I am a mother, too
This post is best read while listening to 'Soul meets body' by Death Cab for Cutie.
Who is a mother? Someone who has a child.
Except, it's not always that clear-cut. If there's one aspect of myself that my two pregnancy losses have painfully highlighted, is my naivety. Last year, I blissfully ignored the statistics around miscarriages, and even when Daniel pointed them out when I was six weeks pregnant with my first baby, I still said out loud: "Yes, but that's not the norm! Surely, that's not the type of stuff that would happen to people like us." What the hell did "people like us" even mean? I guess it meant "young, healthy, fertile" people with no known history of any health problems?
Then, when I got pregnant with Luca, I felt a bit more cautious. A bit wiser, perhaps. I became an expert in miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, anaembryonic pregnancies, molar pregnancies. I found out that stillbirths are horrifyingly more common than we think. I read about the perils of early labour. I learnt about incompetent cervix (what a shamefully misleading, guilt-ridden, misogyinstic expression to identify a very serious problem which has nothing, and I repeat NOTHING to do with you or your body being 'incompetent'). I learnt about all sorts of issues that your placenta might develop. And, of course, I knew about voluntary abortions - several women I know personally have gone through that.
Yet, I knew next to nothing about terminations for medical reasons. I can't bloody figure out why, but I guess this is one of the million reasons why I want to talk about it on here, on social media, and with people on the streets. I am not ashamed. I am not guilty. Most importantly: I am a mother, too.
To remind myself of this, I have compiled a (short and incomplete, I'm sure) list of acts that I perform as Luca's mother:
- I created this blog. I picked fonts, colours, images and songs. I painstakingly choose each single word, in the same way as I would choose baby outfits, colour swatches for the nursery, or books.
- I surround myself with plants and flowers. I touch them, water them, make sure they get the right amount of light, in the same way as I would cuddle, feed, and nurture Luca.
- I listen to music, write unpretentious songs, play my ukulele, in the same way as I would sing to Luca, gently lulling him to sleep.
- I carry Luca's name on delicate pieces of jewellery around my neck and my wrist, in the same way as I would carry Luca in my arms.
- I kiss and hug and love Daniel, in the same way as I would kiss and hug and love Luca.
- I pick the songs, poems, and flowers for Luca's funeral, in the same way as I would pick a cake, balloons, and banners for his birthday.
- I talk about Luca to other mums with empty arms, sharing his pictures and his memories, in the same way as I would exchange feeding and sleeping tips with other mums if Luca was alive.
- I clean Luca's picture frames, his memory box, his night sky frame, in the same way as I would clean his toy box, his changing table or his clothes.
- I take Luca's little elephant soft toy with me wherever I go, in the same way as I would take him with me wherever I go.
- I have stopped saying "the baby" and instead started saying "Luca" when I speak to other people who don't understand baby loss, in the same way as I would say his name if he was alive.
If you, like me, are a mother without a child, or a mother without one particular child, I invite you to reflect on your motherhood and, why not, to put pen to paper and write a similar list. Because, sometimes, we need reminders like these to fully appreciate the extent of our motherly love towards our lost children.