Having a living child has given me a free pass into the "moms club". I swap baby gadget recommendations, baby food recipes, joys, and frustrations with other moms. I proudly carry my baby on my hip while walking through the store, or coo and giggle with her while we wait patiently in a line. I am one of them.
Some days it's easy to forget how it was before. When I was a mom, but not in the "moms club". And then there are days and times when it hits, and it hits hard.
I've been planning to attend a local baby wearing meeting tomorrow. At the meeting there is a whole library of different slings, wraps, and baby carriers that you can try, as well as educators that teach you safe ways to use the carriers with your baby. I'm not sure if you've seen the price of baby carriers, but I'm a big fan of getting a chance to try before I buy.
Being an introvert, I normally get some anxiety about going into new situations like this. It's hard for me to meet people and make small talk. Being a bereaved mom it's even harder.
When I first planned to go to the meeting I felt excited about getting some advice and help with ring slings, and even excited at the idea of spending some time with other moms and babies. And then I remembered my place in the mom world. I live on the bereaved mom side, and it can be full of anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. I began thinking about the inevitable questions...is this your first, how many other children do you have, how old are they? I thought about the uncomfortable conversation that starts and ends with, my firstborn daughter died. I thought about the inevitably crunchy moms that will be there sharing their natural birth stories, with talks of delivering at 41 or almost 42 weeks, home births and water births and the like. I thought about all my plans for Emma's birth, waiting and waiting so I could have that natural birth experience, and then I waited too long and she died.
Going and trying out a ring sling doesn't sound so fun anymore. Maybe all I need is to get these thoughts out and I will feel okay tomorrow. That's the thing with grief, you never really know. Tomorrow when it's time to leave for the meeting is when I'll know how I feel about it. I do stop and think about the mom that has lived through loss and it too afraid to tell someone else, or feels like she doesn't have anyone to talk to. Maybe she's there waiting for me, waiting for me to be brave enough to say those terrible words out loud. And if she's not at the Monday baby wearing meeting then she's out there somewhere in the world. I can't hide out forever, maybe it's time to be brave.
If you are not a bereaved parent and you are reading this, you may say: you are one of us, we are in this together, we are united by motherhood. And to you I say, I am so thankful you are so naive. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I mean I am so glad you don't know what it's like to be one of me. There will always be a difference. We are both mothers, but I am one kind and you are another. Thank you for not trying to make me be you, thank you for letting me be in my place, while sharing in yours.