As with any change in life, whether it’s joyous or tragic, it brings a new normal. Not every event in life causes there to be a tremendous change, but there are certainly adjustments. Whether it’s moving into your own space, getting married, adopting a pet, or having a baby. To getting a divorce, filing for bankruptcy, losing a child, spouse or parent, or getting fired from a job. While some of these events may seem more extreme than others, they still happen every day.
My new normal has been a struggle since Penelope was born. I rejected the thought that I had to have a new normal. I didn’t want a new normal. I wanted the normal that I had been expecting the past nine months leading up to Penelope’s birth. I wanted the normal of learning to juggle motherhood with the other responsibilities on my plate. Creating the balance of priorities: God, my husband, my daughter, myself. My new normal is learning how to function all over again with what’s missing. However, my new normal isn’t just about returning to daily responsibilities and tasks, it’s trying to figure out my identity. I had a baby, therefore, I’m a mother; but my baby died, so am I still a mother?
The Childless Mother
Who am I?
I lost my only child
And now I’m at a loss
Loss of identity
Loss of joy
Who am I?
How can I be a mother without a child?
My friends and family view me as a mother, but society doesn’t since I don’t have a physical child in my arms. There’s that awkward pause when I’m asked how many children I have. Do I explain I have a daughter who died or do I say I don’t have any living children, hoping they don’t inquire further? It’s never an easy question for me to answer, I never quite know what to say.
Just as a new mom is stepping into her new role, I’m learning the same role just on different terms. That maternal instinct is still there, that mama bear who is ready to protect and fight for her family. A chord was struck inside me when I learned Penelope had died and it forever changed me. I'm still the same person, but now I carry a broken heart that will never completely heal. With time the pain will lessen, and like a wound it will scab, but it will never scar. I say it won't scar because at anytime that scab can be ripped off and the pain will feel as it did March 10th. Fresh and raw.