When you lose a child at any age I feel like you have this identity crisis of who or what you are now. You have all these expectations and you don’t fit into any of them. You lose not only your child but you also lose yourself.
Before I got pregnant with Dexy I was pretty sure I knew who I was and what I wanted out of life. I had my own fashion sense and I was set in my lifestyle choices. I was an average 21-year-old woman but I also was a wife. I felt like I was grounded and I was secure in myself.
I worked full-time as a supervisor, I had a good circle of friends and I had fun. I had step by step plans for the next few years and having a family was right at the top.
I was just myself.
When you find out you are pregnant everything you think about revolves around this baby that is going to be brought into the world. You meet other pregnant Mums or new Mums. You live everyday putting your life into order because you know its going to be turned upside down when they arrive.
If I’m honest you lose a part of yourself. You lose the part where you have no responsibilities or worries. But you gain so much more. You learn about yourself, things that you never thought you could do or even think of doing. Your style suffers a lot because maternity clothes are so unflattering. You find yourself becoming more of a Mum than the careless 21-year-old you were before. I proudly identified as a pregnant woman and I wore my bump with pride. I was so lucky to be given a chance to become a mum, I fought a long old journey to be here but finally everything was working out for me.
My conversations no longer consisted of planning nights out or what tattoo I wanted next. Instead they were all about the life I was carrying. What bottles I needed, if I was going to breastfeed or formula feed, if I wanted disposable or reusable nappies, my whole life was pregnancy led.
My baby died, am I still a Mum?
I remember reading “The Fault In Our Stars” a few years ago and in it Hazel is on deaths doorstep and her mum says something along the lines of “When Hazel dies I won’t be a mum anymore”. When we got told Dexy died this scene of the book shot straight into my head. After everything calmed down and we started to process things all I could think about was what I was going to be .”Were me and Phil still parents?” “Am I still a Mum?” “What if someone asks me if I have children?” All of these questions revolved around my identity. I couldn’t work out what I was. I had spent 36 weeks losing my pre-pregnancy identity to become a mum.
When your baby dies you have a lot of questions. You would think that they would be “Why us?” “Why my baby?” but most of them aren’t. When you lose your Husband or Wife you get given a new title. You either become a widow or a widower. You have an answer for the painful questions. You say one word and everyone knows what has happened. When you lose a child you don’t have this. You don’t have that one word to save you. You have to actually say you lost your child. You use phases like “I had a son” or “My son died”.
Figuring out if I was still a parent was hard, it still is. I have no proof that I’m a mum other than photos and a box of ashes above my bed. if I meet someone new and they ask if I have children I’m not going to be saved by a wild child running into my legs calling me mum. I will have to tell them. Whether they see me as a mum that’s down to them.
I saw on another bereaved mum’s blog that she says that this is her motherhood. As much as I would rather it be different I have to come to terms that this is also my motherhood. Instead of wiping dirty bottoms I am posting on my blog about my son to keep his name and him alive.
I’ve been struggling a lot recently with people saying that I will be able to make memories that I’m missing with Dexy with my future children. It’s not the same. My son should be nearly three months old. I should be learning from my constant stream of mistakes. It’s hard to hear and if you are reading this and think it is comforting for a mum like me to hear, please don’t.
I became a mother the moment my son was conceived, the first time I saw him during a scan, the first kick I felt. I became a Mum when my sons heart stopped beating. I became a Mum because I felt the pain of losing a child and losing a part of myself. I became a Mum when I gave birth to my son knowing that it would be the hardest hello and the most painful goodbye.
My son isn’t here. He’s somewhere else. But the fact is, I have a son which makes me a Mum.