I don't often post about Adrian, my stillborn little boy, but that does not mean that I don't think about him every day. I find it hard to write about him. He belongs more in my thoughts than in my everyday life, and the people that I hang out with don't know much about my past, and about my pregnancy with him, about losing him. Since he came into my life and left, I have moved to a different city, got a different job, had two more children, and the hospital in which he and Emma were born was completely demolished and the ground is now bare.
I also don't allow myself to feel the pain of losing him too often. I worry that I am suppressing that part of my life a little too well. I touch his urn every day, and once in a while I remember his limp body, his tiny chest, his vulnerable neck that I wanted to kiss but would have had no room to do so as it was so small. Everything about him small, fragile, lovely, sweet, and tiny baby-ish.
I am his mother, perhaps (one could argue) in a different way than I am Emma and Daniel's mother, but still there is no doubt in my mind that I am his mother. Mothering, I feel, is a way of being, not really something that I do. I feel protective, loving beyond belief, courageous, firm, I feel like nothing can get in the way of what I perceive as being the best path for my children, and I am fearless regarding what would happen to me when it comes to protecting them.
I know that mothering Adrian is quite different from mothering my toddler Emma, but hey, mothering Emma is different from mothering baby Daniel too. They all have different needs. Adrian needs to be remembered and prayed for and held softly and gently in my heart forever. Emma needs lots of things, but mainly attachment and security and a happy environment in which she can thrive. Daniel needs lots of food, and warmth, and a dry clean diaper, and to touch my face and pull my hair and giggle with me. I honestly just do the best I can for every one of my children, but I do not feel any less of a mother to one than to the other two.
I am writing this because I know that some women have not had living children after their stillborn babies, and because I would have wanted to know whether I was any less of a mother than a woman who has living children. Having been blessed with having both sides of this experience, this is my take on things. Once you bond, you are a mother, and bond you will, whether the baby is born alive or not. For a little stillborn boy or girl, you want to do your best to make sure there was no suffering, you tell them and show them your love, you look after their body with care and reverence and take great pains to make sure that their memory is kept alive. You never forget them, and you don't allow those who love you to forget your son or daughter either. There are another hundred big and little things that you do that I am leaving out now, because I know I don't need to continue. It is the love that makes one a mother, not the presence or absence of the child on her lap.