May was always a month I looked forward to. April showers start to fade and the weather officially warms up. You can feel that summer is right around the corner and a sense of ease just starts to set in. We usually had a family vacation planned to Isle of Palms during this month. Memorial Day is the kick-off for pool season. Working in a bakery it was always a busy month with lots of orders (although crazy, I always enjoyed the busy times) : Weddings, Graduations, Birthdays and Mother’s Day. And finally, my Birthday is in May, the 23rd to be exact. I would get excited with anticipation as April came to close … where everyone would began sharing Justin Timberlake memes of: “It’s gonna be May!” Yet this May, I pretty much want it to disappear.
I look back at what I was doing last May … Jon and I were supposed to be in Mexico for his work’s incentive trip. But Mexico being a hot bed for Zika Virus and me being almost 8 months pregnant did not mix. So instead we took that time to travel up to Maryland and see family. I got to celebrate Mother’s day for the first time in I don’t know how long, (i.e. – bakery worker who could never get off) actually with my Mom. Then our family baby shower was happening the following weekend.
All these activities just came up on my Facebook memories. We went to a local pub to pick crabs, I was so giddy to get my Maryland crab fix. Jon wasn’t there yet, he was meeting me later in the week with Rocky. I do remember feeling a little blue that no one actually acknowledge me on that Mother’s Day. I told myself: “I guess it’s because I’m not ‘technically’ a mother yet … but I will be soon!” I’m not sure why we don’t officially celebrate pregnant women on Mother’s day, or call them a “Mother-to-be”. When in fact they are doing one of the most motherly things one can do – CREATE LIFE. The moment you open up your heart to loving a child you are a mother. Whether you’re pregnant, awaiting adoption, going through fertility treatments, or have experienced loss … you are most certainly a mother.
Well my naivety rears it’s ugly head … with my status last year being : “Such a great Mother’s day celebrating with my Mom and Grandma picking crabs! Although I’m not officially a Mom yet, it feels so surreal that in a just a few months our little man will be here … with every kick and flutter I feel, the more anxious I become! I just can’t wait ❤ “. So now I read these past words and cringe, because I didn’t know that two weeks later those kicks would stop, our son would die and our little man was never getting the opportunity to “be here” for very long.
Yes our son was born still last year on my Birthday, May 23rd. I try to find comfort in the fact that we share Birthdays, forever bonded as Mother and Son. Although I cannot deny that my Birthday last year was also the worst day of my life. I was in emotional pain knowing my son died two days before in my womb with no answers yet. I was also in physical pain from laboring for 36 hours, with an epidural that was wearing off quickly and the task in general seemed impossible. They tell you the reward for the all the pregnancy and labor pains are all worth it, because at the end of it you get to hear your baby cry, they toss your living screaming baby on your chest, they’re finally here … and all is right in the world. Yet that day, everything was wrong in the world for us. The silence in that labor and delivery room was deafening. I was terrified to hold my son, not knowing what physical marks would be on him that displayed his pain and death. So no … not how one envisions the birth of their first born child or their Birthday.
So as people share these questionnaires on social media of: “In honor of Mother’s Day, Tell us the story of your first born Mamas!” I just die a little more inside. These questions are just a giant smack to a loss mother’s heart. Because no one wants to hear the birth story of my first born or how I became a mother. I’ll never be able to praise my son on Mother’s Day, sharing pictures each year of him with captions like: “My First Born!” or “Thanks for making me a Mom!”
As we quickly approach the anniversary of our son’s death, the anxiety is palpable. Knowing what our days were filled with just before we lost him, it feels like a horror movie playing over and over in my head. Like we are the characters that didn’t see the end was coming for us. Pretty soon it will be the day of his family baby shower, then my last days of work, then our dreaded I can’t even say the word, it’s a play on words, for a vacation you take before your baby arrives, then the day of his death and finally his Birthday. Never could I have imagined a world where death could supersede a Birthday.
So my world feels a little bit like groundhog day. Here I am, pregnant again, but still no baby to hold or parent. When I really sit and think, it feels utterly impossible that an entire year has passed without our son. There’s a part of me where I do not want time to pass, because I feel as more time moves on, I feel further away from him. There’s also part of me that wants to go back in time to that worst Birthday of my life, because at least I got to hold and spend time with my son that day … the only time I did and will ever get. Yet will this year be the worst Birthday because I have to celebrate it without my son? Or every year for the rest of my life, because it will always be a reminder that he isn’t here? Like I said, I do try and find comfort in knowing we share this special day … but it can’t take away the unmeasurable amount of pain I feel either.
So yes I would prefer if May would disappear. Mother’s day, his death anniversary and our Birthdays … it’s just all too much. I would like to crawl in a hole and someone wake me up when it’s June instead. I know it’s hard for a lot of other people too, Mother’s day in particular. Whether you’ve lost your mother, are struggling to become one or have lost the one who gave you that title. Others might think it’s a happy day filled with brunch and flowers, but for many it’s a painful reminder for everything that isn’t right now. So take some time to reflect on what that might feel like, put yourself in our shoes and then show some grace to these grieving hearts. Maybe even do an act of kindness to show you care or that are thinking of them. A text, a card, a small gift or gesture to acknowledge not only what’s there, but also what is missing.