I’m reading this book right now, Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker. I stumbled across this beautiful book in the most random, yet most perfectly orchestrated way. The timing was perfect, because when I discovered it, the book’s author was in the final stages of assembling a small launch team to help publicize the book. Again, in the most random, yet most perfectly orchestrated way I was honored with being invited into this special club of strong and talented women to help bring this book to the masses. I was thrilled because I was seeing this opportunity through the lens of the Executive Director of Love Surrounds. I saw the whole thing as a vehicle for bringing a valuable resource to women hurting from miscarriage and building a beautiful new partnership for Love Surrounds.
Then I started actually reading the book. In the first chapter, entitled Among the Fields of Gold the author writes about her second loss. She describes looking at a dead fetus on an ultrasound screen, measuring weeks smaller than he or she should have been.
She goes onto explain how perhaps “the only thing worse than carrying a dead baby is finding out you’ve been carrying a dead baby while blissfully unaware.” She says “I felt like a giant naïve fraud of a mother who’d been prancing around gleefully pregnant while in actuality my body was a walking death sentence.”
Cue waterworks! This is where I lost it, a dozen pages in and this woman who I have never met, who wrote this book far, far away at her desk on the other side of the world, had broken into my personal thoughts and silent prayers and used them for her book. I dropped my Kindle on the bed and bawled and bawled and bawled some more. I couldn’t read anymore for a while. When I started reading again, I didn’t get much further, I just kept reading these few pages over and over. I am SLOWLY moving through this book, which is forcing me to realize just how SLOWLY in general, I am moving through my own personal grief and acceptance of my story to motherhood.
There are pieces of my story that I have journaled until my fingers hurt, talked about with Jeff into the early morning hours, processed through, prayed over, and accepted. However, I am realizing there are also parts that I have buried. I was drawn to Adriel’s description about feeling like a “giant naïve fraud of a mother” because I remember walking around feeling like that for years in between our first three losses. I felt like an idiot when other women would talk about “knowing” the moment their child was conceived. I would read other women’s stories about the deep connection they made with their unborn child from the moment they saw the positive pregnancy test in their hand. I assumed I would never become a mother because I couldn’t even tell if my child was dead or alive. I remember feeling like a giant liar when I would let myself reflect back on the moments leading up to the actual day I was faced with blood in my underwear, or the image of my empty uterus on an ultrasound screen. I could remember the multiple times I had shared my pregnancy with someone or had Googled baby names or mentally planned for future events around the reality of having an infant to account for. All the while, carrying a dying or dead baby inside me, not the growing, thriving baby I pictured when I woke up every morning, naively imagining the life developing inside of me.
When I was pregnant with Kamden, and then Carter, and eventually Cooper, I remember each day after about the 19th week mark feeling absolutely magical! I was in awe of my body’s ability to work just how it was supposed to. I felt like an old, run down house that had been scheduled for demolition. But then, just in the nick of time had been swooped up by a creative and radical investor with the ability to see the potential behind the broken windows and cracked foundation.
On the day of each of my baby boy’s births, I felt like I was on one of those remodeling shows when the family returns home to see their renovated house turned into a home. I knew I was going to meet them, but it wasn’t until they were crying loudly in my ear that I was able to believe they were mine. I could finally believe I hadn’t been the “giant naïve fraud of a mother” I had felt like for the last nine months. Even now, as a mother of three children, ages 9, 7, and 2 that bully of a whisper haunts my ears, and I have to touch their hand or smell their hair to remind myself they are really here.
If you are a mother who has ever had the unfortunate experience of learning you were not the blissfully unaware happy pregnant woman you thought you were, I am sorry. My heart grieves with you, and if we were sitting across from one another right now, I would hug you long and hard. I would let you cry, or yell, or swear, or pray, or do whatever it was you needed to do. I would not let you believe, not for one moment, that you were a “giant naïve fraud of a mother”. That my friend, would be a burden I would not let you carry.
I was not a fraud, Adriel was not a fraud, and you are not a fraud. We are all just women whose hearts didn’t want to let go.
My journey to motherhood and the journey of mothering everyday teaches me new things all the time. Of those many lessons, one of the biggest is that I am not a fraud of a mother, no matter how I became a mother, nor how I choose to mother my earthly babies. All of us moms got here in different ways and all of us do the daily work of mothering differently. Not one of us is a fraud, we are just unique.