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To Moms Who Have Lost A Child

An essay
by Angela Miller

I have to tell you this. You didn’t fail. Not even a little. You are not a horrible mother.

You didn’t choose this. You didn’t want this to happen. You didn’t do anything wrong. It just happened. To you. Despite your begging, pleading, praying, hoping against all hope that it would not. Even though everything within you was screaming, no no no no no no no no no no!!!!

God didn’t do this to you to punish you, smite you, or to “teach you a lesson”. That is not God’s way. You could not have prevented this if you: tried harder, prayed harder, or if you were a “better” person. Nor if you ate better, loved harder, yoga-ed more, did x, y, z to the nth degree or any other way your mind tries to fill-in-the-blank. You could not have prevented this even if you could have predicted the future like no one can.

Even if you did nothing more, you are already the best mom there is because you would have done absolutely anything to keep your child alive. To breathe your last breath to save theirs. To choose the pain all over again just to spend one more minute with them. That, is the ultimate kind of love. You are the ultimate kind of mother.

So wash your hands of any naysayers, betrayers, or anyone who sprinted in the other direction when you needed them the most. Wash your hands of the people who may have falsely judged you, ostracized you, or stigmatized you because of what happened to you. Wash your hands of anyone who has made you feel less than by questioning everything you did or didn’t do. Those whose words or looks have implied that this was somehow your fault.

This was not your fault. This will never be your fault, no matter how many different ways someone tries to tell you it is.
And especially if that someone happens to be you. Sometimes it’s not what others are saying that keeps us shackled in shame. Sometimes we adopt others’ misguided opinions and assumptions about our situation as our own. Sometimes it’s our own inner voice that shoves us into the darkest corner of despair, like an abuser, telling us over and over and over again that we failed as mothers. That if only this and what if that, it would never have happened. That you woulda, shoulda done this or that so your child would not have died. That is a lie of the sickest kind. Do not believe it, not even for a second. Do not let it sink into your bones. Do not let it smother that beautiful, beautiful light of yours. 

Instead, breathe in this truth with every part of yourself: You are the best damn mother in the entire world.

The kind of mother who people write books about. The kind who inspires the world.

No one else could do what you do. No one else could ever be your child’s mother as well as you can, as well as you are. No one else could let your child’s love and light shine through them the way you do. No one else could mother their dead child as well as you do. No one else could carry this unrelenting burden as courageously. It is the heaviest, most torturous burden there is.

You have within you a sacred strength. You are the mother of all mothers. There is no one, no one, no one that could ever, ever replace you. No one. You were chosen to be their mother. Yes– chosen. And no one could parent them better in life or in death than you do.

So breathe mama, keep breathing. Believe mama, keep believing. Fight mama, keep fighting, for this truth to uproot the lies in your heart— you didn’t fail. You are not a failure. Not even a little.

For whatever it’s worth, I see you. I hear your guttural sobs. I feel your ache deep inside my bones. And it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to put my fingers as a makeshift band-aid over the gaping hole in your heart until the scabs come, when and if they do.

It takes invincible strength to mother a child you can no longer hold, see, touch or hear. You are a superhero mama. I see you fall down and get up, fall down and get up, over and over again. I notice the grit and guts it takes to pry yourself out of bed every single day and force your bloodied feet to stand up and keep walking. I see you walking this path of life you’ve been given where every breath and step apart from your child is a physical, emotional and spiritual battleground— a fight for your own survival— a fight to quiet the insidious lies.

But the truth is– you haven’t failed at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You are the mother of all mothers.

Truly the most inspiring, courageous, loving mother there is– a warrior mama through and through.

For even in death you lovingly mother your precious child still.