I thought long before using that word, segregate. I paused because I wanted to honor it’s connections to groups that have been beyond “segregated,” they’ve been terrorized and belittled openly and blatantly in world history. I want you to know before I start that I’m in no way comparing what I’m talking about below to the segregation that’s occurred to other groups in this country.
Don’t push us away and point us to this group or that group for “moms like us.” Sure most of us (moms to children that died) do gain support from each other, but we wouldn’t be in your space if we didn’t want to. If we didn’t feel a connection to YOU. Moms to live children.
Months after Cora died, I traveled to an event where there were many other parents of congenital heart defect children, only almost all of their children were alive.
I’ll never forget the feeling, the being pushed away. Being told oh yes, we have a small group for parents like you.
It’s congenital heart defect awareness week, and I know there are hurting parents like me because I’ve read their statuses. They feel forgotten. Worst of all, they feel like there is no place for their children.
A nice woman that runs a huge Facebook page for mothers not in any way CHD or special needs focused, I’m assuming from how things have gone down there it’s a page for mothers of live children, posted today that once a month mothers were welcome to post pictures of their dead children. Once a month.
You want us to leave.
You don’t want to read our sad stories.
You want us to huddle together in sadness in the corner.
We don’t deserve that.
It’s nuanced. You don’t tell us we can only drink from that drinking fountain. You don’t make us wear a gold star, but it’s there. Again, absolutely no comparison to the segregation and racism other groups have gone through.
But that doesn’t mean there’s not a level of hurt.
Instead you avoid us. You give us a day to share our children. You mention a special group for shiny special moms like us.
If we chose to be a part of your group for mothers, or this support group for children that had a condition like ours, you’re just going to have to deal with it.
Sadly, our babies could have been your baby.
Your next baby could be ours.
We didn’t do anything to deserve this.
If we can’t handle your group and your live babies, we won’t join. Your intentions are good. But unless our child died the day before, we’ve been handed that slip of paper or that private message with names of those groups a million times. If we need a support group, we’ll ask for recommendations We’re big girls.
When we pop up, don’t tell us over and over there are such and such support groups for mothers like us. Say I’m sorry and give us a hug, or a virtual one if it’s online.
Sure there will be awkward moments, but that’s life.
Learn to embrace us.
Most of all, don’t push us away.
We’re grieving mothers, but that phrase should be mothers grieving, because first and foremost we are mothers.