Monday, November 1, 2010

Mothering You

Dear Stevie,

This weekend I had the chance to meet a really amazing woman for lunch. Her name is Sherokee Ilse, and she’s the author of Empty Arms, which is actually the book the hospital sent me home with when you died. But she does way more than write books; she’s pretty much been a crusader for the pregnancy/infant loss cause since her son, Brennan, was stillborn 28 years ago (three years before I was even born!) She has been such a strong voice for survivors of pregnancy/infant loss, and really, has completely changed the type of care women receive from hospital staff. I personally had a pretty wonderful delivery experience (I mean as ‘wonderful’ as it could possibly be, under the circumstances), and that is largely thanks to Sherokee’s work. 

So anyway, to have the opportunity to meet her was really special for me. I was honored that she would take time out of her busy schedule to sit down and talk with me, listen to the dreams I have, and offer so much support and guidance. It was amazing to talk face-to-face with someone who not only “gets” the pain of losing a baby, but also more than understands the driving passion I have for making a difference in this community. Someone who, like me, sees themselves as a “woman on a mission.”

At one point during our nearly three-hour conversation, Sherokee talked about her work over the last 28 years has, in a sense, been her way of “parenting” her son. I just love that thought. And I think it's so true. Throughout my pregnancy with you, totally went into "mothering mode." When you died, my new role as a mother, a parent, didn't die with you. And it still hasn't gone anywhere. I don't have other children to put my parenting energy into, so I had to find something to channel it into. At first it was blogging, then I started doing some baby name pictures for other moms, then of course Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope took off. 

As your mom, I don't get to rock you to sleep at night, or kiss your chubby fingers and toes, or dress you up in a little poodle costume for Halloween. But I'm still mothering you, in the ways that I can. In my heart, I know without a doubt that had you lived, you would have changed this world. Since you didn't get a chance to make a splash in this world on your own, I see it as my job to do it for you. To give meaning and purpose to your life. 

Just look around at this community, and it's obvious so many of us feel the same way. There are so many of us blogging, working on memorial baby name projects, starting nonprofits, participating in walks and 5ks, etc etc, etc. It's incredible, really. 

Incredible that as women, the desire to be a mommy to our babies is stronger than even death itself. 

I love you so much, Stevie. I am so proud to be your mom, and I promise to "mother" you for as long as I live. 

Love,
Mom

16 comments:

Franchesca said...

"Incredible that as women, the desire to be a mommy to our babies is stronger than even death itself."

simply beautiful.

Jennifer said...

Wonderful post, Kristin. Glad to hear you get to meet another BLM and an inspiring 'mentor'. Getting a chance to sit down and talk to another mother who's walking before us in this grief journey is an uplifting experience. It gives us perspective and hope. Like what you and Sherokee said, our way of 'parenting' doesn't stop when our babies died. It may be different from normal parenthood, but the motivations are similar - our children. We will continue to do good in honor of their brief but very meaningful lives. <3

Maggie said...

I think it's just awesome you were able to speak with her! I believe she has a video and her video was one of the very first things I watched after Alexandra died and of course, her book was one of the first I read. You are doing a great job at mothering Stevie. She's so lucky to have such a great Mommy who is making such a difference. XO

Angie said...

Beautiful post Kristen! I feel that my "mothering energy" is being put to good use as well.

xo

Stana said...

You just made me well up. I wish I could put down in words what I feel. But sometimes just reading your blog, I just keep nodding. This is exactly how I feel. I'm still active on pprom support group on BBC and it is my way of mothering, helping other women who are going through pprom (premature preterm rupture of membranes).
Stevie has such a wonderful and loving mum.

Courtney said...

Beautifully written as usual. <3

Erin said...

This is so wonderful! I'm glad you were able to talk with someone who I'm sure has been very influential to you in this journey and who has been such an important mentor and role model. So cool!

Jessica said...

Beautiful post and this
"Incredible that as women, the desire to be a mommy to our babies is stronger than even death itself." just says it all perfectly! <3

Rhiannon said...

I couldn't agree more about mothering our babies even though they are not physically with us. Beautiful post, as always!!

Tiffany said...

so beautiful! <3 and what an opportunity to meet her. Im so happy for you. hugs!

rebecca said...

Wow, as Francesca said that particular quote at the end was like a spark of truth! So perfectly and eloquently said!

pagesofunknown said...

Wow. I loved this post. I generally love the things you write, but this has by far been my favorite...

Megan said...

Just as Sherokee has made it better for us, I want to continue to break the taboo that was baby loss, for the mothers ahead of me. I think what you're doing with Faces is wonderful! Don't let anyone discourage you, and tell you your time, energy, and money should be put toward something more "important". You ARE being such a great mother to Stevie in what you are doing!

Kristine said...

That's so amazing! What an opportunity. You've become such an awesome advocate for this community and it's so inspiring to see you reach out to others that have lead the way.

Lori said...

What a really neat (though sad) opportunity to connect with her. I'm so glad you could.

I totally agree about mothering our children. I really hate it (though I bite my tongue because I know people mean well) when I hear about what a great mother I'll be or when Luke comes...blah, blah, blah.

I am a great mother. I have an amazing little boy named Matthew. I mother him every single day, in very many and different ways that 'other mothers' just can't even understand (thank GOD!) or know about.

Death doesn't sever a connection or a role...a mother's a mother. Period.
xoxo

Holly said...

Def feel the same! I still need to mother the daughter that isn't here with me as much as the ones that are. Sometimes it's hard to do.

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