My husband and I had been married (and together) for 3 years when we experienced our first pregnancy loss. In those three years I had gotten to know my in laws fairly well, but of course I did not know them the way I knew my own family. As I had predicted, my own family was extremely involved and supportive after my loss (as best as they could be). This was unchartered territory for them (for us all) but the love they showed toward us at that time was unwavering. When it came to my in laws, I honestly was not sure what to expect, as this was the first real challenge we had faced since joining families.
About two days after our loss, I received a text from my sister in law. She wrote how sorry she was to hear about what had happened and that she was there for me if I needed anything. I of course was super appreciative and replied with gratitude. Her response still stands out as the most powerful and loving words that anyone had said to me at the time (and still to this day!). She replied: “we moms have to stick together. Though you don’t have your baby with you, you are a part of the mom club now”.
Seeing as how at the time I did not have any living children, the words “we moms” took my breath away. Up until that point, not one single person had acknowledged me as a mother. Truthfully, I had not even acknowledged me as a mother; not out loud anyway.In that moment, as I read those words “mom” on my phone, I realized the truth. And I started to cry. Though I had shed many tears over the two previous days, these tears were different. They were not flowing from a place of loss but rather from a place of love received.
Being called a mother made me feel seen. It made my grief real and simultaneously made the love for what could have been real. It had made the dreams I had envisioned, though now out of reach, more tangible. Those words, made my experience real. I was a mother, and I had been seen. My sister in laws words held me up over the next few months and carried me as we decided to try and conceive again. With each negative pregnancy test and a through a second pregnancy loss, my sister in laws words stayed with me. I was a mother—the most significant title I have ever held. Regardless of the number of babies I held in my arms.
I am not even sure if I ever articulated to my sister in law how powerful that text was to me. But I can say, it changed the way I viewed myself and other women who have lost. It shaped how I supported others in their journey and I can honestly say, that text was a pivotal moment in my journey after loss. You are a mother to each child your body carried, no matter for how long. We are mothers. So to you, I say “we moms have to stick together. You are a part of the club now”