The Heartache Of Motherhood

December 18, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone

“I carried you every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine.”
Afive months pregnant, I am laying on a hospital bed, eyes closed with my body pulsating, panging, and preparing to give birth.

I am induced. 

The contractions come unannounced, sporadically, and are unforgivable. I am not supposed to be here. He isn’t supposed to be coming yet. This isn’t supposed to be happening. 

This is the end. 

And this is how the story begins.

I have never imagined that my firstborn would live such a short life. I have never thought about the possibility of death. He didn’t even get to open his eyes or take his first breath. His mouth didn’t make a single sound, just a light thud of his body when I made my final push. 

Wasn’t every pregnancy a sign of new life? 

How do you accept death when life never had the chance to thrive? 

I have learned that birth and death could occur at the same time. I have seen it. I have lived it. I have done it. Felt it. It's in my bones. It has been more than a year later and it is still not clear as to whether to bless my son’s life as an entrance or a departure.

Yet, I have realized that birth and death are merely the same; they are transitions of the soul, the cycle of spirits. 

But, even with this wisdom, the pain still resides. 

Every time a pregnant woman walks past me, I wince. I hold my breath and release it when she is behind me. As if I have to turn away because the sight of her is a flash of trauma. Sometimes, I use her as wish - wishing that I was her. Sometimes, I speak to God, claiming that I deserve to be her. 

Every time that I pass by a father pushing a stroller, I try to take a peak behind the blanket to see if my son would be just as adorable, or better looking. It feels like a game, a tease. Then, I try to imagine how he would have looked and if I would have gotten the same stroller. I think to myself if whether I should get a stroller that is much smaller, maybe a little bigger? Or, something much the same. 

Would it be perfect, stylish even? Would it be easy to open and fold? Would it fit nicely into the car? There are so many babies on board that I often wonder if this is torture to our baby-less four door, five seater. 

"We have a baby, too," I cry. "He will always and forever stay a baby, too."

I walk into a bookstore - oh how there are books and books galore helping pregnant mothers, mothers and fathers-to-be, parents of infants, toddlers, adolescents, adult children. All of these books that tell you, if you do this, eat that, don’t eat these - that you’ll get pregnant in no time! Well, whatever I do, it’s not up to me. Just like how it’s not up to me to keep him.

The books about me and my son are hidden, unheard of, or found elsewhere. As if no one wants to talk about what happens when a pregnancy goes wrong. As if this motherhood doesn't exist. 

The world is overpopulated, but my home is empty. I feel empty. The sun and the moon goes in a circle, but a new day never seems to arrive. All I can think about is if I am going to survive another day. God, I just want to escape. There is this constant reminder of not being a mother, wanting to be a mother, and mothering an invisible child. My son would have loved this! My son would have looked so cute in that! 

My son will never get to... 

I wonder if I would have been a great mother. But from the undying and never easing, never ceasing love and sorrow, I know that without a doubt I would have been. There is no denying that I would have fed, clothed, changed, burped, kissed and hugged with every loving fiber of my being - every single day and night. I would have never let him go, like how every night I am consoled from the warmth of a teddy bear. 

I keep his things in boxes, as if he grew up and I kept his old things in the attic. I yearn to reuse them someday, yet, everything still has a tag. I wait for a baby to fill in the empty clothes. I wait for a baby to sleep in a crib that was made for a few months and has been unmade for who knows how long. 

I sit on a bench and wonder if still look like a mother. Does anyone know that I am a mother? Do you remember Elijah? I miss you, my little Elijah.

With love,

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