On May 15, 2015 at 10:30am I adopted a new identity that I never saw coming – a bereaved mother. There aren’t even titles for us grieving moms, because losing a child should just never happen. It defies nature.
I was terrified to be “the mom who lost her baby” for the rest of my life. I didn’t want that identity – I didn’t want to admit to myself or the world that unfortunately, that was now my reality. I fought my new identity HARD, in fact, even when deciding on a name for this blog, I went back and forth about labeling myself the mother of a stillborn child aka, StillMama. I knew the world would label me, and I didn’t want that.
I could see it so clearly in my head, my friends would be talking to other friends who didn’t know me well and they would say, “you know, my friend Doreen, the one who lost her baby.” Just like they may have said in the past, “you know, my friend Doreen, the one who went to Saint Joe’s and has a son named Michael.” They mean no harm, but I didn’t want that identity. I wanted my baby……in my arms. I wished my reality was “you know, my friend Doreen, who just had a baby girl named Harper.”
Adjusting to this identity was and is very hard. I eventually stopped fighting it, and just let it be, because fighting it was exhausting and I barely had enough energy to get through the day. I realized that I actually had many labels such as a wife, mom, daughter, friend, marketing executive, therapist and aspiring coach. None of those labels had ever defined me in the past, so why would I let this one define me? I am still me, and I always will be.
With time I actually have come to terms with being the “one that lost her baby” because that means that someone still remembers my precious girl. With a stillborn baby, I can imagine others may find it easy to forget that we went through such an ordeal because no one had the chance to meet her, but let me assure you, she was very real, she was here, in my arms and she will always my second child, the one I think about every day all day. I won’t ever forget her, how could I? She holds my heart. If it helps keep her legacy going by having to adopt and own this new identity, then that’s what I will do. I will be StillMama every single day because she made an enormous impact on my life and I hope that I can pass that love and light forward to you. I hope I can one day be “my friend Doreen, you know, the one that changed lives through sharing her journey of grief and restoration.” I have big dreams for me and my girl. Watch us soar…..