As I tuck Alfie into bed dressed in pyjamas and a vest, I realise that my baby I once held in my arms has gone. Instead I have a wonderful little boy instead.
He hasn’t been in a sleep suit for bed for weeks now. His little feet grew that little bit more and now they are too big for them. What happened to my little baby?! A little chatty, independent , cheeky boy has taken his place.
As I watch him getting snuggled up into bed I wondered how everything had past me by already. He’s only 2 and already he has changed and developed. He has become a little boy with his own personality making us laugh and smile on a daily basis. I love watching him grow but gosh I miss my baby. I wish I could nip back in time and capture some more of those precious moments and make sure I savour it all. I wonder if I took enough video or pictures (ok pictures I probably did but video I didn’t).
Due to having dyspraxia, I really struggle with my memory and I worry so much that I will forget all these cute special stages of his life whilst he is so young. Each small stage is passing me by so quickly.
I wonder as I tuck him in to bed and place a kiss on his forehead what stage will be next and what will be next to go. I will suddenly realise that something was the last time and I will think to myself was I ready, I didn’t realise I wouldn’t be able to do that again.
Then I snap myself out of it and realise just how lucky I am to watch him grow every day. I saw a quote some time ago that as a Rainbow Mummy and an Angel Mummy has stuck with me. “You think seeing them grow up too fast is hard? Try not seeing them grow up at all”. I have my forever baby.
So despite missing stages with Alfie and worrying about not savouring the moment enough or catching it on video or camera, I remember I have a baby that is frozen in time. Watching them grow into their own person and explore the world is one of the greatest honours of being a parent. Whilst thinking to yourself, I created that wonderful child, and hope that one day they do something incredible and that my dear is all down to you. You shaped that wonderful tiny baby into someone incredible. Be proud of that. When they have long since left home, it is then that we can look back on what was and remember all the silly and wonderful moments we shared as a family.
I love you Alfie Shepherd. Reach for the stars my darling boy and be everything you can possibly be.
Lots of love
Oh god. It’s coming up to that day again. Mother’s Day. I really struggle with it. I feel like people expect me to be happy and all that other stuff I am supposed to feel because I have Alfie. I also have my Mum and a great Mother in law, it still doesn’t make it easier though. It’s a day of celebrating being a Mother and celebrating the Mother (& Mother figures) you have and all that they have done for you and what a fantastic Mummy you are/they are.
I like to think that I am still a Mummy to Ethan but it really isn’t the same. I have never and will never teach him anything.
I will never be able to shape him into any kind of person. Nothing. The only thing you get being an angel Mummy is what you do for them in their after life / in memory and the strength you found to carry on after they died. I mean that’s a Mother like no other. The strength from and Angel Mother is unimaginable and the pain is unfathomable. However it is not the Mother you expect or want to be especially on a day like Mother’s Day. It honestly pains me. I am still learning how to manage certain types of pain and that’s one of them.
Hiding your pain and tears from your others living child who doesn’t yet understand. Trying to be happy and hold back the tears for the living children you have on a day like Mothers Day while they spoil you for being the wonderful Mummy you are.
Everything around it & about Mother’s Day still hurts. I’ll be honest. I struggle to even read Mothers Day cards when I’m buying one for my own Mum.
Some people might think that this far down the line I’ve got it all sorted now and under control but I’ll let you in on a secret. In some ways it feels worse. Let me explain. It’s further away from when I held him, touched him, felt him, smelt him. Saw that only breath. It’s further away from when I actually felt like a real Mummy to him when I held him in my arms. Holding his ashes in a box in a teddy is nice but it really isn’t the same. He might not have hugged me back or smiled or even opened his eyes that day he was born but it’s probably the only time I really felt like his Mummy. When I held him.
Being Ethan’s Mummy is so hard. Being a Mummy full stop is hard but an angel Mummy is another level.
