What makes a mother?

Some may say I didn’t even know you.
But I carried you.
Felt you grow.
Longed for the day we’d meet.
Dreamed of your future.
Not only did I know you, I fell in love with you.

This morning our Henry, this morning its mothers day, my first one just over two weeks after you are born, although not how I imagined it, not how I pictured it so many times when you were growing and my belly got bigger…. I thought about mother’s day, I thought about what your dad might plan and how finally by everyone I would be recognised as a Mum.

This morning I cried so hard on my own, I put my hand on my stomach as I had so many times when I was pregnant, only now that stomach is almost flat, there’s no big bump there as there used to be, no movement, nothing…  As your dad realised he came to surround me with his arms laying beside me. Tears poured out as I sobbed and said to your dad “I just want him back, I want him back…. I want him back in my belly safe, but then I couldn’t even keep him safe in there” it broke me.

I have always struggled with mother’s day, what many wouldn’t know is unfortunately I grew up with a mum who suffered lots of mental health issues but didn’t seek help so it became a very toxic and abusive environment physically and mentally. Suffering some pretty bad beatings, I chose to leave home at the age of 16 as the physical abuse became too much to bear. I still finished school  and went on to get a job and have built my life always vowing Henry that when I had my own children I would never be the mother my mum was. Which really upon reflection she wasn’t a mum at all.

I did try after leaving home to build some sort of relationship with my mum, I tried many times, it wasn’t until I first rang her one day about something important happening in my life and she changed the subject and flat-out ignored it that I released she would never be the mum I was after as she wasn’t interested in being a mum. I made the decision for my own well being to stop trying to chase the mum I was after as I was only going to cause myself hurt trying to get that and I haven’t really spoken to her since.

Then my previous partner and I decided one day we would like to start a family, years went on and on with no pregnancy, no baby that I longed for Mothers day brought with it another sting, as so many went by without me becoming a ‘mum’ we tried, we investigated, I had surgeries and still to no baby, I had waited so long for you Henry so very long, however I am so very grateful and happy you waited too as you were just waiting for me to find your dad, I’m so glad this journey is with him.

we have your fur sisters, Missy and Snikkers and consider them family and have always looked after them like they are! I always considered myself their mum and your dad Henry, he has too… Because from the moment I met him each year on mother’s day he has always typed me a small note and got me a chocolate bar from the puppies, he usually each year on mothers day leaves it somewhere for me to find. He is amazing your dad.

So Mothers day for me, has always brought with it a sting, but nothing compares to the pain I feel today, of the anticipation of celebrating my first mothers day with you, only you are not here in my arms like we had pictured and imagined, my first mothers day only to have you watching over us.

To cheer me up this morning your Dad lifted Snikkers on to the bed, he lifted her up she licked some tears and she snuggled in to me wagging her tail, she knows, your big fur sister knows and she would have been amazing with you.

It’s all led me to think about as I often have before but with more conviction today, what makes a mother? and you know what it isn’t just being a mum to human children. I know some may disagree, but I have had mother figures in my life who showed me more love like a mum than my own mother ever did. So they to me are mums, anyone who shows that type of love, has that love in their hearts they are mums, that desire to be a mum, those who show that mothers compassion to others, who reach out… They are all mums.

Today Henry your dad is up cooking me breakfast as I type this, I sit in the bed with the puppies here… He brought in to me a deconstructed coffee as he calls it, that’s probably his one and only downfall, he can’t make coffee Henry as I am sure you would have heard discussions about while in my belly!!!!! So he brought in all the components for me to make it myself, and he did so with a kit kat taped to his head to make me laugh… and he succeeded, he’s ticked that off his list for today… Your Dad Henry even if he can’t make good coffee he is truly amazing.

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Your dad cooked me a very yummy breakfast and after I got out of the shower he had Missy deliver me a gift, tucked inside her flannelette jacket…. A card, a card from you…. and your fur sisters too, so meaningful, so beautifully written… we hugged, we cried, we also smiled. It is truly beautiful and a special meaningful gift, a beautiful pendant marked with a H, a H for you Henry! I’ll forever wear it around my neck in your honour… I know your dad didn’t completely do this all on his own and I have to send out a mention to a beautiful friend who I know assisted in this, You are so amazing and I know Henry sees you as his aunt, you know those special aunts who are friends but become family xx

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So today Henry, as much as this mothers day is hard, as much as it hurts, as much as I am not celebrating it with you here, I wouldn’t change the fact that I am your mum, I am so honoured to be your mum, to have held you, to have had you grow, for you being… I am so very grateful for you. So I will get up, I will make what I can of today with your dad and Missy and Snikkers, we will spend time at the beach in the rain thinking of you. Thinking of your sweet face, of your ears (your dads ears), of your hair, oh so much hair and thinking of how soft it was as we washed it…. Just of you and the preciousness of you and all the love you have brought to our aching hearts. Love you beautiful Henry x

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

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