This is a question that crossed my mind (several times) from the time I started trying for a baby and after we lost Isaac and Faith. I felt ‘life was not fair’ each time I realised some people that didn’t want children had them without trying. I thought at least people like me that really desire these babies should have them.
There was one question I hated being asked especially when I did not see it coming ‘do you have any children’? At first, the response not at the moment seemed fine. But after the loss of both my children, the answer was not that simple. I remember attending a wedding some years ago and as we were waiting in the queue to get some food, my husband and I were chatting with another couple. Out of nowhere this dreaded question popped up. At first I said, no then I said yes, then I said it is a long story and briefly narrated my tale. And then there was silence. I have come to an understanding that either a yes or no response is alright and I should not feel obliged to talk about my loss if I choose not to. Sometimes, I give a no response when I do not want to disclose that part of my life, talk about it or feel the other person may not understand nor appreciate what has happened to me. I noticed some people ‘chose’ to forget or disregarded my babies (they behave as if they never existed and call my third born my first child). On the other hand, there were times I wanted to talk about either Isaac or Faith and sometimes both. So on those occasions, I would say yes, I had a son or son and daughter but they are no more. It is hard enough for people to digest the fact that you lost a baby, when you mention you lost two babies, it is another dynamic altogether. Hence, I had to weigh every situation and decide on my response to this question. Nowadays I just say I have two children unless I meet someone who has been through this experience before.
Based on my experience, I came to the realisation that the absence of my babies did not make me any less a mum. Although some people did not consider me to be a mum, I came to believe that once a mum, you are always a mum, even though Isaac and Faith were no more.
Secondly, the term ‘mother’ is broader than most people actually perceive it. Hence, the following are some categories of motherhood:
Birth mother Spiritual mother Foster mother
Adopted mother Mothering role
I came across an article that highlighted the fact that ‘Moses’ in the bible had three mothers (his biological mum, his adopted mum (Pharaoh’s daughter) and his sister Miriam (who took care and watched out for him).
Fostering was something we considered even before Isaac came along and we also would have looked into adoption peradventure we had a long delay. I am blessed to have so many spiritual children and sometimes I forget that I am a spiritual mother and just as I care, pray, look out, teach, guide, play with, counsel my biological children so likewise I should do the same for my spiritual children. In case you are still awaiting your biological children, it is possible to be a ‘mother’ through other means and still find fulfilment.
You already have the seed (put there by God) to be a mum, so do not let you or others decide you are not a mum!