My So-Called Mommyhood

The worst feeling is suddenly realizing that you don’t measure up. And that, in the past, when you thought you did, you were a fool. ~My So-Called Life

A sweet couple friend had a miscarriage. Reading my friends’ news broke my heart along an old fault line. While their grief is unique to their own experience, I remembered that moment in the ultrasound room when we realized there was no hope. I actually felt the rush of air as the door to the Mommy Club shut in my face. The old broken record in my head that played all through High School telling me I wasn’t enough, hit the turntable again.

What I know, after some time and space between that day and now, is that healing is a slow, non-linear path. You feel bad until you don’t. That’s the life lesson Baby Daddy taught me. He told me to respect what happened and feel it fully, so that I could move on. I am genuinely glad he is my Baby Daddy.

I believe in Ubuntu: I am a person through other people; I am because we are. Besides Baby Daddy, a myriad of close friends and family, two unknown women reached out to me during that time, and I cannot express what they meant.

Sometimes someone says something really small and it just fits into this empty place in your heart. ~My So-Called Life

When I had to have the first D&C, for some reason, we got to the surgery center before my paperwork. We were stricken, dazed and hurting. I had to go back by myself for prep. I don’t think it was as chaotic as if felt, but it seemed as though there were all these people touching me, poking me, asking me questions. I could barely speak. My chart arrived. The head nurse looked at it and told everyone in the room to get out. She instructed them no one was to touch me or talk to me without going through her. She pulled the curtain and hugged me so tight. I sobbed. She took me by my shoulders and said, “I want you to listen to me because I have been where you are, and I know some things you don’t. First, you will be a mother. I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But if you want to be, you will. be. a mother.”

I just nodded. She was the only one who had any certainty about this situation. And she had an Irish accent. I don’t know why, but that was supremely comforting at that moment. “Second,” she continued, “Don’t push your husband away. This happened to him too. He’s hurting too. Hold on to each other. You’re what you’ve got.”

I went back to take some goodies to the nurses there and thank her a few weeks later, but she wasn’t working that day. I didn’t try again. I just wanted to move on. Unfortunately, I ended up back in the same situation several months later. I was sitting in the doctor’s office waiting to be worked in because I was having trouble with the second pregnancy. I hadn’t told Baby Daddy where I was, working on the theory that if you don’t say it out loud, it’s not true. He happened to call while I was sitting there. He immediately hung up to rush down to be with me. I started crying. It was humiliating. I was just sitting there silently crying in wing back chair with flowered upholstery.

The woman next to me took my hand. She didn’t even ask me what was wrong. She made me look her in the face and she said, “You are going to be ok. I know because I have faith in God. And it’s ok if you don’t right now. I have enough faith for both of us. No matter what they tell you, you are going to be ok.” About that time, I was called back. Baby Daddy arrived within minutes. We got the bad news not long after. I don’t know that woman’s name and could never say thank you to her for her kindness.

People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even. But every so often I’ll have, like, a moment, where just being myself in my life right where I am is, like, enough. ~My So-Called Life

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know we adopted Monkey Boy when he was a week old. We have a wacky little family. I joined the Mommy Club. Some days I’m certain they (whoever they are) are going to catch on that I have no idea what I’m doing, but so far I’ve got “them” fooled. I don’t know what it feels like to love a biological child, but I can’t imagine being any more in love with a kid than I am with Monkey Boy.

I am not person who easily asks for help. Help had to practically attack me when I needed it. But when I needed it, it was always there. I can’t say that I’m glad we went through infertility. It was awful. What I am glad about is since then, I have been a help and comfort to several friends when they lost pregnancies. I realized I can’t pay back what was given to me, I can only pay it forward.

I have been able to hold a dear friend’s hands and promise her she would be ok, or at least as ok as me, which is sort of comforting. I have gotten very drunk with another friend and cursed faulty uteri. I’ve sat silently and just breathed the same air with another. I have given logistical explanations to friends for what would happen when they arrived for a D&C: this is where you’ll stand; these are the forms you’ll fill out. I have given hormonal advice: give it 6 weeks; for no reason at all, you’ll feel better in six weeks. I have shredded birth announcements in bitterness and jealously. I have been genuinely happy to hold other friends’ new babies in my arms for the first time.

It’s not linear, this life. It takes a path you almost never see coming. If you let people, they will direct and point along the way. Sometimes, like Baby Daddy, they will even hold your hand down the path.



