Motherhood and Grief
By Stephanie: (Still Standing Magazine)
Motherhood is hard. It is finding the will to get out of bed each morning after your baby dies. It is wrapping your breasts in cold cabbage leaves as your milk comes in to ease the pain of engorgement. It is snuggling your oldest child tightly and telling him that everything will be alright, even when you don’t believe it. It is forcing a smile at a knock-knock joke your 5 year old learned just to make you laugh, at the very moment grief threatens to swallow you whole. It is answering endless questions about death and dying through exhaustion and tears. It is folding laundry and putting away newborn clothes that you desperately prayed she would wear. It is listening to your daughter talk about how her bones hurt and her heart aches because she is the only living girl in a family full of boys. It is meeting her eye to eye and tear for tear, as she cries for what should have been.
Motherhood is modeling grief and being real. It is deciding to climb out of devastation and still be mom even when you would rather not. It is endless hugs and embraces while smiling through the pain. It is allowing joy to punch through the blanket of grief by turning up the music and dancing with the kids in the living room. It is listening to everything that your children need to say and reassuring them that grief has no time limits. It is finding the fortitude to discipline even though your world is falling apart because your kids need some kind of normal in the midst of chaos.
Motherhood is love. It is sheer willpower not to give in to the dark abyss that threatens to swallow you most days. It is putting others in front of yourself because your children don’t need to loose their mother as well as their sister. It is speaking your daughter’s name aloud each day because you cannot bear to live in a world without hearing it. It is grasping at hope as a new pregnancy begins even as you are still grieving the baby who should be in your arms. It is talking openly about anxiety and reluctance of being too happy for too long because you are afraid you are somehow going to have to grieve all over again.
Motherhood is something that has forever changed me.