I choose to celebrate Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is a day I celebrated once I got married for two reasons: firstly as a mother figure to others and secondly due to the fact I had the potential and opportunity to now become one. However I found myself in a bit of a dilemma (did I qualify to be called a mum) when my trying to conceive period was longer than anticipated and after losing two babies in a row.

As we celebrate Mother’s day today, I have come a long way in my understanding of who a mum is.  Motherhood in my opinion can be biological, non biological and can be envisioned by faith before it becomes a reality in the natural realm. I learnt not to go with society’s label of whether or not I was a mum. I chose to be ‘happy’ each mother’s day and to celebrate with others although physically speaking I had no biological children.  Of course I longed for the day I would hear my children call me ‘mummy’ but my vision of being a mum kept me going, kept me joyful and kept me praising. In the meantime then I spent time preparing for motherhood (reading, asking questions, observing other mums, babysitting (not too often though) and planning) and pouring my life into my non – biological children.

Today, I classify myself as a mother to Isaac and Faith who are no longer here and to both my two sons who are still here.

Perhaps you too have lost a baby (ies) or you are trying to conceive, today is a day to celebrate in expectation of the children that are coming into your life and for the many lives you have encouraged, invested in, sown into, cared for, prayed into, given wise counsel and sacrificed for. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Celebrating Isaac and Faith

I have noticed that babies develop their personalities even from the womb and they are not born has’ blank slates.’ Even though I lost my babies, their memories cannot be erased from my life. I found out that whenever I talk with people who had young or grown children/siblings that have died, when the question of how children do you have or how many siblings do you have comes up, they do state they were xxx number before but xxx passed away. But for some reason, some people feel babies should not be counted. I believe mine were my flesh and blood, they were a part of us and they do count in our household although they are not with us. Whenever I think of Isaac and Faith, it is more in a positive light and I choose to celebrate their lives rather than mourn them as they are only ‘asleep’ and we will meet again.

How we choose to celebrate them

• Each year on their birthdays, we take time out to thank God for the short time we spent with them

• I have decided to fundraise and raise awareness on maternal and neonate causes each year

• We intend setting up a foundation in their honour

And regarding the question; what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4: 13 –14).

I believe my pain and loss can only be worth it when many lives are changed, preserved and challenged as a result of what I went through and my response to my circumstance.

Out of sight is not out of mind

Baby loss is an individual thing and the grieving process I have discovered varies from person to person and is not time bound as the loss is multidimensional. I find it interesting to note that some people indirectly felt I needed to forget about my past and ‘move on.’

On one hand there came a time when the initial pain I felt when we lost our babies was not an integral part of my life. However my babies are a part of my history and their handprints are all over my future.

Why I cannot forget my babies

  • Each time I come across another Isaac or Faith, I am reminded that these babies were once a part of our lives
  • Each time the time clocks 11: 12 am or 11:23pm, I remember the moment these precious lives made their entrance into our world
  • Each time I am asked how many children do you have? I remember the ones that once were
  • Each time it is my babies’ birthday, I remember that things could have been different
  • Each time I become pregnant and have a hospital appointment I have to recount my past medical history
  • Each time I come across children that were born around the same time as Isaac and Faith, I remember once more
  • Each time I hear another baby has departed, I recall being in the same shoes some years back

I am of the opinion that anyone who has experienced a baby loss does not remain the same. For some it breaks them and for others they metamorphose in various ways. My outlook of life after my loss is totally different.

What keeps me going?

  • The assurance that I would see my babies in the near future
  • My purpose in life
  • The fact that something good needs to come out of my pain
  • Others do not need to go through what I went through
  • My family
  • There are many in the same position I can reach out to
  • The presence of God

My loss has not disabled me but it has enabled me to fulfil my life purpose and hopefully to bring laughter, faith and optimism to many lives.

