Mother (noun): A woman in relation to her child or children
(verb): Bring up (a child) with care and affection
(verb): Give birth to
Firstly, apologies to those who have been through baby loss and who answer this question with an unequivocal “yes”. Good, I’m pleased.
It’s just that for me, it’s something I’m struggling with. It’s laughable really: Here I am, with a blog called Mumoirs, wondering if I’m even a mum.
After my first adult experience with baby loss – which was not my own, but my sister-in-law’s – I had it straight in my head: She was a mum. She carried those babies. I should have congratulated her on becoming a mum when she was with bump, why was I waiting for them to be born? I never got to congratulate her on her title promotion. Her mum did though, during that bittersweet time, with a little “it’s a boy!” balloon. I always thought a lot of her mum for doing that.
And it’s true, when I then went on to carry my three babies, I thought of myself as a mum then. But note the past tense.
I look back and think “that was when I was a mum” – not now.
Not now my tummy and arms are empty. Instead, I keep thinking “mums get to keep their babies, mums get to raise their children”. So when people tried to wish me a Happy Mothers’ Day, soon after we lost Summer, I was not receptive. I had just two thoughts: this is not a happy day, I am not a mum.
What I’ve come to realise during this time, is that grief has put me in a “heart over head” situation. Usually I’m very structured, organised – usually my head rules over my heart. But it’s different now. Though I look at the three definitions of the word “Mother” above and my head logically realises that I tick two of those three boxes, my heart’s just not buying it.
I told my counsellor, that’s when I’ll know I’m ok again: when I’m back as a “head over heart” person and can listen to the rationale of my head, and believe it.
But for now, it’s heart over head: And in my heart, I know I’m not a mum.