I used to joke with my friend that I wasn’t in the “cool moms club” because I didn’t have children. When you don’t have kids but most of the people around you do, it’s hard not to feel like an outsider. They talk about their kids, parenting issues, and you know “mom things.” In addition they go on play dates with each other. You’re not invited because they don’t think about it, or it’s their effort to protect you from feeling bad for not having kids. It’s never on purpose. It’s never to be hurtful. You just realize in these social situations you’re not part of the “cool moms club.”
I was going to be in it… finally. I even noticed conversations changing as I was pregnant. Conversations about kids and pediatricians, and play dates already set up as we talked about how we were going to push our babies around stores together.
And then suddenly all of that changed. You see my baby died. He technically died before he ever entered this world. So what does that mean for me? Am I a mom? According to the state and the hospital he doesn’t even merit a brith certificate.
I didn’t realize I was wrestling with this question until a couple days after his death. I asked some friends to shop with me for clothes for the funeral. It’s odd to think about buying clothes for your son’s funeral, and it seems like an impossible task. How do you choose clothes? You don’t even care what you’re going to wear. You also know you’re never going to want to wear it again. So in order to get through this seemly impossible task, having just given birth, knowing in two days you will bury him, you ask friends to come to help make all decisions because you’re certain your mind can’t.
As the five of us were crammed in a dressing room trying to figure it all out, one of my friends asked about jewelry. She asked if I wanted to get a necklace with the letter “E.” You see I had thought about this jewelry that moms wear displaying letters that represent their kids. I even saw some I thought I might buy one day. But in the moment this question paralyzed me. Within seconds of her asking I began to cry. It suddenly and unknowingly brought up this question in my mind do I still get one of these necklaces? Am I a mom? Do I still wear it even though my son had died. I was wrestling with this in my mind, but never said any words. Seeing the struggle in my eyes, my friend simply placed her hand on mine and said, “we don’t have to decide that right now.” We moved on, and I didn’t think about it again.
The day of funeral another friend, who was in the dressing room previously, handed me a folded up piece of paper. She said, “I got this for you. It’s a necklace.” And moments before the funeral started, I put on this necklace with the letter “E.”
I will admit that I continue to struggle with the idea that I am a mom because it doesn’t look like I anticipated. I don’t get to care for and raise my child. And I’m not certain I will feel any less like an outsider with the “cool moms club.”
But I haven’t taken the necklace off since. To me it’s a reminder that I am a mom. I have a son. His name is Enoch, and I love him with my whole being.