Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hope. A Mother's Day Guest Post

Heidi writes at Hortus Deliciarum, and she's one of the most truthful mothers-who-blog I've encountered. She is really special to me as one of my LiveJournal pregnant-together moms.

This is her poignant look at Mother's Day, remembering her daughter Hope, lost at eight weeks and her gorgeous boy Ciaran.

Today, in one of the parenting communities that I follow on
Livejournal, someone asked about whether or not people had celebrated
Mothers' Day when their babies were in utero.

I did...but that Mothers' Day (Mothering Sunday, in the UK) wasn't for
my Ciaran-baby-to-be but for Hope, the baby I miscarried at eight
weeks. In my words, written on that day:

Today no one is buying me flowers, gifts, or cards. Of course not -
I'm an "expectant" mother, whose baby is still safely self-contained.
But if things had gone differently last summer, this would be my first
Mother's Day. I would have already purchased all the baby
paraphernalia, already have the crib we're shopping for today, already
have given birth and presumably be holding a healthy baby. I would be
celebrating today as a mother, not a mother-in-waiting.

The "what ifs" aren't going to ruin my day. I won't spend today moping
and feeling sad - after all, there *will* be Mother's Days for me to
come. I don't expect condolences, don't expect anyone to actually buy
me flowers or cards, don't expect anyone else to remember what might
have been for me. I certainly don't want to be wished a "Happy
Mother's Day" because, well, I don't have a baby just yet! But...I
guess I just wanted to say that I if I cry a little today, well, it
doesn't mean I don't love Doughnut or that I'd trade Doughnut for
Hope, ever. It just means that today I *do* remember

Sometimes I think about what might have been, if what happened on June
12, 2005 had never happened. My child (son? daughter?) would be
nearly three and a half. Would that child be the daughter that I so
strongly felt she was, or a little boy? If she had lived, I would
never have known my little Ciaran boy, not have given him a kiss in
each palm for him to "Hold tight!" this morning as I got out of the
car, never delighted in his effervescent joy as I made the little
piggy go "WEE WEE WEE all the way home!"

I'd have another child to marvel at, to laugh with, to fill my heart
so full that sometimes it feels as if it will burst with the enormity
of the love it strains to hold. Maybe I'd be struggling to comb a
little girl's long hair, or be asking why the clothing industry needs
to make all little girls' clothing PINK instead of rolling my eyes at
the dullness of a boy's color options (navy, dark green, and lots of
camouflage). She could be a bit of a diva, or hate vegetables.

Maybe she'd love to color and paint. Instead of sighing over the fact
that I don't have a little girl who will read my Emily of New Moon and
Anne of Green Gables books, I could be wondering whether or not I
should be challenging gender stereotypes and buying "Where the Wild
Things Are" and "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel." Would I try to
get her into Smith as a legacy student? Would she be a tomboy or a
frilly-dress girl?

Would she be cuddlier than Ciaran, who has just started insisting that
"NO! YOU MAY NOT CUDDLE ME, MUMMY!" I fight tears when he pushes me
away, or chooses anyone but me to spend time with. I wonder if it
would have been different, better, if I'd had a little girl,
if that miscarried baby had lived. I try not to do this often, as
that way lies madness.

But when he sits next to me on the sofa and snuggles against my side
as we watch Thomas the Tank Engine in companionable silence, I
realize that I could never trade him away for a mystery child. As
much as I would have loved that child if it had lived, there is no way
in the world that I could make the choice between the two...with Hope,
there would be no Ciaran.

This Mothers' Day, the reality is that I am the mother of two
children, even if one was only an inkling of a promised dream for
eight weeks and never had a heartbeat, while the other will turn three
next month. The decision of which would live and which would not was
not mine. Although I grieve, strangely, I feel no regret. Sadness
for a loss but not sorrow for the joy that was, that is.

Each Mothers' Day, I remember. It is quite possible that I am alone
in remembering my little one that only existed for a few short weeks.
I suspect that even my husband barely gives that time a second
thought, except in regretting that I knew such sadness. For him she
never existed outside of a double blue line on a home pregnancy test.

But each year I remember because I was, and am, her mother.

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