Trying to conceive (ttc)

Trying to conceive is indeed a difficult, hard, stressful, fatiguing, tiresome, wearisome, vexing, arduous, annoying, taxing, aggravating and exasperating time. Although my ttc times were not that long, I still experienced all of the scenarios listed above.  My situation was also compounded by the fact that I also had two losses and had to try again. Here are my thoughts on how I handled this time in my life.

1.       What is His take on this?

 Scriptures are laden with scriptures such as:

Psalm 113: 9 “He gives children to the woman who has none and makes her a happy mother.”

 Isaiah 54: 1 “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women.” God says so!

Hebrews 11: 11 “By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shrivelled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.

However when things in the natural seemed contrary (after losing Isaac), I had to get on my knees and inquire from God myself what His plans were for me with regards to being a ‘happy’ mother. And because He reassured me through His word and signs, it made my ttc period a bit easier to deal with.

2.       The role of prayer

Each time we tried to conceive (more so after our loss) we committed it to prayer. As I realised this was more than just a biological activity. I just poured our heart out andI was real with God. I spoke what I wanted knowing that He hears and responds. There is also a peace that comes after laying our burdens at His feet.

3.       Counsel

 The counsel from medics can also be beneficial. Having said that it was not everything they said we agreed with or took to heart. I found out that different medics had contrasting opinions in terms of when we could try again after our loss. We decided to go ahead when we felt we were ready to try again.

4.      Readiness

Before attempting to try again, I ensured I was physically well enough to proceed. I think readiness also involves the ability to keep going month after month even when conception ‘eludes’ one. We did not take a break as there was always the thought of what if it was going to happen and we had taken a break. However I think it is okay to take a break if deemed necessary.

5.       What’s faith got to do with it?

The one thing that kept me sane was my faith in God (Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see, Heb 11:1). This gave me the courage to hold on, keep trying, over look negative prognosis and comments.

6.       Mental preparation

I decided to go into Mother Care shortly after I lost Faith to buy any baby item as a sign that I would one day go shopping for my baby and make use of this item for my baby. Each time I felt low I brought out the item to remind me that one day, my baby would have this. I learnt to day dream and night dream of the day I would hold my baby, push him/her in a pram and experience all the wonderful things other mums take pleasure in.

7.       Thanksgiving

There was this song I sang over and over again and I still love it so much; I praise you, I praise you o Lord, in my life I see what you are doing, one more time, I lift my voice in praise of your name, I lift my voice in praise of your name. It served as a declaration of my hope and trust In God and of a beautiful ending.

I have always loved Sarah’s story in the bible and more so present day testimonies I hear all the time. I believe it does not matter how long one has been trying for, what the past history is, the woman’s age is, the physical, medical or spiritual barriers that exist when He says it is time, it indeed is time.

Why am I not a mummy?

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!

You are not alone!

When we lost our first son Isaac, despite a full term and straightforward pregnancy, I felt abandoned, alone and at that moment nothing else mattered. Like Gideon I asked ‘’if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?’’ It seemed no one understood and felt my pain.

As the months went by, I discovered that thousands of women before me have walked that path. As I reflected, numerous scriptures began to dawn on me.

  • Psalm 23: 4 (even when I walk through the darkest valley … he is close beside me)
  • Isaiah 43: 2 (When I pass through the waters, he is with me; and when I pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over me. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned;  the flames will not set me ablaze
  • Heb 13:5 ( he will never leave nor forsake me)
  • Psalm 86:7 (I will call to him whenever I’m in trouble/difficulty, and he will answer me).

Isaac went home over five years ago and indeed I can confidently say I know without a shadow of a doubt he loves me, his thoughts towards me are good and surely he has given me the future I hoped for and more.

God understands your pain, he is with you and your end would be full of joy. Let me leave you with this scripture he gave me as I lay on the hospital bed five days after we lost Isaac: do meditate on it till it sinks into your spirit.

So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you (Isaiah 41:10).

If you need to talk, or just want a listening ear, I am here for you.