Monday, May 13, 2013

Well, That's Over.

Yeah, Mother's Day.

It's a weird thing, to have a day set aside for celebrating motherhood when my own motherhood is a 50/50 split between grief and joy.  Celebration just feels uncomfortable and inappropriate.  I have so much to be grateful for, but the girl who made me a mom isn't here, and that will always be a cause for grief.

David wished me happy Mother's Day, and then we immediately focused on the baby, who was clearly jealous of all the attention designated toward mothers and therefore declared it to be Sick Baby Day and set about making herself feverish and flushed and the most pitiful little lump of baby I've ever seen.  All she wanted in the world was to be held by her mama.  Which worked out fine since it was a rough day and all I wanted to do was sit around and hold her.

David made breakfast (blueberry waffles) and then worked all day, transferring the chick'n sisters from the old house to the new house, where they actually have even more spacious diggs.  I loaded up the sick baby and ran a few errands with her strapped in the Ergo.  I felt bad taking her out and about, but we really needed groceries and she was perfectly content to sleep strapped to my chest.  I liked having her forehead within kissing distance for much of the afternoon.

I got some nice messages from friends, some of which were so nice they made me cry.  I listened to this, which also made me cry.

And then Zuzu went to bed and David gave me the card he'd retrieved from the old house and we had dinner together in the dining room (smoked salmon, asparagus, and wild rice with a big glass of wine).

It wasn't the worst Mother's Day I've ever had--not by a long shot.  But it was still heavy and emotionally loaded and full of sadness.  My days are full and my arms are full but my heart misses Eliza as fiercely as ever.

In fact, I long for her in a different way, now, because I have a sweet baby girl and my day to day life is busy with all the trappings of parenthood that were part of the loss I grieved when Eliza died.  I don't take these things for granted now, even though I do sigh and roll my eyes sometimes at the day to day minutia of it (washing bottles and pump parts in particular).  I'm busy chasing a baby and kissing a baby and making a baby giggle and mothering a baby and all of the sweetness that comes along with it helps to fill in some of the broken places of my heart.

In some ways, my early grief for Eliza was a whole lot of grief for myself--my life wouldn't be the way I'd hoped it would be, my plans had all fallen to pieces, my baby was gone.  Of course I missed her, intensely, obsessively, desperately, but sometimes that loss got mixed up in my devastation that this life-changing experience had changed me in all the wrong ways, and I'd lost my chance to be a mom--or at least to be a mom the way I had once envisioned it.

Of course we all know that one child cannot replace another, but it turns out the busy-ness of parenting CAN help to replace the absence of that busy-ness following a loss.  The grief of long, empty days and empty, aching arms subsided for me when this "rainbow baby" came into our lives.

But I'll never look at Zuzu's face without wondering what Eliza would have looked like.  I'll never pick out clothes for her without having a fleeting thought about the months I spent buying baby girl clothes for a baby girl who never wore them.  Zuzu has so many books in her nursery, but a handful of them have "This book belongs to... Eliza" printed carefully inside the cover.  I will always wonder what it would have been like for those two to grow up as sisters together.

I put Zuzu in the bathtub last night and handed her two little rubber duckies and as she babbled and splashed, I burst into tears because I wanted so much for there to be two of MY Baby Ducks in that tub together.

While I'm grateful to no longer mourn the loss of motherhood in the sense of day-to-day parenting a child, I'm now and forever mourning the loss of my firstborn baby girl.  Mother's Day is hard for me.  I ache not because I didn't get to be a "mom," but because there will always be a baby girl I never got to know.


  1. I thought of you so many times yesterday. I thought it might be a difficult day. Hope sweet Zuzu is feeling better soon and that today gives you a reason to smile.

  2. Oh the ache for the one who is missing hurts so much. I hope mama snuggles helped Zuzu feel better.

  3. Brooke you have me crying once again. I thought of you yesterday and your sweet girls, BOTH of them. At Mass going through prayer intentions one was all the mothers who have lost a child and are missing them, especially on Mother's Day. I had to wipe away tears as I thought of you and many grandfather who lost his wife and first born many many years ago to eclampsia, my neighbor who lost her third baby (her first son) at 7 months pregnant 8 years ago and many others.

    Thinking of you.


  4. Of goodness Brooke, nearly word for word this post could express how I felt yesterday.

    I know this is my first mothers day with Theo, and it's all still very fresh as to what a living baby has done to my life, but mothers day didn't pan out yesterday. And maybe it never will. There's a sweet boy who made me a mother, and he'll never be present as the calendar years flip, May after May. And it is so painful.

    Mourning the lie that was once so meant to be... Yes, and yes. My Alexander wasn't perfectly planned, but my god, once he was on his way...did my life forever change. He so perfectly fit, and I couldn't wait to start a brand new everything with him in my arms, and in my life. Now - with Theodore - its different. Just so so different than be way everything had felt last year expecting Alexander. Going through the motions with this handful of a newborn, and at the same time, I'm getting to know this little fellow. And well...I can't help but feel oh so gutted by my loss all over again.

    So all the texts wishing me a "well deserved" mother's day... Yeah, they were hard. It's all really hard.

    I too hope Zuzu is feeling better. And I'm sending my love to you, remembering your sweet Eliza.

  5. "But I'll never look at Zuzu's face without wondering what Eliza would have looked like." - Just exactly this, Brooke. It's bittersweet, which is better than just bitter, but I think the missing will always be a big part of this day.

  6. Sorry, just reread my comment...and there are so many typos! Damn autocorrecting iPad!
    Mourning the *life*

  7. I too have that handful of books that say Evelynns name in them because my friend had people use books as cards for my baby shower with her. The sweet things that have there names on them:)

  8. That was beautiful, my friend.

    I agree on all accounts.

  9. I'm so very with you on this. Love to you.

  10. As usual, you express it so perfectly. (((hugs)))