Almost thirteen years ago, I inadvertently found myself a member of a club that no Mother wants to be a part of. I found myself in the company of women, just like me, dealing with the loss of a baby. And what started off as a group of complete strangers has, over the course of the last decade, given us the opportunity to get to know each other, to support and advise each other, to listen, encourage, and forge friendships which I know will last the distance.
We are all so very different, there are no two of us the same, different ages, different circumstances, geographically poles apart, and yet all with one thing in common: we are Mothers, missing our children, simply looking for a way to survive.
There have been times over the years, when I have credited these women with saving my life. In those early days, when I couldn’t imagine living with the pain for even a moment longer, these girls took hold of my hand and walked beside me. During those long, dark nights when my arms physically ached for a baby to hold, they were there, with open arms, guiding me through. When I felt like giving up, when my whole world was falling apart around me, they offered me words of encouragement, of love and support, and reminded me how far I had come.
And the thing that resonates so loudly is that not only were these women dealing with their own loss, and their own pain, but they added my burden to their load and carried it with strength and determination. When one of us faltered we helped each other back up and, slowly but surely, made baby steps in the right direction.
Over the years life has dealt some devastating blows to myself and these women – the loss of more children, the breakdown of relationships, infertility, the loss of parents, gruelling battles with cancer and truly life changing moments. At the same time we have seen eachother through proposals and marriage, through pregnancies and babies, and we have watched each other grow from strength to strength with nothing but love and admiration.
Together we have shared something that no Mother should ever have to experience, bound together by the invisible strings of sorrow. We have shared every thought in our heads, said out loud the unspoken; we have never judged, never questioned, never forgotten those darkest moments which led us to each other. When we remember our babies we no longer think of just the child we lost, but of all of the babies whom we lost together. It has been a small comfort over the years, in such an expanse of pain, to think that our children may have each other in just the same way that we do.
And together we did something which at one time we deemed the impossible.
We have survived.
Because, although we may never be the women we once were, or live the life we so hoped to live, together we can survive just about anything. And today, on Independent Women’s Day, these women, and any Mother who lives a life without her child, they are my superheroes.