sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Emily Carrington EPLA Founder
Nearly five years after my first miscarriage, there aren’t many surprise emotional triggers any more. My emotions are no longer raw and I have learned how to live with my grief. For many of these old triggers, I have actually found healing in one way or another. Some triggers I come to expect and for others, perhaps I have just gone numb. But recently I was caught off guard by a new one: the Facebook birthday tribute from proud mamas to “The One Who Made Me A Mother.”
I stopped dead in my tracks.
Which child made me a mother?
I firmly believe that motherhood starts at the time of conception. A woman with a life inside of her has a biological connection to the developing embryo. She is, simply, it’s mother. But even more than that, before she might even know she is pregnant, her body starts to make the changes necessary to provide for this growing life. Isn’t that what mothers do? They provide for their children so that they might grow.
I lost my first baby in April of 2014, having been pregnant for 11 weeks. I had already started the transformation into motherhood. My life changed. I made decisions to support this tiny life inside of me. My heart had never known a love so deep. My body also changed. The morning sickness was unbearable and the exhaustion was oppressive. Every part of me was focused on this little life.
Over the next two years I would go on to lose two more children in early pregnancy. As I grieved the lives of my children, I also grieved my motherhood. I believed I was a mother, but there was no one for me to “mother.”
In the spring of 2017 I had a healthy baby girl. Finally, I had someone to mother and parts of my heart started to heal as she filled a deep longing I had for many years.
But is she the one who “made me a mother”?
She fills the emptiness of my longing arms. She fills my heart in ways I didn’t know possible. She fills my days with all of the joys and trials of motherhood. She fills my time, my brain, my house. She is the one who makes me look like a mother.
But she is not the one who created those holes that needed to be filled. That was my first child, Baby, one of the three that I only mothered for a short time.
So as my daughter’s 2nd birthday approaches, I will boast of my first born as any proud mama does. And while she will hold many wonderful titles and traits according to her birth order there is one she cannot hold. She is not the one who “made me a mother.” She will have to surrender that honor to her older sibling, Baby.
Emily Carrington is the founder of the EPLA and mother to four children.