If you followed my blog for a while you will know the story around Ethan’s death and that ultimately my husband and I had to make the decision on when to end his life. I live with that every day. Almost 4 years down the line and I still have to tell myself it was the right thing to do. Waking up in the morning some days wondering and doubting yourself, wondering if you could have done more. I know there wasn’t but I don’t get that time back. I don’t get to change my mind, or follow a different path. It’s gone. Final. Living with this ‘guilt’ is bloody awful no matter how right it was. I guess what I am trying to say is that the reasons surrounding Ethan’s death (for me anyway) is the only time I have felt like a true Mummy to him. I did what I had to do to stop him every suffering, that was my 1 act and 1 chance of being a Mummy and proving myself as a Mummy for him. In truth sometimes I feel like I failed. I failed at doing what I should have done for him which was to protect him, keep him safe, and nurture him into a wonderful boy. I might have kept him safe and protected him of a fashion but good god it wasn’t meant to be like this.
Alfie being 2 really doesn’t understand anything yet. We have told him Ethan lives in the sky and that the bear we have is Ethan’s bear. We include Ethan’s name when we discuss who is in our family and he says Ethan and points to the sky but that’s it. He sees me cry sometimes and says “ok Mummy?” One day he will know truly why sometimes I cry, I just hope to god he never understands. Being hereditary (I think) it isn’t something I can keep from him.
Alfie keeps me going at times like this. Mother’s Day. Christmas. Birthday (anyone’s). Easter. The lot. I tend throw myself head on into things just to distract myself from the pain I’m feeling inside.
Mother’s Day 2014 was also right near my birthday and I was also nearly 12 weeks pregnant with Ethan. My husband and I thought it was a great idea to tell our Mum’s we were expecting our first baby together. It was so exciting Mother’s Day. My first one not as a step mum but where I was going to be a Mummy to a baby I carried myself. I was bloody thrilled and it was all so exciting for all of us.
The year after in 2015 I was pregnant with Alfie. I honestly can’t remember what we did. It was the first one without Ethan too so my head was most likely a mess. I’m sure it was nice though. Inside I was filled with a sharp pain through my heart as the reminder of last years excitement kicked in. The dread of this pregnancy and what was to come.
The following years I still can’t remember to be honest. I do what I have to do. I make an effort. I smile. I visit my son at the cemetery and give him flowers……..how am I even writing that. Just writing that makes me want to sob (ok I am sobbing anyway whilst writing this but you get what I mean). It’s just all wrong.
As much as I love Alfie and spending time with all the wonderful Mother figures in my life. Part of me on Mother’s Day just wants a bit of time away to sit, scream, cry and wonder (quite truthfully) what the f’n hell did I do to deserve such pain.
Mother’s Day this year I’m making two of my best dishes. Cheese and onion pie and bake well tart. All homemade and no I won’t be counting the syns (slimming world). I will be enjoying breakfast being made for me, a hot shower alone, playing with Alfie and spending quality time with my Mummy. I will also be down at the cemetery where for a few mins I will let myself go and cry for a while before I straight up and dry my eyes and smile for the rest of the day. So while I am doing this and you are enjoying being pampered, I ask of you this.
Think of me and my Angel Mummy friends on Mother’s Day. Please don’t feel sad for me, just hug your little ones a little more that day, and despite the daily struggles of Motherhood. Just be grateful for having healthy children who are alive and with you.
For the Angel Mummy that’s reading this. I’m with you. Let’s cry together. Shed the tear if you wish and never ever forget that even if you only felt like a Mummy for that moment you held your precious angel you are and will always be a Mummy. You are the strongest Mummy I will ever meet and your daily struggle is more than what most can imagine.
For the one that reads this who lost her Mummy. Our pain is different but our tears are the same and filled with love. Remember she loved you and she will always be with you. She’s right by your side and so am I.
Lots of love on Mother’s Day and always
P.s. I love you Ethan Shepherd. You made me a Mummy, the strength you had has strengthened me. This coming Mothers Day is one more hug I will stow away until we meet again. Then I’ll never let you go. Thank you for making me a Mummy. I love you more than you will ever know. Please don’t forget that.