spent this Mother's Day nine weeks pregnant. From about five weeks on, I had a
countdown on my phone to the day. It was a small personal goal of mine: Stay
pregnant until Mother's Day. When you've been through early losses, the concept
of a countdown doesn't seem as strange as some would think.
be honest, I was nervous about the day. How would I measure up against the
mothers playing peekaboo with their babies? The ones who got pregnant without medical intervention? The mother's who already birthed their child? Was it
really my first Mother's Day, or am I just playing pretend and have to wait
until next year, when I have a five-month-old? Would my family and friends
consider me a mother?
remember last year, the first Mother's Day after the loss of my baby, already
feeling the delicate balance of holding my shit together and completely losing
it tipping. We were seated around the table at my grandparents': my mom, aunts
and grandma eating snacks and talking. Tradition stated that the "fathers" waited
on the "mothers" and when a family member walked up to us and I asked for some
coffee, they waved me off in an offhand manner and laughed, "You're not a
mother yet!" And it slipped. I know it did. This family member wouldn't mean
that, if they weren't so distracted. I lost baby Adam so early that sometimes I
think people let him slip their minds, like some did that day. But the sting of
that comment, my breaths coming in short gasps, the "aw-it's-cool" smile
frozen to my face, I let the voice in that I tried so hard to keep buried down.
That's right, it taunted, you're not a mother! You have no baby here!
I felt caught between infertile and childless, and being able to delight in the day that I have worked so hard to get to.
I survived that day last year before we were able to finally drive back home,
the tears streaming down my face the whole way because I should have had a two-month-old baby, but that baby wasn't there.
this year, I was understandably nervous. Would I be wished a happy Mother's
Day? Or would I end up stuck somewhere in limbo: a mere "mother-to-be"? Though
I may have fought desperately for this baby, injecting myself daily with
medications and choking down pills meant to keep this baby alive, to some, I
may not yet have earned the title of "Mom" until this baby was in my arms.
Could I emotionally handle hearing that? Worse, what if my baby isn't recognized
woke up Sunday full of anxiety; being nine weeks pregnant hadn't done anything
to ease the pain that day represented. My husband kissed me, handed me a small
box and whispered, "Happy Mother's Day." It was a necklace, of a mother and child
around a single pearl: representing Adam, my baby lost two years ago, and the
pearl of a tiny miracle residing inside me. I lost it. I hugged him, and blamed
it on the hormones, but really I was crying because my husband knew exactly
what I needed to wear around my neck that day. My two babies: One in Heaven,
one in my womb.
it was a weird day. I felt caught between infertile and childless, and being
able to delight in the day that I have worked so hard to get to. It didn't
matter that my baby wasn't in my arms. She was in me, growing and moving and
alive and I as reach up and touch the pendant around my neck, I am reminded of
how far I've come and how much this baby is wanted. That's enough to be a mom.