6 October 2012

This month has been pregnancy and baby loss awareness month and I thought I’d share on a topic that is very dear to my heart and that I am very passionate about. I am writing this because of the lack of discussion amongst communities regarding the devastating effects this has on women and the stigma surrounding being identified as a mother but not yet experiencing child birth. I hope to shed some light on some of the many ways this trauma impacts women and truly hope that women are able to support and carry each other through a turbulent time.

When I had my first miscarriage, I never could have imagined how emotionally painful it would be. Nothing could have ever prepared me for how my world would change. Losing a pregnancy does not only have physical affects on a woman. In my case, my recurrent miscarriages affected my emotional and mental health as well as my relationship with Christ.

After every loss I experienced, seeing pregnant women every where made my heart ache. The pain was extremely overwhelming and so tangible it felt like it would kill me. My mind was flooded with questions. What made them different from me? Why was it their time to enjoy motherhood? What have they done to deserve this more than me? Why was my body murdering my children? Why did this keep happening? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why God? Why didn’t you stop it God?

One of the hardest things was life forcing me to move on. It’s a harsh reality. Nothing around me changed but I had lost my baby. I had to go through every month empty rather than feeling my baby grow. I felt like I was the only one feeling the pain and that made me angry. I felt extremely lonely in the pain I was feeling. It was debilitating. I wanted the pain to go away. But life kept going and kept punching me in the gut.

The people around me told me I’d have children in the future and that I was still young. I was told “at least it happened early”. Though coming from a place of love, these things were hard to hear and added to my loneliness. It didn’t change the pain my heart felt and I felt like I had to get over my pain and hide my grief.

Mother’s Day were extremely difficult and painful. It echoed to me that I wasn’t a ‘mother’. I wasn’t regarded as a mother by society or society’s norms. I never got the chance to have a birth story with those babies. I never got the chance to hold my babies. This contradicted how I felt in my heart. From the moment I took a pregnancy test and saw it was positive, I felt like a mother and became a mother. I may be speaking just for myself but I wanted so much to be acknowledged on this day. I wanted to be celebrated though my babies were angels and I wanted my pain and grief acknowledged.

The pain of losing a baby is unimaginably difficult to put into words. It is terrifying. And to be brutally honest, it held me captive for a very long time. Being honest about that is incredibly hard and was even harder admitting to myself. I was terrified that should the disheartening grief be taken away from me, I would have nothing left. The loss of my babies made me feel empty and hollow on the inside.

Ironically my turning point came after experiencing my fifth miscarriage at the beginning of last year and coming out of a very dark suicidal hole. A hole I certainly thought would swallow me up. This journey of grief has shown me a lot about myself. I realised that my mothering heart and instincts are a big part of my identity, one that I had to learn to accept and love despite experiencing loss. I am a lot more vulnerable than I ever thought I was or could be in fact. But that’s okay. I am learning to see the strength with that part of my identity.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my short pregnancies, my babies and what could have been, but I had spent so much of my adolescence and teenage years being suffocated by overwhelming emotions, that I refuse to do the same in adulthood and jeopardise being enveloped by Joy. I decided that I wasn’t going to to be a prisoner to grief and I was going to embrace my identity as a mother. This definitely wasn’t an easy feat but one I was able to do with the help of God and the people he surrounded me with.

I held on to the promises God had given me and surrendered everything that wasn’t in my control to him. Promises I thought were fantasies. Promises I had given up on. I was beyond exhausted lol. Carrying everything for years had taken a toll on me and though extremely difficult, remembering that God never leaves us in a mess by ourselves was the hope I held on to. I surrendered everything to God and believed that the promise of me becoming a mother would bear fruit whether it be biologically or through adoption. I would be a mother one day. It was during this season

I fell pregnant for the sixth time.

I would be lying if I said the pregnancy was filled with hope and me believing that I would hold my child this time around! I definitely had a level of hope with this pregnancy I had never had before but I also had days I was absolutely petrified I would loose another baby. I held on. Prayed on. My pregnancy was far from plain sailing and was classed as high risk but I was filled with an unexplainable sense of peace.

“and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)

On the 19th of April 2019 my rainbow baby Noah-Grace was delivered by emergency caesarean. A day I never thought I’d be privileged enough to experience.

Openly speaking about the babies I lost as well as not being ashamed in identifying as a mother before giving birth, gives me a level of strength I didn’t know I could ever have. Statistics show 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. And even though this is very common, the devastating effects are neglected and are unspoken about amongst communities.

So here I am to tell you that I see you! That it’s okay to identify as a mother but also okay for you to be celebrated. Though the definition of a mother means that you have to have given birth to a child, to me you are also a mother regardless of the length of your pregnancy.

Though we have lost, we have also loved. And for that alone, we are mothers.

 

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