sharing your stories and remembering your children
By Emily Carrington EPLA Executive Director
My parents were in town visiting to celebrate my husband’s graduation from Baylor University. It was the beginning of a month of celebration: an honors dinner, graduation parties, and goodbye parties. Every few days we had another reason to gather and celebrate our five years in Waco.
After church that Sunday, we were excited to take my parents to Dichotomy for a Mother’s Day brunch. The restaurant - a coffee shop by day and bar by night - had just opened and was an exciting addition to the pre-Magnolia Waco landscape.
I ordered my mimosa and thought, Well, I guess this is something I can do now.
Less than 10 days before, we said goodbye to our first baby. At a little over 11 weeks pregnant we heard the horrible words “I am sorry, there is no heartbeat.” Opting for a D&C procedure to complete the miscarrage, the whole thing seemed rather “contained” and life seemed to spiral on.
My husband was graduating, he had a new job, we had bought a house, we were moving back to the Midwest; everything we had worked for for five years was coming to fruition. This was an exciting time of celebration.
But on Mother’s Day the shadow of my loss was looming. I was sad, but I was also feeling better. My morning sickness had subsided, my hormones were leveling out, and my body was starting to move forward. I could drink and enjoy the mimosa, something I could not have done two weeks earlier because it was not only unwise, but impossible due to my early pregnancy food aversions.
How long would I feel this way? I was at once confused, relieved, and burdened by grief.
This year, May 1 is International Bereaved Mother’s Day and May 8 is Mother’s Day. Some might argue that all mothers deserve recognition on the “real” Mother’s Day and that bereaved mothers don’t need our own special day. Others might suggest that such a day is needed, otherwise we get lost in the shuffle and forgotten.
These first two weeks of May hold that dichotomy of bereaved motherhood. Your motherhood is valid, your motherhood is real, you are a mother. But your baby is missing and your arms ache and it might feel as though your motherhood has been stripped away from you. Your legitimacy to motherhood is not ruined by your grief of its loss. That is the grief: you are a mother missing the very thing that fulfills that role.
That first Mother’s Day, I sipped my mimosa slowly and held my motherhood closely.
Emily Carrington is a freelance writer, wife, mother, and founder of the EPLA.