Mothering is a collection of stories. In honor of Mother’s Day, we celebrate our collective journey— and acknowledge that within that collective journey, our individual experiences of mothering can differ widely. Some stories of mothering are threaded through with sadness, making Mother’s Day a complex sort of celebration. Bridgetown Baby client Saranna’s full story will be featured later this year in our Client Stories, but, in this snippet, she shares a moment of healing in the aftermath of loss, part of the arc of her growing family’s story.
After we lost our son Spencer at 20 weeks gestation, I felt I was stuck for a long time at a certain point in my grief—grief support groups didn’t feel welcoming; the things people said, however well-meaning, made me feel more alone, as if there weren’t room for the grief I was experiencing. And when our daughter Neha was born a year and half later, the way people spoke of her (“now you have your baby,” as if that could fill the hole left by Spencer’s death) made me feel fiercely protective of her; I didn’t want her to bear the burden of feeling like a replacement for the older brother none of us ever got to know. So I took that burden on, too—and felt even more alone.
But perspective and healing came in an unexpected moment in the kitchen one afternoon. Neha ran up to me, bursting with news.
“Guess what, Mommy? Mocha (our dog who had passed about three months earlier) and big brother Spencer are driving around in a big red car in heaven together.”
“Oh, wow, Neha—that’s neat. Can you tell me more?”
“No, it was just in my dream.”
“Oh, I see. Do you miss them?”
I asked her if she had more she wanted to share with me; she said no, and went running out of the kitchen as fast as she’d come in.
And I thought, ‘wow, just…wow. Here I am just cutting vegetables for dinner and, in a conversation that must have seemed so simple to her, she allowed me to experience my grief in a different way.’
In that moment, I suddenly felt that I didn’t have to hold all of the weight and responsibility of remembering this person, and honoring this person, and missing this person…Neha has integrated it seamlessly and lovingly into her story; the weight can be shared. It was as if my heart said, “I don’t have to bear this burden alone. And everyone’s going to be okay.”
~as told to Bridgetown Baby doula Brita Johnson