I’m not a big fan of Hallmark created holidays. My children tell me they love me everyday. Scott tells me everyday how amazing I am with our girls and how thankful he is that I am their mom. I would hope that after 36 years with me, my own mom would know how much I love and appreciate her. All the times she’s bailed me out, held me when I cried and pissed me off so much that I took action in moments of indecision (which Mom, if you are reading this, is a good thing as you know as well as I how very lazy and procrastinatey I can be) are remembered and treasured.
But this Mother’s Day is different.
This Mother’s Day is Sara’s first.
And I can only imagine how very hard this day will be for her.
Many years ago, Sara told me that she didn’t think she’d be a good mom. She didn’t know what to do with a kid. But she didn’t see herself as I did: A confident, strong woman who didn’t treat my children with disdain or look down at them no matter how silly or obnoxious they were. She treated my children, and the children she taught, like people, short people, to be sure, with limited experiences, but as people who deserved respect and courtesy. She answered questions honestly, played, discussed and taught without any outward sign of nervousness or doubt.
I knew back then as I do now that Sara is and will be an amazing mom.
On September 28, 2011, Sara’s daughter Lauren was born sleeping. For the last seven and a half months Sara has been a mother without a baby. Everyday, she wakes missing her daughter. And although some days she says are better than others, I know how much she grieves. Lauren is in her thoughts as she should be in her arms.
In an effort to understand what Sara has been going through and learn how to help, I continue to read numerous blogs, message boards and websites about stillbirth and miscarriage. Not feeling as though they can talk about their lost children is a major topic on each site I’ve been to. Stillbirths and miscarriages are swept under the carpet, locked away in closets and not talked about until only the mom and dad are left knowing, talking and loving their unknown baby.
Last month, on her blog Sara wrote that she isn’t talking about Lauren as much because she thinks that people don’t want to hear. Unfortunately, she’s right. Hearing Sara talk about Lauren makes me cry. Reading her blog breaks my heart. But I want her to talk about Lauren because I loved her too and Sara is the only one who knew her. I still have no words of comfort for her but I can listen. I can offer her all the support I have even though I know it will never be enough.
People are uncomfortable with talking about stillbirth because babies shouldn’t die. A woman should carry, love and nurture a baby for 40 weeks and have a baby to bring home.
But because people are uncomfortable is exactly why Sara and all parents who lost their babies should talk about it. Decades ago, people didn’t talk about homosexuality except in hushed voices. They didn’t talk about children born out of wedlock. Changes can’t happen until people are educated and aware! The stigma that is still attached to stillbirth makes it even harder for parents. Parents are told to get over it. Mothers are supposed to “get over” their baby? What kind of nonsense is that?
Neither of the doctors who delivered my children ever mentioned the possibility of miscarriage or stillbirth. With 1out of 160 pregnancies ending in a stillbirth it should be talked about. I was lucky. But I can guarantee you that with such a statistic you know someone who lost their child. It is uncomfortable, depressing even to talk about, but shouldn’t we know? Isn’t it better to know? Better to know what signs to be aware of?
On a few blogs, women have written how during their rainbow pregnancy, they don’t know how to respond to the question, “Is this your first?” They hesitate. Do they deny their lost child to make someone feel comfortable? Do they tell of their loss? I imagine that it is a personal choice. Personally, I hope that when Sara and Geordie try for another child, they proclaim loudly that it is their second, that the new baby had an older sister who is very much loved and remembered.
October 15th is Stillbirth Awareness Day but Mother’s Day should also be a day of recognition. Sara carried Lauren for 38 weeks. She is a mom. A new mom. A mom who dreamed about her daughter and all the experiences they would share. A mom who despite being nervous about being a mom, embraced the change and looked forward to the day she could hold her daughter in her arms. Just like all moms do. So why wouldn’t she be considered a mom today?
So on this Mother’s Day and for all the future ones, I wish to those who have carried a baby but didn’t bring a baby home, Happy Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day, Sara.