Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Accidental Mother

"Happy Mother's Day!" the waiter says to me, followed by saying that he isn't sure who is or isn't a mom so he just says it to all the women coming in to eat lunch at the restaurant today. I laugh at his over-kindness, and say thank you. But then, as he walks away… the feeling sinks in.

Now, normally I'm very good at keeping the whole children thing at bay. My fiancé and I were not planning to have children anytime soon, so although we often talked about our someday children and how we would raise them, it was still something that was at least 4 or 5 years out. I also never really cared about having kids until I met the man I wanted to raise them with, so normally other parts of my pain seem to take precedence over this part and I don't spend much time grieving it.

But not when someone wishes me a Happy Mother's Day.

The longer I sat with that waiter's well-intentioned wishes, the deeper it sank into me… the knowing that I am not a mom. And that I am not even close to becoming a mom. And worst of all, that I will never get to share parenthood with the man I wanted to most.

But today in particular, the thoughts that pained me most were not about him not being here…  and not because I'm going to run out of time to have kids (we are planning to adopt anyway). Not for any of those reasons. The pain came from the realization that since he died, I have become the kind of woman that I want to be as a mom. Before his death, I honestly still had a lot of growing up to do myself. I had a lot of pain still from losing both of my own parents, and a lot of fears around parenting because of that. I really wasn't even close to being on board with the reality of having kids. I mean hell, I was just barely overcoming my fears about getting married when he died.

So today, for whatever reason, that's what is really hurting. Not running out of time. Not even the fact that he's not here to share it with me (although that is a whole other side of the pain I DO still feel). The one thing that really kills me is knowing what an incredible mom I would be now. Knowing that I would pass to my daughter strength, self respect, independence and - as my fiancé once wrote of me, "a creative streak a mile wide"... but also compassion, and kindness, and an open heart to lean on others and let them lean on you.

She would know that it is okay to be vulnerable, that she is most beautiful when she is doing so, and that needn't put up with anyone who cannot value her at her most vulnerable. She would know she can never be too emotional, too bold, too afraid, or too sensitive. I would let her know I believe she can do anything she sets herself to in this life, and that her most important job is always to be authentic to herself. To walk away from anyone or anything that does not honor her, but to also always strive to see things from all sides. And of course, that no matter what happens, I will always have her back and always love her. (I'm not even sure why, but I've just always had a feeling he and I would have daughters, hence this default).

Yup, I'm really truly feeling the weight of missing out on motherhood right now. It hurts. It hurts. It HURTS. I have managed to find one positive in it though. It's a reminder that I am growing. And healing. A reminder that I used to see myself as a girl - no where near capable of adult things like marriages and children. These 2 years I've trudged through the agony of grief daily. And  simultaneously I uprooted my entire career to go for this crazy idea of making it as an independent artist and writer - which brought its own intense freak-outs and fears. I've gone through hell and back in more than one area of my life. And even though its all still pretty up in the air, I've come to a new place where I see myself - not as a girl - but as a woman. And even cooler - she's kind of the woman I always wanted to be. How did that happen?

It's a cool realization for sure. It doesn't take away the pain. Nothing does. It still really freaking sucks to have become this woman now - after he is gone and our chance of a family went with him. And yes, everyone likes to say… I am still young. Only 31. I might still have a family one day. In fact, I DO believe I will have a family one day. I very much still intend on adopting as we planned. And when I love on those little girls, I will think of him as being the man who made me the woman that I needed to become in order to be their mother. It will still be sad at times, and it will still hurt, but there will also be good. Even though I'm in tears right now, I'm trying to hold on to that and know - he will be a part of their lives no matter where he is. Through me.


  1. Just wow. Such strength, even through the grief, thank you for this.

  2. dear Sarah,

    what a powerful and inspiring post you have written. you are a wonderful example of something I am striving to be. A woman who can live alongside of the awful burden of grief, and still work hard to re-shape a life worth living. and sometimes it's just with the will and the action for which we give ourselves permission to re-frame our thinking about ourselves. so happy for you to have found yourself The
    Accidental Mother - and be able to feel such gratitude and hope for the future. it sure made a great title for this post!

    much love,

    Karen xoxo

  3. I read this entry thrice and I am blown away by it. You have such a lovely gift to put your feelings into words and do it with such grace. I wait for Sundays to read what you have written and I relate to your feelings every time.
    Thank you for sharing Sarah. You are beautiful.

  4. Prior to getting married Laura and I decided that we wouldn't have children. And for 28 years of marriage we both thought that was the right decision; however, after she died I so wanted a child of hers to hang on to. It wasn't about having a child, but about having a piece of Laura in my life. Two years after her death I think we made the right decision. There are so many things we got to do, that I don't think would have happened if we had children.