Monday, January 21, 2013

But I'm still a Mom (?)

So much of life is based on definitions.

It tends to make it easier for us. Categorizing and giving names. If you have lady parts, you're a woman. If you fix cars for a living, you're a mechanic. If you have a child, you're a mother.


I struggle. In therapy, I feel like this is one of my biggest struggles that's come up. How am I still a Mom? I never got the chance. I had Luke. I carried him for 9 whole months. He was ready to join us. And then he died. I was his mom? Our time was cut so short. I was the only living person he got to know in his short life. And I know deep down, I am still his Mom. But I find it so hard to be able to call myself that. So hard. How can I be labeled something when I've only been able to experience a tiny percentage of experiences that typically qualify someone to be a Mom?

I am a Mother to a son that I will never know. A son that never got to see my face or how happy he made me.

It was so abrupt. One minute, there I was, being his Mom. Then the next, I was no longer going to need to feed him or bathe him or dress him. I was going to have to figure out how to be a Mom to an angel. To be his Mom in this world, while he occupies another.

I have figured out how to be a big sister. A daughter. A captain. A good employee. A wife. But this one? Being a Mom without my son? I do everything I can to remember Luke and give his short existence meaning. But by far, this has been the hardest role I've had to embrace in my life.

I am continually told that I'm still a Mom. But it's something I have to convince myself of everyday. What exactly does it mean when you're robbed of your child's existence at birth? In some ways, I wish we had other children before this happened. At least I'd understand then, what it means, to be a Mother. But Luke is our first child. I don't even know what it's like to hear your own baby cry and feel that in your heart. To deal with feeding your baby every 2 hours for those first weeks of life. I don't know the ins and outs of folding a stroller or buckling him into a carseat. He simultaneously filled my heart with love, and broke it, at the same time.

It's so hard for me not to discount myself. If anything, I feel like I should be called a half-Mom or something. I'm not weary from staying up all night with a colicky baby. I work full-time. I get to go to happy hour with my friends. But I'm still a Mom.

Saturday I had one of my first awkward moments...talking to someone that's not a total stranger, but not a close friend. She'd mentioned how I didn't have any kids yet (she wasn't aware of everything that had happened to us this past year)...and I'm so proud of myself, because I corrected her, and told her actually, we did. Luckily, she was the type that could identify with me from her own experiences, and didn't waive me off. But it felt good to be able to say that. Just to get it out. And be proud to be Luke's Mom.

The physical world plays tricks on me...and tries to fool me into believing that I'm not a real Mom because Luke isn't living. Because he has no physical presence. Sometimes he seems like a complete figment of my imagination.

I started writing this entry last week, and oddly, today, Still Standing posted this article...Which is exactly what I'm feeling.

Coming to grips with the fact that this is something I will be trying to figure out for the rest of my life is a mindfuck.

I'm doing everything I can to be your Mom, Luke. I just wish there was a way I knew you knew that. And I'm gonna spend the rest of my life trying to figure this out, as best I can.


  1. I can imagine that this is one of the most difficult parts of losing Luke. I think it's important to remember that there are no standard qualifications for being a's horribly unfair that you didn't get to experience what we tend to identify as the hallmarks of motherhood with Luke, but you felt the unconditional love that binds a mother and child even during his short life. And that counts. With every action you take to honor him and every pang of longing you feel for him, you are being the best mother you can to him, and I'm positive he knows that, wherever he is.

  2. Just wanted to say that I can relate. I wrote a similar post back in October that was based upon a quote that I found. You are still a mother

  3. I feel the same way. I *know* I was a mother when Avalon was inside of me, because everything I did was for her, and I cared only for her safety and well-being and future. But now, what am I? A mom who lost her baby, perhaps, but not a mom in the way other people think of mothers. I was robbed of a million "mom" moments. Nevertheless, I know how it feels now to love a being that is your own flesh and blood, that came into existence within me. I know what it means to care more for another's life than my own... and that makes me a mom more than anything else under the sun.