By: Casey Zenner
What makes someone a Mother? This is something we recently talked about in one of the Ending a Wanted Pregnancy support groups I belong to on Facebook. When you think of the word Mother, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? It may be your own mom. It may be the person who raised you and is a Mother figure to you, or maybe it is the word love? If you are like me, it is your children. My children made me a Mother. Now that I am a Mother, love is the best word I can use to describe being a Mother. The definition of love is simply, an intense feeling of deep affection. As mothers, not only do we love our children more than we ever thought we could love another person, but we love being a Mother. My proudest accomplishment in life is my title of Mother.
The best part, and unfortunately in the loss community, one of the hardest parts about being a Mother is that no matter how little time you got to spend caring for your child, no one can ever take the title of Mother away and your love will never end.
Peri Orrin’s Mom said “I see a lot of loss moms who suffered miscarriages being embraced and lifted up on Mother’s Day and it’s truly beautiful, I do not think I would be welcomed into that world as a person who terminated for medical reasons (TFMR). Even though the choice we made took all the strength and love and mercy we could muster in order to save our son from suffering. I don’t feel my loss and motherhood are socially accepted, I guess-.”
This resonates with me to the core. The idea that there is any Mother out there that has ever experienced the loss of a child is tragic.
Knowing that there are women who feel exactly like Peri Orrin’s mom, though? Unacceptable. The ugly truth is that we live in a society where termination for medical reasons is such a controversial topic, and when you are on this side of termination, you suffer not only the loss of your child, but the backlash and lack of support from those in your world because of how you lost your child.
I have a living child, as well as Avery, my angel, who I know is looking down on me proud to point me out to all her friends in Heaven as her Mom. Our Mother’s Day will likely look something like this. We will have breakfast, I will get a card from my Husband which will have both my son’s and Avery’s name in it, and then a card from my son that will have cute little scribbles all over it, unless he’s in one of his moods, then it may be blank- got to love toddlers. We will then open presents, and my husband will impress me once again. He really is the best gift giver. Then the rest of our day will look like any other Sunday. I may get a few Facebook comments, or texts saying Happy Mother’s Day, but it is unlikely many of them will say anything about Avery, they rarely do. I struggle to understand why more of my friends and family don’t engage with me when I mention Avery on my social media accounts.
Like Peri Orrin’s mom, I see so many beautiful uplifting comments and support for those mentioning their children who they have lost in some other kind of tragic way, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or in the early days after they are born. I want so badly to believe it has nothing to do with the fact that it is because I terminated, but what else could it be? Like all these other Moms getting this support, we too are Mothers. So many Moms like me feel that we must justify why we have earned the title of Mother because of the controversy surrounding our losses. When, in reality, it shouldn’t be that way. Ivy’s mom said to me “She was my child, after all; who was I if not her Mother?” She is right. Who are we, if not their Mothers?
Peri Orrin’s mom continues “It’s so hard because I feel like a mother, like I had to experience the worst possible choice a mother would ever have to make but that no one else will see it that way because my baby isn’t here. Like somehow I’m going to celebrate and mourn in invisibility forever.”
Many of the moms who took part in this discussion fear they will be completely forgotten on Mother’s Day because they don’t have any living children. Some have not even shared with anyone that they have terminated for medical reasons. They are too afraid of the backlash they will receive, so in return, they don’t get to celebrate the baby who made them a Mother with those in their lives who should be the first to want to celebrate them on Mother’s Day.
Lily’s Mom goes on to say “Most parents don’t have to make the horrible decisions we’ve had to and we have so much love for our baby girl, Lily.”
While October Skye’s mom says, “The decision to TFMR was a parenting decision. The hardest decision I have ever made. My husband and I made that choice for our angel October Skye because we didn’t want her to suffer (among many other reasons).
You see, us TFMR moms were parenting before we even held our babies in our arms. We were Mothers. We are Mothers. We will always be Mothers.
Paris’ mom says “Just because the circumstances surrounding my loss are different and because my son isn’t here with me doesn’t mean I’m any less of a mom.“ She is right. It should not matter how you earned your title of Mother, but that you remember every person who has lost a child is a Mother, and deserves for their children to be remembered and celebrated.
Ultimately these brave, selfless warriors deserve to be celebrated. Ivy’s mom continues “…so the biggest thing I would want others to know is to reach out to moms like us on Mother’s Day and let us know they are thinking of us and recognize our motherhood.
TFMR moms are hard enough on ourselves for the decisions we had to make, what we really need is for someone to pick up the phone and say ‘Hey, I am thinking about you today. I know your heart must be heavy because a piece of you is missing.’
You could single handedly change someone’s day by mentioning their angel’s name. Be the difference in someone’s life, a bright spot in their world on one of many difficult holidays they will face year after year.
I always try to be a bright spot when I can be. I know what it’s like to live under a dark cloud, and it is important to me that those in the TFMR community live under that dark cloud as little as possible, so with that being said; It is important to me that Paris, Eleanor Marie, Isabella Dora, Vincent Carmine Reyes, Peri Orrin, October Skye, Yashi, Lily, Liam Lucas, George, Zoey, Ivy Elizabeth, Nora, Isaiah, Finn, Chance, Theodore, Kenneth Angel, Emerson, Isaac, Nova, Finch Aviv, Maisie Parker, Anneliese, Hunter Ray Brown, Maya, Noah, Jonathon, and Stella Lena’s Mom’s all know that today, I am celebrating you.
Your strength, your selflessness, and your ability to do whatever it takes to be the best mom you could be for all your beautiful children. For those of you reading this who have not shared with anyone in your life that you have lost a child, no matter the circumstances, I am celebrating you today.
For those of you who feel like you or your angel are being forgotten on Mother’s Day, I see you.
I remember you.
Your Motherhood matters.
You are not forgotten.
Happy Mother’s Day to every mom out there who wears the Motherhood badge on top of her broken heart.
– Avery’s Mom
About Casey Zenner
My name is Casey! I am a wife, mother and friend. I have 2 dogs, a wonderful husband and am blessed to be the mama of Brayden, my spunky 3 yr old, and Avery, my angel baby. We are also foster parents on our journey to adoption! I live in Texas, am a stay at home mom and a travel agent. After losing Avery, I lost myself. While I attempted to find my way back I founded Avery’s Angels. A non profit that provides Angel Moms with comfort packages and cards after the loss of a child. (www.facebook.com/flyhighlittleones) There is someone always telling me how strong I am, when the truth is, when being strong is the only choice you have, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you begin to believe in your strength too.
These are controversial topics and many that people don’t realize other families face.
Share’s mission is to support those whose lives are touched by the tragic death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first few months of life. Share does not take a political stand on these issues. Share is not responsible for guiding or counseling families in their decision-making process. We all grieve and mourn for our babies. Some of our parents have had to choose the day that they were going to lose their baby. But the truth is still: each family wanted and love their babies. We all search for support, healing and hope. All grieving parents deserve that.
As a support organization it is always our goal to provide a safe and compassionate place for every family who has suffered the great loss of their baby.
We hope this conversation allows for continued healing and an understanding from others of the great need for long-term support for every family making difficult decisions. If you are in need of support after making the decision to terminate for medical reasons, please reach out to our Bereavement Care Manager at email@example.com or call 800-821-6819.