I am a mother, however, because my son passed away when he was 2 weeks old, I don’t fit in with all of the other, “normal” moms. You know, the lucky ones whose children are still living. I am a mother like no other.
It’s a shame, because we have so much in common. Our children are the most important thing in the world to us. We want to talk about them all the time, and share how adorable, funny, and amazing they are. But when I bring my son up within a group of these other, normal mothers, there’s always an uneasiness. If you weren’t looking for it, you might miss the way their eyes dart to each other, then back, hoping that I don’t notice that they’re silently communicating about me to each other.
They might think that I’m a downer. That I’m trying to make the conversation all about me, but that’s not it at all. I just want to be able to share my son. I have stories about him, just like they have stories about their children. I just don’t get to share mine anywhere as much as I’d like to. When they want to share their stories, they just share. They don’t have to worry about uncomfortable looks or others attempting to change the subject like I do.
I’ve learned to not really care so much about other people’s reactions. My son was amazing, and if I want to talk about him, I am not going to let someone else’s uneasiness stop me. There’s so much silence and stigma about child loss, and unless I speak up, that silence and stigma will remain.
There’s another piece to this puzzle. I also don’t fit in with non-moms either. Motherhood is one of those things where once you go there, there’s no going back. You can’t press the “undo” button on being a mom. Those without children group me in with the moms, not seeing that those moms don’t want me as a member of their club. The “normal moms” group me in with the non-moms. It’s hard for me to get my bearings, living in this in-between world.
The truth is, I’ll never be one of those “normal” moms. Even if I went on to have living children, I’ll always be an outsider to them. This is why it’s been so crucial to find a community of moms like myself – the mothers that know what it’s like to mother a child who is no longer here with them. Feeling understood and validated is critical, and I’m grateful to have found a place where being a “mother like no other” is the norm.