Sunday, May 20, 2012

Death of a Child: ‘Unfinished Motherhood’

Thanks to Paula Sutton from Schenectady, New York for sending this to us to share on our blog – Paula is Grandma to her baby angel “Suzanne” who, at 4 months, went home to heaven last April 2011..  And she continually reminds her daughter, Daria, that yes – she is still and always will be a mom…

Death of a Child: ‘Unfinished Motherhood’

~ By Clara Hinton

When a child dies, a mother goes through a difficult time of emotional turmoil and questioning. “Am I still a mother?” “Does my child still have a birthday each year, or does time stand still?” “Can the mother/child relationship continue to grow, or am I now an ‘unfinished mother’?”

Losing a child often places a mother on a road that begins a lonelier journey than ever expected-one that can never really be explained. There was a beginning, but with the death of the child, there is no middle and no end. Everything seems so unfinished. Hopes and dreams were stopped far too soon. Joy was snatched away so suddenly. A mother is left with empty arms and an empty heart. Nothing can ever be complete when a child’s life ends.

When the death of a child occurs, a mother may suddenly feel inadequate and incomplete. She wears a new name. She may feel an “unfinished mother,” never being able to see the rest of the picture. She will never be able to watch her child mature into a young adult. She will never be able to see all the pieces fit together. The picture will always have part of the scenery missing. It is so painful to be an unfinished mother! Child loss makes everything seem so empty and incomplete.

There will come a critical point in this journey of grief when a mother must reach deep into her inner resources and make a conscious decision to accept herself just as she is-a mother whose heart has been touched by the pain and grief of child-loss. Only then can she start to put together some of the broken pieces and begin to feel like there will be a day when she will feel more like a complete mother than an unfinished mother.

A mother is never “unfinished.” No matter how brief her time was with her child, the bond of love between mother and child was complete. A mother’s love for her child is unending. Dreams may shatter and circumstances may change, but a mother’s love remains strong. As a mother travels the path to healing, it is important for her to remind herself often that she is a mother forever. Her motherhood did not stop when her child died.

This understanding of motherhood releases the feelings of guilt and failure and allows a mother to begin to see herself as a whole person again-a complete mother.

A mother is never an “unfinished mother.” A mother’s love runs far too deep for that! 

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