Sunday, May 4, 2014

5/8/11 Mother's Day Ruminations

(Photo taken just a week or so before she was born.)

Ohhhh, goodness.  I’m writing partly because I do have some stuff to say, partly because I know there are still some out there who are curious how today has gone.  Wonder no more.
Some weeks ago I didn’t even know when Mother’s Day was, and inadvertently signed up to work.  Turns out to my advantage, I think, as my mind was busy most of the weekend.  Only one patient and one colleague asked about my family (each promptly regretting it with the reply “my daughter died a year and 1/2 ago, so I’m sort of just plowing through the day”).  I received 2 texts and 2 phone calls from friends, a card from my parents.  (Brad was up at his brother’s cabin with my blessing, but home when I got home from work.)  Last night I even joined a group of 4 girls out on the town, 3 of whom I know only peripherally.  I got all emotional and jittery beforehand, realizing that this was the first time I’ve gotten together in such a way since Anna died.  You know, meeting new people, making friends, being engaging and witty and fun to be around.  (Okay, for as much as I was ever like that.)  The thing was I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.   Suddenly confronted with not being that person anymore.  I miss her.  Which makes me sad, and the reason I’m not her anymore makes me sad, and it’s all just sad. 
Interestingly enough our cat sat outside Anna’s room today, meowing and meowing to get in.  When I finally let her, she hopped up into the crib and has remained there since.  She hasn’t been in there in weeks, months even. 
Because I’m apparently a sadomasochist, I decided to watch Ricki Lake’s documentary “The Business of Being Born” this evening.   Which resulted in a new understanding of our country’s culture surrounding childbirth and maybe why in fact we have such high infant and maternal mortality rates for such a ‘highly developed country’, but moreover, spurred me to question for the first time if Anna would have lived had we not done anything.  If we hadn’t insisted the doctor check more thoroughly when my belly hadn’t grown for 3 weeks, if we hadn’t subsequently bumped up to twice weekly appointments, if we would have just left nature to its own devices and not jumped into the assumption she was in danger with such low fluid and gone off to be induced like so many beguiled idiots.  I wonder.  But at the end of the day, I need to believe she would have died anyway.  That she still would have suffered at 10:00 that night and died in my womb at home instead of the hospital.  
My friend sent me something today that I started to read at work but rapidly concluded could not finish there, or the rest of my day would have been finished as well.  I still haven’t read it all, but have complete trust that it is appropriate, for today.   
Oh, I love you baby girl.  
Mother's Day...Reflections of a Mother Denied
           By: Michelle Parrish

On this Mother's Day, I ask myself, "Do I have the right to celebrate Mother's Day?"

Have I truly been a mother this past year?  The answer is yes.  Each day I have cared for my child.  In every way possible I have mothered her, although
differently from other mothers.

I have mothered her with every tear shed, through the agony of longing to hold her.  I have rocked her in my heart, if not in my arms, kissed her little
cheeks in my mind, if not with my lips.  I have smelled her sweetness with my hopes, if not with my nose, and felt her softness with my memory, if not with my hands. 
I have tickled her with my wishes, if not my fingers. 

Am I a mother? I truly am.  My physical mothering has been limited to lovingly tending her ashes, but I am a mother all of the time. 

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