bereavement · Childbirth · childloss · grief · infantloss · Labour · miscarriage · pregnancy · stillbirth · Uncategorized

What Makes a Mother?

I was blessed yesterday with the best gifts for Mother’s Day that I could possibly wish for. I woke up to homemade cards that Cora and Maisie had ever so lovingly created with the help of their teachers at school and their daddy; I was treated to cake and cuddles in bed with my little loves, and I had the endless presence of eternal love from my little boy.

It goes without saying that yesterday should have been better, but under the circumstances it couldn’t possibly be. My son should have been here too, but he couldn’t be, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change that.

If I could walk to the stars to bring Otis home, just for one day, I would.

I understand that I won’t ever have a ‘normal’ Mother’s Day again because there will always be an Otis shaped piece of my heart missing & no one will ever be able to fill that void. While I would give the world and more to have him here with us, nothing is going to change what has happened …

So yesterday, today, and every day for the rest of my life I will thank my lucky stars that I ever had him here in the first place.

I am thankful for the 35 weeks and 1 day I got to carry this beautiful little boy within me before he grew his wings. I am thankful for the hundreds of kicks I felt, as he gave me constant reminders of the gift of his life. I am thankful for the stretch marks he has left upon my stomach as his own permanent sketch of what was once a beating heart, that are as individual and as unique as the fingerprints that eternally hold a piece of my soul.

I am thankful that he allowed me to get to know him so well as I carried him, maybe knowing that I’d never watch him grow. I am thankful for the numerous times he had me head over toilet being sick, telling me he didn’t like what I was eating, because I now know my little boy would have had a savoury tooth instead of a sweet one. I am thankful for the calmness he showed when I listened to Dock of the Bay, as it became the song we lowered his coffin to, putting him to bed for the final time – almost as though he knew I would need that guidance. I am thankful for his cheeky character and the numerous times during my pregnancy that he decided not to move for a few hours, as it resulted in scans that enabled me to see him alive as he was growing.

I am thankful for the 3 days I got to spend cuddling and kissing him in the hospital after he entered the world sleeping, because however short seventy two hours may seem, it is a million times better than none. I am thankful that I got to have his head rest on my chest as I nuzzled his fuzzy hair and read him the one and only bedtime story I would ever get to read to his physical being. I am thankful for the hundreds of kisses I got to plant on his perfect little button nose, as my lips will forever harness the smoothness of his skin.

I am thankful for the things that have caused a broken heart and a river of tears; the things no mother or father should ever have to experience. I am thankful for being able to see beauty where I once only saw pain; the sunshine behind the clouds and the daffodils amongst the weeds … I am somewhat thankful for the devastating change I saw in him between his birth and his burial, simply because it meant I had that precious time with him. I am thankful for the spec of blood that fell from his nose that I couldn’t quite wipe in time, as it’s now a beautiful little mark of his DNA on his unwashed babygrow. I am thankful for being able to get him changed in to his burial outfit, as it was the only one time I got him dressed. I am thankful for being able to wrap him up warm in to his fluffy blanket that I cuddled for the week leading up to his birth when I said goodbye to him, as I know he has a physical part of me with him wherever he is now.

I am thankful for the tears I saw fall upon his cheek as I kissed him for the very last time, as I know they were only falling because of my sheer love for him. I am thankful for the feeling of coldness of his skin as I held his hand, closed my eyes and told him not to be scared, because I needed him to hear that and I  was given the chance to say it to him. I am thankful for this pain, as I know it only hurts so much due to the immense love I have for him.

And now, I am thankful for his resting place as I have somewhere to visit him. I am thankful for him putting his trust in me to have him live through me. I am thankful for his presence as he guides me on this journey. I am thankful for the people he has brought to me, and taken me to, because I wouldn’t be coping without them. I am thankful for him visiting his big sisters in their dreams and telling them that he’s okay. I am thankful for the candles that keep their flame when big gusts of wind should extinguish them. I’m thankful for the fall of single white feathers from the sky as the girls marvel at their brother’s magic for coming to visit.

To put it simply – I am thankful for him, and I always will be.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat, every last perfectly painful moment, if it meant spending even a single second with my son. My children are my world, and I’m truly the luckiest mummy walking the Earth to be theirs.

And, to me, this is what makes a mummy. Not the number of children you carry in your arms, but the number of children you carry in your heart. Not the fullness of a womb or home, but the fullness of your heart. Not the presence of a hand wrapped around your finger, but the presence of a hand wrapped around your soul.

Happy Mother’s Day for yesterday – to those who have children in Heaven as well as on Earth; to those who never got to hold their baby, and to those who did but had to say goodbye; to those who have empty arms but a full heart; to those who haven’t yet carried a child but yearn to, and feel the love of a mother for their pending child already; and of course, to those who only know the happiness of motherhood – the women around the world who are lucky enough to experience only the joy of having all their children here in their arms and bask in the wonderfulness of raising their children so well … you are all amazing.

Cora and Maisie, thank you for making me a mummy and showing me the true meaning of love when you came in to the world five years ago. Otis, thank you for teaching me how to spread that love so far that it spans the gap between the Earth and the stars.

I love you all, unconditionally.

Natalie_Oldham_Otis_Cullen_005

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