Not my first

May 10, 2010

Mother’s Day was, in spite of some hiccups, a very lovely day for me.  Getting to mother a living, wiggling, emphatically alive child is something I relish.  I don’t need a holiday to celebrate that privilege, but I took the opportunity to take Dot for a walk in the sunshine, to love her up as much as I could on the last day before I returned to work full-time.  I sang songs, danced around with her, spent hours lying next to her on the bed, hearing her talk, snuggling with her, nursing her.

I did all the things with her that I wish I could do with Teddy, and I let myself miss him without feeling guilty about it.

One fly in my ointment, and it seems like a petty fly – N’s father and step-mom sent flowers, beautiful, sunshine-y flowers.  They arrived on Saturday and I glanced quickly at the card just to see who they were from.  Yesterday I read the card: “Happy first Mother’s Day!”  Ouch.

I’m not angry about it, but I’m sad at how easily Teddy seems to have been swept under the rug.  Out of sight, out of memory, to almost everyone besides N and me.  And he was a beautiful, wonderful, amazing little person.  He was perfect except for the damned hole in his diaphragm and his under-developed lungs.  I feel like knowing him, even for just a few hours, was a gift.  A solemn, sacred, life-changing gift.

I know that most people who love us see mainly the pain of losing him, and many days that’s the bulk of what I see, too.  But the wonder of having had him at all – that’s something that seems so hard to cling to and so hard for others to understand.

This was not my first Mother’s Day.  I was a mother last year, too, when most (but not all) were afraid to even mention the day to me.  I’m glad that so many people are happy for me, but I hate it that there doesn’t seem to be room in that public sort of joy to include my boy.

I love you, Teddy, firstborn, beautiful boy, my huckleberry.  I’m proud and amazed to be your mommy, even when it hurts.



  1. Ouch indeed. I agree. It no longer makes me angry but it does make me sad. That not many people will ever know how truly amazing and wonderful our children were, that everything else about them is (at times) obscured by the fact of their deaths.
    I’m still proud and amazed. Sometimes I fear I am in danger of losing that. Thank you for reminding me. Thinking of you, N, Dot and Teddy as you pass through Mother’s Day. Not your first. xo

  2. yes, not our first.

  3. The wonder does seem to get obscured by the loss. Every time I tell somebody new Henry’s story, I want to share the wonder but get caught up in the terrible things that happen and the sad ending. If you figure out how to share that wonder and not just the sadness, let me know.

  4. Obviously I can very much relate to this.
    Happy 2nd Mother’s Day. Hey, it was even sort of our third, when I think back to this time two years ago and you and I were both carrying Teddy and Hope safely inside.

  5. i can relate too…no one mentioned lev this year. last year it was hell, everyone avoided me, this year i got so many calls, cards, flowers. it is hard to have our first borns be forgotten and invisible. and as sally said, it is our third mother’s day. i remember three years ago people walking by, looking at my belly and wishing me a happy mother’s day.

    you are a beautiful mama to both your babes.

  6. every time one of writes this out, marks the wonder of our firstborns, there’s a tiny chance that one more person learns to see it differently.

    i hope.

    your last two sentences made me weep with a very lovely, full recognition. xo.

  7. If I had a penny for all the people who wished me a happy “first” mother’s day I’d be rich, including my own dad. It was definitely the fly in the ointment. Teddy won’t ever be forgotten.

  8. ((hugs))
    It is true, how fast people can forget. Or, perhaps they do not wish to remember.
    Belated Mothers’ Day, to a beautiful mother of two. xo

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