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A different kind of Mother's Day

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All of my life I have wanted to be a mom. When I didn’t know what I would do, or who I would marry, or where we would live, I always knew one thing: I wanted to be a mother. And yet to my surprise, or maybe with irritating predictability, it seems to be the thing I cannot be. Our first baby didn’t stay. She was here, and then in a blur of bathroom floor tiles and ambulance sirens, she was gone. It felt to me as though someone had died, but I had been the only person on earth that knew them.

I thought maybe my experience was compounded by the darkness of the circumstances surrounding it…we had been trying for three years, had endured four rounds of grueling fertility treatments, and worst of all in the midst of all this my own mother got very sick and she passed away. We found out we were pregnant on my birthday, an idyllic surprise that involved no needles or staggering medical bills. And then, nothing.

A few months after it happened, I started to confide in a handful of women all across my life who are dear to me, telling them what had happened and how I just couldn’t seem to shake it. To my surprise, almost all of them leaned in, eyes widening and said, “Me too.”

The circumstances differed vastly, with some immediately getting pregnant again and having healthy babies to some having near-death experiences that left them terrified. But, the one thing that was ever-present was the feeling that they seemed to be holding a space for what was lost, like they had tucked this memory away in their hearts, but just barely below the surface. Maybe they were even a little bit happy to have a moment arise where they could tell the story of someone that only they had known too.

There are no cute cards or mimosa brunches for moms of babies that didn’t stay, no sweet handmade treats from preschool or pictures to frame. In fact, most will spend this day celebrating other women who were just a little bit luckier, which is wonderful and precious and just how it should be. But, I am especially holding in my heart all the others like me this Mother’s Day. <3

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