.
I do things in his memory.
With my other sons I do normal everyday mother things; homework, baths, dinner, cheering on at Karate, potty training, etc.
I never got those with our first.
I will never get those with our first.
I try to come up with ways to express my love for my first in different ways because I don’t get to be a normal mom with him.
I had no idea that parenting after loss would constantly have me doubting myself.
But no one knows what being a loss parent means until it happens to you and no two loss parents experience the loss the same.
As much as I want to do to show my love for my first son, I fear my living sons may feel I do more in memory then I with them here. All because it is different. What I do for our first is not something we do for them. We allow them to help, to contribute, to take part in but it is still different.
I fear my living sons feeling less loved because they lived.
I’m continually wondering and doubting because I know I love all my boys equally but fearing I’m lying to myself.
Am I a good mother to all 3?
Am I an equal mother to all 3?
Will, I ever get to the point I don’t question this. I’m not sure I’ve never gone through this before. I am still learning.
Each and every day is a lesson.
Grief is a life long teacher, just when you think you have it all down, something changes and you are learning all over again.
This soul-crushing grief while still trying to love.
Love yourself, love your spouse, love your other children.
My other two sons don’t deserve to be loved any less; my first son doesn’t deserve to be loved any less.
They all deserve equal parts of me.
But I still fear in the dark depths of my heart… I don’t want… my living sons to feel less loved because they lived.
They, I am grateful for.
They saved me.
They continue to save me each and every day.
Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash
Marisa is the mother to 3 boys, one gone too soon and 2 keeping her on her toes. Drake died in 2010 at 12 days, 16 hours old after being pulled from life support due to injuries he sustained during delivery. Her other 2 boys: Aden and Gavin, whom she loves every minute with them.