A day celebrating motherhood is a wonderful thing, but for some of us it can be a tormentingly gray area. Pregnancy loss is something that many of us experience privately. We sit alone, cloaked in shame and grief. And we experience one of the most emotionally and physically painful things life has to offer — the death of a child. But we aren’t alone, pregnancy loss impacts 1 in 4 women. I want to talk to you; the 1 in 4, because I am you.
Content Warning: This post contains information about pregnancy, miscarriage, and depression that could be upsetting for some readers.
Last February, after five years of trying, my husband and I finally got pregnant. I was showing and falling madly in love with our baby. I was finally a mother. My husband was finally a father. But then we became the 1 in 4. We lost our pregnancy.
People don’t talk about how excruciating a miscarriage is. In some movies women have a miscarriage in the morning and go out to eat at a fancy restaurant that night. That was not my reality. My miscarriage took nine days. Nine days of bleeding. Nine days of continuous and agonizing pain. Nine days of constant reminders that my baby was gone. I don’t know what other miscarriages are like, but I know that we don’t talk about it enough. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t ready. How could I have been? I loved that baby more than I had ever loved anyone, and in a blink they were gone.
Then I looked up, and it was time for Mother’s Day. Was I a mother? What was I supposed to do? I didn’t have the strength to visit our mothers and grandmothers that day. Instead, I laid at home with grief surrounding me like a fog that I couldn’t see through. There was a sharp ringing in my ears all day, I realize now that I was in shock or denial or some combination of the two. My husband comforted me all day. Some friends and family visited. But they all felt like a far off echo. I was supposed to be a mother. On that day I was supposed to be celebrating and taking adorable baby bump pictures. But my baby was gone.
The truth is this, I am a mother. I was a mother on that Mother’s Day and I will be until I’m not around anymore. I carried a baby. I loved that baby with all my heart. That is motherhood. I am a mother.
And darling, you, the 1 in 4, you are a mother too. And I love you. I know your heartache. I know the emptiness you might feel. I know the struggle if you’re still trying to get pregnant. I know the pain of monthly negative pregnancy tests. I know the effort you put in. I know the exhaustion. I know the hopelessness. And I want you to know that you are not alone. You will never be alone. I’m here with you.
I know I’m not saying all the right things. And these things won’t apply to everyone. There are women that have to explain pregnancy loss to existing children, there are women who have had repeat miscarriages. I don’t know all the right words to say. But I love you, you are a mother, and you are not alone.
So, how do we behave on Mother’s Day? What are we to do? Here’s the answer: we do whatever we want. Because this day is for us too. We are mothers.
We can cry and morn the baby we won’t get to see grow up.
We can celebrate that baby, and talk about how much we love them.
We can eat fun foods and binge watch something that makes us feel good.
We can go out with friends and embrace distractions.
We can hug the other children we have, and remind them how much we love them. If we have other children.
We can do whatever we want, because it is Mother’s Day, and we are mothers. WE ARE MOTHERS.
My story has a happy ending. After a year of fertility treatments and a lot of heartbreak, my husband and I are currently pregnant with twins. So I’ll be celebrating three children this Mother’s Day; the baby we lost, and the two we have on the way. So, there is always hope. It took us six years, but we got here.
Every smile I have this time of year is followed by bit of sadness, but for now that’s okay with me. I am a mother, and sometimes that is the burden we carry.
So, momma, you the 1 in 4, please never give up on yourself, you are strong and beautiful. You are so loved. And you are a mother. So be kind to yourself. Show yourself some love. Please.
Mental Health Resources
Crisis Text Line
The Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis.
United States and Canada: Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom: Text HOME to 85258
Ireland: Text HOME to 50808
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you or someone you know is in crisis, whether they are considering suicide or not, please call the toll-free Lifeline to speak with a trained Crisis Counselor 24/7.
Call: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
Uncustomary Housewife Mental Health Directory
In this blog post you’ll find two lists; a list of Crisis and Help Lines and a list of Supportive Communities.
Web: Uncustomary Housewife Mental Health Directory