One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with on a daily basis since I lost my Frankie has been whether or not I am a real mother. Sometimes I meet new people and they ask me if I have any children, and it is always on the tip of my tongue to say “yes, but he died”. I am the kind of person who is thoughtful of other people and their feelings, so rather than make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, I always find myself answering “no”. But then afterwards I feel that saying no is disrespectful to Frankie’s memory, denying that he ever existed and denying my rightful place in the world as a mother. This is by far the biggest challenge I’ve had since losing Frankie.
I cannot deny the fact that I was pregnant with Frankie. I felt him grow and develop, he started kicking when he was inside me when I was 16 weeks pregnant with him, and those kicks became comforting and something I grew to love. I didn’t see the constant kicking as an intrusion, more of him wanting to say hello to me and saying he couldn’t wait to meet me. I sang to Frankie while he was inside me, read to him and told him about all the things we would do together when he was born and when he grew up. I wanted to introduce him to all the science fiction series I love, to look outside his immediate world, to ignore all the haters and people who would try to put him down and to do whatever made him happy.
But the reality is that, in my mind, I am not a mother. I can’t be a mother, because I don’t have my son with me. The title of mother is reserved for those privileged enough to actually have children, but not for me, with empty arms. So many of those who have children don’t deserve them and they don’t realise how lucky they are. I must have done something awful in a previous life to warrant my Frankie being taken away from me in such a cruel way, for me to get SO close to being a mother only for it to be snatched away from me. I used to work with Chris Tarrant, the presenter of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, and it was like on the show where a contestant would get to a certain level and had won thousands of pounds, Chris would write a cheque, wave it in front of the contestant, pull it away and say, “But we don’t want to give you that!” That’s how it felt, like I’d got so far with Frankie being put right in front of my face, only for him to be snatched away with someone like Chris saying, “But we don’t want to give you that”.
I can’t help but look at other mothers with envy; they don’t know how lucky they are to have their children safely with them. Due to my diagnosis of hyper fertility I cannot be certain that I will ever go down this road again. Yes I am having treatment for it, and I have more of a chance than I did before now I know what is causing my very early miscarriages, but it still isn’t guaranteed. NOTHING is guaranteed in this life, except for death and paying taxes. I have to accept the very real reality that I may never hold another baby in my arms that is mine.
I feel like there is no place for me in this world anymore. I never felt like I fitted in before I had Frankie, I certainly don’t feel like I fit in now. I so desperately want to scream and shout from the rooftops that I am a mother, but to save everyone’s feelings and to avoid awkward questions, whenever I am asked I simply say, “No, I have no children”. It breaks my heart every time I say it, and I guess they could find this blog, but it sure beats having those awkward moments and conversations if I were to say instead, “yes, but he died”.
In my heart, I am a mother. But to the outside world to those who don’t know me, I am not a mother, I never have been a mother, and I may never be a mother.
There are loads of websites and resources out there for those who have lost a baby or child but who have other children, either before or since that loss. There is nothing out there to help people like me, the empty armed mother, the woman who has to deny the existence of her baby or child in order to protect the feelings and spare the awkwardness that others may feel. I feel like I am in a limbo land, that I don’t belong to my past life before I had my precious Frankie, yet I don’t belong in this new life now that he’s an angel in heaven.
If there is anyone out there reading this who is in the same situation as me, I would love to hear from you and hear your thoughts and feelings about where you are in life now. Please email me via firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave me a comment on here.