The Reality of Life as an Empty-Armed Mother

Being an older expectant mother, I thought I had my eyes wide open about the realities of motherhood.

Part of my body that would never again be the same.

Lack of sleep.

Lots of nappies.

A shoulder permanently adorned with sick.

Hair, unwashed for days white with dry shampoo.

Never being able to go for a wee alone.

Lots of cuddles, singing, reading books, walks out in the pram.

Everyone wanting to talk about my baby, ask about him, look at pictures of him, marvel at him. Conversations are easy, full of joy.

Being his Mummy. Doing everything I could for him.

Not knowing why my baby is crying, or what to do to make it better. Feeling tired, emotional and that I surely must be the world’s worst mother.

But – for all this, being filled with the most incredible, unparalleled, unconditional love for this little human being.

_________________

Life as a neonatal mummy provided a completely different reality to the one I was expecting.

Parts of my body that would never again be the same.

Lack of sleep.

My baby was in a plastic box. Covered in wires. Not allowed to touch him without permission.

Lots of nappies.

And – there was lots of singing, reading books, and as many cuddles as we were able to have.

Everyone wanted to talk about my baby, ask about him, look at pictures of him, marvel at him.

Conversations are uneasy, wanting, needing to be hopeful – but uncertain.

As his Mummy, wanting to make things better for him. Being unable to. Feeling powerless.

In this reality, I was tired, emotional, and thought I surely must be the world’s worst mother. My baby was in this plastic box – surely I must have failed him?

But – I was filled with the most incredible, unparalleled, unconditional love for this little human being. My son, Hugo. That love was more powerful than I could have imagined.

____________________

After.

A reality paradox: I know it is real, yet it feels unreal. I wish it was not real. Perhaps if I close my eyes really tight and count to ten when I open them again I will find out it is not real?

If only.

What happened feels like one of those made-for-TV melodramas. Surely it cannot be real?

But it is.

_____________________

Now.

I had my eyes wide open about the realities of motherhood. Empty-armed motherhood is my current reality. It is not what I signed up for.

Parts of my body that will never again be the same, but with no baby to show for it.

No cuddles, reading, or singing songs. Only precious memories of doing these things with Hugo. No walks out in the pram.

Many people do want to talk about my baby, ask about him, look at pictures of him, marvel at him. But so many others do not. They do not know what to say, it makes them feel uncomfortable, conversation is awkward. So they say nothing. Ignore the topic. It hurts.

Being Hugo’s Mummy. Doing everything I can to keep his memory alive, to show the world he matters.

Feeling tired, emotional and that I surely must be the world’s worst mother. Not knowing what to do, or why this happened to us.

But – I am filled with the most incredible, unparalleled, unconditional love for this little human being. My son, Hugo. This love is more powerful than I could have imagined.

It endures.

_________________

So.

The reality of motherhood is in some ways what I anticipated.

Nappies, lack of sleep, self-doubt, cuddles, singing, reading. Love.

A mother is a mother.

But my arms ache with emptiness, not with hours of cuddling.

My memories are finite.

Different rules apply when your baby has died.

Conversations are often awkward.

Life feels unreal.

This is the reality of being an empty-armed mother.

 

 

________________________

Linking up with Mum Turned Mom – prompt word ‘Reality’

mumturnedmom
The List

12 thoughts on “The Reality of Life as an Empty-Armed Mother

  1. pottymouthedmummy says:

    Oh Leigh. You’re writing makes me so emotional but at the same time, encourages me not to take anything for granted. I thought of you on Mothers Day, I wrote under a picture on Instagram, a thoughtless message saying happy Mother’s Day to all those lovelies with bubbas and then immediately edited it because, all the mummies who have carried a baby, birthed a baby but have had to say goodbye – they are all still mummies and no less of one than I. Your writing and your blog has made me realise that, has made me try to be more thoughtful and that shows that you do make a difference and keep Hugo’s legacy strong. Much love Leigh, hope you had a nice break too xxx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Bless you, lovely, what a kind and thoughtful comment. Your words mean a lot to me as a bereaved mummy, and I have little doubt they will mean a lot to other bereaved mummies too. It is a small comfort to know that Hugo is helping people learn about baby loss, which in turn helps others too. Much love to you too Sian xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sara (@mumturnedmom) says:

    The comparisons you draw really bring home the reality, one that most of us simply can’t imagine. As Tracy says, you do have wonderful moments to hold on to, but I know that they will never be enough, even though they can never be taken away. Every time I read your blog I just want to meet you and give you a big hug, and listen to you talk about Hugo x Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt

    Like

  3. oddsocksandlollipops says:

    This brought really tears to my eyes, such a hauntingly sad post, and I cannot really imagine the depth of what you have gone through and what you go though. I think you are doing an amazing things – raising awareness, I had not heard of HELLP before reading your blog, so thank you for educating me.

    Like

  4. mummyshambles says:

    I’m glad that you choose to talk about Hugo and your experience. It obviously helps you to do so and that’s important. Although your reality is filled with unimaginable sadness, there are many wonderful moments that you had with your son. They can never be taken away from you. Hugo will always be in your heart. Much love Xx

    Like

  5. maddy@writingbubble says:

    Oh Leigh, what a reality to have to endure, my heart goes out to you. You are showing the world Hugo matters though, every day. xxx

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  6. thenthefunbegan says:

    A reality I can not even bring myself to imagine if I’m honest Leigh. In my post for the Prompt on ‘reality’ I end by suggesting that we can alter our own reality through, essentially, positive thinking, but I guess that doesn’t factor in huge external impacts which rock your whole emotional life and your perception of life. I just hope that your reality can eventually be filled with as many positive, fabulous moments and happy thoughts as sadness and that loss that will never leave you. Xx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I think there are certain situations that you can turn into a positive – but not all. Bereavement is one of those situations that is excluded from improving perception by positive thought. Thank you, I hope my future can be filled with positivity, adding to the memories of the wonderful moments with Hugo xx

      Like

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