Filed under The view from here

19 responses to “My So-Called Mommyhood

  1. Thanks Kerri, I really appreciate your support and hearing your story.

    I have been totally amazed at all the support. You all at times feel closer than my own family. It really is amazing

  2. kat

    this is a beautiful post. thanks for sharing.

  3. Amy

    Kerri, I was not with you guys during those miscarriages and this post made me tear up. I had trouble getting pregnant but not with miscarriage but this “thing” has touched me in so many friends and family’s lives. Thank you for your candor and openness.

  4. Kerri,

    Life often simply doesn’t cooperate with us does it? Thanks for opening up your life and sharing here for the whole world to know some of your hard times.

    I, too, have been there. I had 3 miscarriages, but eventually had 3 live births. It’s hard to walk through pain and suffering. Very hard. Actually I believe there is only one way to do it successfully. Those are interesting words to associate together: Suffering Successfully – success during painful times? Is that even possible?

    What I am trying to say is while we walk through pain and suffering that our life would be enhanced rather than destroyed. That’s it. There’s only one way. To have our Father God hold our hand, and just as often carry us through it all. And, of course, those dear friends and family who are there to do that as well.

    Too bad I didn’t understand these truths when I went through those miscarriages so many years ago. In additiion, I wish I had understood that it was okay that I was not enough. Ultimately it is what fueled my search for the only one who could change me and my situation and give me the security that I would never be good enough, and that it was okay. Paying it forward is the way for us to show our gratitude for making it through life thus far.

    Blessings to you!

  5. Kelli

    Not to knock biological parents, but what you have is something that surpasses blood. Monkey Boy needed you just as much as you needed him. That’s a special bond that can never be taken away.
    I hate hearing when people who want kids struggle to have them. It makes me feel guilty that I don’t want one of my own, like I’m taking advantage of my opportunities that they don’t have.
    It’s wonderful that you are able to help your friends. I know it can’t be easy, because with the knowledge of having been there also comes the resurfacing of pain of having been there.

  6. Stacey

    I like this. It says what I have often thought about moving through grief. You don’t feel “better;” you get used to feeling bad, but over time you whirl around and sometimes, some days, you lift.

  7. kerri,

    first of all, thank you for putting into words what can scarcely be described. having lost one inbetween thing1 and thing2 ripped me apart emotionally. thank you for being so honest.

    i love that God put people intentionally in your path to light it for you, and i love this statement:
    “I realized I can’t pay back what was given to me, I can only pay it forward.”
    if, as a society, we could embrace and practice this common idea, wouldn’t we all be living in a wonderful community?

    a heartfelt thanks and hug to you monkey boy mom-

  8. Beautiful.
    I have been dealing with some negative prego vibes in my life lately and I am grateful you shared your story.

  9. Sericia

    Thanks for sharing your story, Kerri.

    Although your witty blog & Facebook posts are meant to have us believe otherwise, you are one of the best mothers I know.

    You are an asset to the Mommy Club.

  10. Wow Kerri, That was a great post.

  11. Dan

    For those who have never experienced their future child’s life crumble around them, “You can always try again” is never the right thing to say. If you can think of nothing better, simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss” will suffice.

  12. merlisser

    *sniff* It’s amazing how people just pop in your life just when you need them.

  13. Kerri – thank you for writing this. Your honesty is a precious thing…I’m so sorry you went through this, but so grateful that your response is to be willing to reach out and understand someone else’s pain.

  14. Tough post. Brings back many memories of what my miscarriages were like. I had FOUR in one year – don’t know how I survived, especially in baby-crazy Utah. I wish I had had supportive women like these around me, but I didn’t, not even my own family, and that hurt.

    But I survived and on the 5th try, we were blessed with a healthy boy. Even though he came 10 long years after his brother, we have enjoyed every moment of him. So that’s our happy ending.

    The one positive thing I did have was the great example of two other women who had experienced recurrent miscarriage and had gone on to have healthy babies. That was such an inspiration to me and that’s why I am so willing to share my story in hopes that it will inspire someone else who is struggling like I was.

  15. Jill

    You were that friend to me. Thanks for telling me that I would be okay, because we both know that was all I had to make it through those moments. And thanks for letting me not be okay when I just wasn’t up for it. Love you!

  16. That was beautiful, Kerri. Thanks for sharing this…it helps.

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  18. Angel

    Beautiful post. “I actually felt the rush of air as the door to the Mommy Club shut in my face.” Oh my what a perfect description of that moment.

    Sometimes you have to laugh or you’ll go crazy otherwise. Thank you for reminding me of that, and also reminding us on the daily how crazy awesome you are to have around.

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