“when you’re a mum you’ll understand“.. a knife right in the gut when this was said to me whilst I was pregnant with Leo. A flippant comment made with the best intentions and it still affects me when I think about it 6 months later. In that moment I wish I had screamed that I am a mum, in fact I’m a mum of 2!!! That in case you hadn’t realised my eldest child has a name and it’s Francesca, she existed, she wasn’t a figment of my imagination and the baby in my tummy also makes me a mummy, a mummy of 2 now, even though you cant see him and he’s maybe just a bump to you, to me he is my child and has been since the little pink lines appeared a few months before. I wanted to say that I understand anything you want to throw at me as I’m already a mum!!!But instead I sat there quietly, the tears stinging my eyes, too broken to say anything back.
The doubts ran through my mind that people don’t see me as a mum anymore because my child died and I cant be part of the mummy club. I had been brutally kicked out of that club now (as I once heard the gorgeous @Featheringtheemptynest so rightly put it on a podcast). Now I needed to sit there and be taught the meaning of motherhood, preached to even, about what its really like and that patronisingly, I could never possibly understand the meaning of what they were talking about as I wasn’t a mum. And what’s worse, I felt like she was saying it in a way that I should feel bloody grateful to hear the wisdom bestowed upon me from supermum here!! Those flippantly used few words, in a matter of speaking, made me feel absolutely and utterly SHIT! and worse than that, it made me feel embarrassed and confused.
I started to doubt if I really was a mum. It took me right back to that day, the day I had to leave Francesca in that cold hospital room as I left to go home. I don’t even have the words for the pain I felt but I remember getting to the main door past the sea of new baby balloons and proud dad’s carrying their babies home, the mums hobbling behind in pain and even though I was in more physical pain than I could bare I didn’t feel I had the right to acknowledge it the way those mums could, they had done their “job” right I hadn’t. I remember stopping in amongst it all and turning to Steven to tearfully ask “am I still a mummy now I couldn’t bring my baby here alive?”. Even though he assured me I was it took a long time to realise that I’m allowed to call myself a mum, and now a mum of 2. That this wee beautiful baby girl was the one who made my a mummy first and she’s more special than she will ever know. I hated that those few words made me doubt myself and make me feel less than them as a mummy because my baby died.
Now I understand that people don’t have any malicious intent when they say silly things. God i’ve been known to put my big size 8 feet in it (I’m 5.11 so I promise they look in proportion to my height)a few times over the years and like that I would never intentionally hurt anyone or mean to with my words or intent. But then on the other hand sometimes I sit there like “FFS” mate, seriously are these words seriously spewing from your mouth??know your audience before you come along and shit all over my day with your tripe!. There’s only so many times I can hear that they wouldn’t have meant it that way or that they don’t understand as they haven’t been through what we have before I run out of the empathy I have for the things we’ve had said to us.
A few examples are:
- •”I know its sad what’s happened but you need to look on the Brightside now ” – ok all better now thanks!
- “So what kind of deformity did she have?” – huh? run that by me again there doll?
- “What’s for you won’t go by you” – pretty sure she was for me, she was/is my everything
- “everything happens for a reason” – yes and I can rhyme the list of mistakes made from the midwives and doctors that provided that reason!
- •”is just fate” or “its meant to be” – what a cruel twist of fate then don’t you think?
- “you couldn’t understand how hard it is having 2 young children” – guess your right there ! thanks for that reminder!
- “Gods got a funny way of working” – Aye he’s a bloody comedian that god of ours!
- “I heard you had some trouble last year” – Trouble? It wasn’t like I had my car broke into or anything , my daughter died!
- “Wait until you experience labour” – pretty sure it was me in that room, in labour for over 36 hours in excruciating pain delivering my baby girl and then the episiotomy scars still pretty prominent “down there”!!NO? must’ve dreamt that then!
I could go on and on and on and on …and on but jeez we’d be here for days.
I recently spoke to a few other bereaved mummies who could more than relate to this struggle and some of the things they had said to them is just plain cruel and can’t be brushed off as just stupidity. It made me feel a bit better that they felt just as angry as I did every time they were assaulted by hurtful words, I wasn’t overreacting after all. There’s a whole army of us out there about to snap at the next well meaning Mary doll that crosses our paths to tell us that everything happens for that bloody reason!!
I’m hoping that one day I will become a stronger version of myself where I can get to a point where these words wont affect me at all. That I will be a better version of myself and be able to calmly respond gracefully to these individuals……or end up in the jail for assault (JOKE!)….only time will tell I guess….
As always for Francesca and Leo xxx