Always a Mother

I always wanted to be a mother. I was one of those baby boomer girls, while growing up during the “second wave” feminist movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s, who felt that being a mother was what I wanted to do with my life. To me, choosing to be a mother – and a stay-at-home mother – was equally my right and choice along with any other choice being promoted at the time. I wasn’t a mother or a stay-at-home mother by default; I knew I could do and be anything I chose to be. It was my choice and one I do not regret.

When we found out I was pregnant with Eric, we were so excited. At the time, it wasn’t considered necessary to have an ultrasound, either to monitor the development of the fetus or to find out the sex of the baby. We decided to wait until the baby was born and let it be a surprise. It was fun to speculate on whether we were having a boy or girl. Quite honestly, we thought we might be having a girl and had a girl’s name picked out: Kirsten. (After Eric was born, Joe’s great-aunt asked us what we would have name the baby if it had been a girl…and then, obviously not crazy about our choice of name for a girl, promptly told us that it was a good thing we had a boy!)

Eric was due July 5th, and in the middle of June I had been put on bed rest because of high blood pressure. At the time, we lived in Southern California in our very first cute, little home…purchased without air conditioning…and were having an unseasonable heat streak during that time! Whew!! Was I ever hot and uncomfortable!! Miserable!! We would open all the windows at night to let the cool air in and close the curtains and windows first thing in the morning to keep the hot air out. By noon, it didn’t make any difference; it was just plain hot indoors and out.

I went to my regular doctor’s appointment on June 28th and was told that it would probably be at least two weeks before the baby was born, that the baby was still high and hadn’t dropped, no signs to indicate labor was close at all, first babies usually are late, etc. I cried all the way home and pleaded for God’s mercy!

I went into labor first thing the next morning, six days before my due date. Needless to say, my doctor was very surprised to hear from me! Eric was born that evening via C-section (he was in distress because the chord was wrapped around his neck), 7 lbs, 11 1/2 oz. Beautiful, perfect baby boy. We were absolutely ecstatic!!

Jason followed three years and one month later, 9 lbs. 10 1/2 ounces, also six days before my due date. Our doctor had agreed to try a V-back (vaginal delivery following C-section), which not very common and was considered a high risk delivery at the time, as long as the baby didn’t get any larger than an estimated 8 pounds. (My doctor ended up teaching not too long after Jason was born and used my delivery as an example of a successful V-back.) Everything went really well and Jason was born early on the morning of July 29, 1982 with minimal medication during the delivery. Beautiful, perfect baby boy with auburn hair. What a wonderful, busy bundle of sunshine and love!!

Jenna was born two years minus two weeks later. Once again, we chose not to know the sex of the baby. People asked us over and over, “Aren’t you really hoping for a girl since you have two boys?” And we would answer – with total honesty – that it didn’t matter to us whether it was a boy or girl as long as the baby was healthy. The first thing Joe said, though, after Jenna was born was, “We got our girl!” When I said something later to him about it, he hadn’t even realized he had said it. I think in his heart he was hoping for a girl, but would have been equally happy with a boy. And what a daddy’s girl she was – and still is! We were so happy to be parents of our two beautiful boys and our beautiful baby girl!

Two and a half years later we lost a baby in utero at 19 weeks. We don’t know why the baby died, but it did. It was just one of those things that happen in life.

People had told me before Eric was born that I wouldn’t believe how much love a person could feel for his or her children when they are born and as he or she watches them grow. They told me it was so much larger than I could ever imagine.

They were right! Sometimes I felt like my heart couldn’t contain so much love for my children and joy at watching them grow. I rejoiced with every joy they felt. My heart also hurt with every hurt they felt. The “mama bear” rose up in me, wanting to protect them from every slight, every nightmare, every meanie or mean thing that tried to hurt my precious kiddos. I wanted – and still want – the absolute best for them!!

