Thursday, June 27, 2013

.am I a mom?

Handling people who don't know Evelyn's story is difficult. A fellow loss mom, Sarah Muthler, put it best, "Telling strangers about my stillborn daughter often leaves me feeling like I’ve punched them. They cry. They try to shuffle away from me. I end up apologizing." I feel the same way about telling my story.

I work a second job at Anthropologie a few nights a week. It's a great little job - a few extra bucks and an incredible discount. I stopped working there a few weeks before Evelyn was born because I couldn't bend over and be on my feet that long. I recently decided to go back and I end up working with a lot of new faces. None of them know about Evelyn. I am not sure they ever will.

When we are closing the store down there is typical girl chatter - guys, traveling, weight loss, other jobs, etc. Sometimes I just want to be able to chime in with a "oh my gosh I know, I just had a baby and I'm trying to lose 15lbs" or  a simple "when I was pregnant..." story. But I know there will be follow-up questions. "How many kids do you have? how old is she? can I see a picture?" It's not easy handling people's reactions to a dying baby.

It is also difficult to share stories with people who aren't my best friends or family, but who do know about Evelyn. I can't talk about my pregnancy without also talking about death so I don't talk about it at all. There are several newly pregnant women in my office along with a few women who are about to pop any day now! When someone is sharing their story about their experiences - I want to chime in. I know how it feels to be 8 months pregnant. I also know how it feels to give birth to a 6lb baby. I wish we could commiserate together on how annoying heartburn is or how weird it is to feel your baby moving around inside of you. I wish I could tell them how I loved being pregnant and how lucky they are. It just doesn't seem appropriate coming from me though.

I can't contribute the same way other moms can without feeling like I would make others uncomfortable. Because of this, I don't always feel like I am a mom. 

I know in my heart I am a mom. It's hard to say it out loud though. And I typically don't. I fear that if I do refer to myself as one, strangers might ask more about it. I also fear that people who do know my story will look at me like I have two heads because they know my baby died inside of me. 

Webster Dictionary defines a parent as the following:
a : one that begets or brings forth offspring

b : a person who brings up and cares for another

I did beget (procreate) but wasn't able to bring her forth.

I certainly cared for Evelyn, more than anything else in the world, but I didn't get a chance to "bring her up".

So by definition, I am...sort of a mom. 
Do other people define me as that as well? 

I had every intention of bringing her up and bringing her forth. I wanted to give her every ounce of my love and I was going to put every last penny towards making sure she was going to be happy and healthy. 
Doesn't that count?

I sure hope so. I may not be your typical parent but I know I am Evelyn's mom.


  1. Hi Colleen,
    I stumbled across your beautiful blog through Still Breathing...and her's through still standing magazine. I am so sorry for your loss. I have had similar thoughts to the one's you have reflected on here. Am I really a Mum? Our little Isaac was born on April 29th and passed away 20 minutes later, a few weeks before Mothers day here in Australia. My family were wonderful and really honoured me that day and there have been a few friends who have said you are a Mumma Lauren...but I still feel a bit uneasy about's hard to explain isn't it? I'm a childless parent, but a parent non the less...I don't know what it's like to have to get up at 2am to feed but I did nurture my baby for 7 and a bit months. I really like the quote you finished with
    You are Evelyn's Mom xxx Thanks for sharing your story xx

    1. Hi, Lauren!

      Ugh. That is a devastating loss. It is so tough explaining that we are childless parents but you are absolutely right, we are parents nonetheless. I am Evelyn's mom and you are Isaac's mum. I started to follow your blog and look forward to hearing more about you and your journey through the sadness. We can all give each other hope when we are feeling hopeless.

      I am thinking of you guys. Stay strong!

  2. ❤And I look forward to reading your journey too, it is helpful for us to encourage each other because out of everyone we're the closet people who 'get it' much love xx