By: Abby Keane
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~ Elizabeth Stone
How many of you remember the exact time of your child(ren)’s birth(s)? How many of you remember the date you first got a positive pregnancy test? The date of the first ultrasound where you saw that little heart beating away?
These are the moments when we become mothers. For many of us, the journey begins long before we hear that first cry in the delivery or operating room. We begin mothering our child long before the rest of the world can see it. We take our prenatal vitamins, watch what we eat, exercise in moderation. We ensure that we receive the best prenatal care. We plan our maternity leaves and childcare arrangements for after they’re born. We do everything within our power to ensure that they will have the best possible life from the very beginning. And we are recognized for those efforts. First, with a baby shower – an afternoon with our closest friends and family, celebrating the new life and readying the parents-to-be with all the necessary supplies. Later, with visits at the hospital after baby’s birth, often complete with flowers, snacks, or even a Hospital Survival Kit for new moms. We continue to be recognized annually on Mother’s Day, our birthday, sometimes even on baby’s birthday.
There are many moms out there, though, that don’t get that recognition. Moms who saw that double line on the pregnancy test, who maybe saw that heartbeat on the ultrasound, but never got to bring a baby home. Or moms who brought their baby home, but will never see them grow up. You may know their story of what happened, you may not. There are signs, though, if you choose to see them. These are the women who stay home on Mother’s Day, because the possibility of being greeted with a Happy Mother’s Day, or maybe even worse, NOT wished a Happy Mother’s Day, is too painful. These are the women who always have other plans the day of a baby shower, or if they show up, come back from their bathroom break with red-rimmed eyes. These are the women who, if they get pregnant again, always start conversations with “If everything goes okay…” rather than “When the baby is born…” because it’s not an assumption for them that positive test equals take-home baby. These women don’t get the same recognition that other mothers do, but they are mothers just the same.
So, why am I writing about them here, on a mommy blog? Chances are, these mothers are not the ones reading here. And it’s much more fun to talk about happy things here. In the past few weeks, though, I’ve been reminded of just how fragile our little munchkins really are, and how our lives are only different from theirs due to luck. I know we all have moments where we realize just how lucky we are, despite any difficulties we may be facing, but I think it’s important to really, really realize it. So, next time you’re recognizing your happiness and sharing it with others, make sure your kids are part of that, because oh my goodness, we are so, so, so lucky to have that in our lives. And at the next baby shower you attend, think of this blog entry and find the woman in the crowd with the guarded smile and the red eyes and sit next to her. She will appreciate it more than you know.