I will admit that Mother’s Day is not an easy day for me. On one hand, I feel so incredibly blessed to have given birth to three beautiful, healthy children. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to stay at home with my children, homeschool them, and watch them grow and learn. I love spending time with Jenna, Eric and our grandkids. I celebrate the adults Eric and Jenna have become. I love them with my whole heart and I celebrate being their mother.

On the other hand, I would rather fly under the radar and skip Mother’s Day entirely because it hurts. It emphasizes and spotlights holes in our lives. It emphasizes what was and will never be again. I miss my boy so much – Jason should be here, alive and well, living his life to the fullest. Neither my mom and nor Joe’s mom are with us, and so Joe and I belong to the “motherless son” and “motherless daughter” crowd – we have no mothers here on earth to whom we can wish Happy Mother’s Day. As a fellow blogger, author Marcy Blesy, said in a recent post, I feel a little fractured on Mother’s Day.

I am, however, always a mother first and foremost – and I am very glad to be one. I fiercely love my children with my whole heart. I will always want, hope and pray for the best for them. I am a mother to four children. I know that I will see Jason again and meet the baby we never got a chance to know on this earth. I also know that I will see my mom again.

On this Mother’s Day, my thoughts and prayers are for those who are missing their mothers, for those whose lives don’t exactly fit into the Hallmark card moments, for those who desperately want to have a baby and are encountering struggles in fulfilling their dreams, and for those who are missing their children who are no longer with them.

© 2012 Rebecca R. Carney

17 thoughts on “Always a Mother

  1. Thank you for sharing your blog with the world. I’m so glad I found it recently. Holiday’s are so very difficult. They will never be complete for us. I’ll be thinking of you today on Mother’s Day. You are right……you will always be a mother…..forever…..

  2. I really enjoyed learning more about your family with this post, Rebecca. You are an amazing woman in so many ways. Sharing about the loss of a baby in utero was new information to me, and that alone must have been devastating. I hope you were surrounded by love today. You are such a dear! Debra

  3. I’m so sorry there was no one for you to share your heart with when you needed it most. Thank you for your courage now to be transparent so that other broken hearts have a place to find help.

  4. This year was my first Mother’s Day without Zack. ‘Fractured’ is a good word for it. On the one hand, you know that your living children need to be able to acknowledge you. On the other, it is absolutely torturous. I never know whether to feel glad to know that I’m not alone or sad that this happens enough that I’m not alone. Maybe it’s a little of both. All my best to you, as well as to your husband who has his own fractured day coming up.

  5. Rebecca, this is such a wonderful post. Do you mind if I share it on my blog tomorrow? I was planning to post a photo-journal post recapping my first Mother’s Day. I’d also like to feature a selection of blog posts written about Mother’s Day.

  6. What a courageous, heartfelt post. I am undone. I can’t even imagine the crushing pain you experienced with the loss of your children but I thank you for letting us “in”. My heart breaks for you.

    I very much appreciate your explanation at the beginning: “To me, choosing to be a mother – and a stay-at-home mother – was equally my right and choice along with any other choice being promoted at the time.well-articulated beginning.” What a wonderful choice – your family is very blessed to have you.

  7. Hi! followed you over from a like on my own blog. I wanted to let you know I can identify with your story and your grief from two perspectives. As you likely know, we lost our own first born child, a son name Evan at 42 weeks gestation from a cord accident; however, 5 months before that I also lost my 14 year old cousin, my Aunts daughter to a drunk driver. She was walking down the street to meet her friends when she was struck on the shoulder of the road, 2 doors down from her own home by a car full of drunk teenagers. Her names was and is Satara Annick Steeves. It has been nearly 5 years and her mother, father and brother have still not been able to find a place in the world without her in it. Our family has suffered immensly, and so we all know to intimately the pain of burrying a child. It truly is a sorrow no parent should ever have to know. You are so correct when you say it is infathomable how deeply a parent loves their child, the force of that love can move mountains..I have a 2 year old and even with all the loss I have already faced; I just can’t bring myself to image a world without her in it, I am not sure I could breath without her.

    Thanks for sharing your story.


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