Everyone rushes to assure me I am a mother. That I am still, or that I was the moment I got pregnant. They trip all over themselves to refute my opinion.
I don’t think I am. Rather, I do not view myself as a “mother.”
Being a mother entails having a child to raise. It entails parenting. My son is in heaven. He is not here with me. He is not here with my husband. We do not get to raise him. We do not get to teach him about cows and rapier and guns and archery and music and country life. We do not get to show him how to be a good man and a kind person. We do not get to see him off on his first day of Kindergarten, we do not get to cheer him on at Little League games. We do not get any of it. No baby clothes, no lullabies, no hugs and kissing of boo-boos. No family pictures for Christmas letters, no pictures of first dates and graduations. Nothing.
I am not a mother, and merely getting myself pregnant does not make me one. Is the woman who gets pregnant and gives her baby up for adoption a mother? The woman who eventually gets an abortion? If mere pregnancy is the sole criteria for being a mother, then I think we need to seriously redefine the criteria. Being a mother is more than being a baby-incubator, just like being a father is more than being a sperm donor. Being a parent is time, love, educating your child. It is caring for that child, and helping gently mold them into the best person they can be. It is being their role model, being their guide through this crazy rollercoaster ride called life.
My son is dead, and with him, those opportunities for “motherhood.” I am merely a woman who wanted to be a mom, but never got the chance. I had the most wonderful pregnancy a woman could ask for, but that’s the end of it.
God still refuses to answer my prayers to take away my desire for children, to help me through the pain and the fear. I don’t know why or for what purpose. No matter how much I beg and plead and cry and pray and wish to go back to being the girl I was before I held that positive pregnancy test — the girl who was ambivalent about the idea of children — the terrible ache for the things I see every woman around me enjoying remains. Even going on a month and a half later, when the hormones are fading and I am supposed to be “healed” and “normal,” I still long to be what I am not. He, in His infinite wisdom, has seen fit to ignore me. So I muddle my way through each breath of each minute of each hour of each day, fighting to make sense of my identity. Fighting the resentment when it seems like every woman in the free world is pushing a stroller. Fighting the jealousy when I see a new mother with her newborn. Fighting the nightmares that highlight what I’ve lost. Fighting the lingering fears and doubts of “did I truly do everything right?” Fighting, always fighting to regain the person I used to be, but who eludes me.
I do not grieve for the son I lost, because he is safe and happy and cared for in heaven. I know this. I believe this deep in my soul.
I grieve because I am not a mother. I grieve for opportunities lost. I grieve for my stolen sense of identity, for the theft of my innocence, my hope, and my sense of security.
I grieve for the dream that lies shattered. I am not a mom, and please don’t tell me I’m something that I’m not.