That Mom

I am that mom.

The one whose blog you may visit through guarded eyes, until you know I am having a “good” day.

The one whose story you read with a tissue in hand, not quite opening your whole heart because it might just be too much to take in.

The one who you talk to or email or tweet, hoping that I don’t mention grief or pain or my daughter,

because what will you say next?

This is the turn my life has taken and as much as I never imagined it to be, never in a million years pictured myself in this place,

here I am.

There are days when grief swallows me whole and I’m not really sure what to do with myself, or my relenting ache, or the ever-present emptiness.

I am having one of those days, or maybe one of those weeks, or is this the flow of my lifetime?  Three years of grief have passed and I am still caught off guard by the current.

The edges of grief and the softness of love and the intense gratitude for the life that is and the life that was, all meet somewhere within me and blur to one place of being, of living, without my whole world here.

I am tired of the relenting grief, of hearing new stories of loss and heartache, of being that mom along with so many others.

NO ONE, NO ONE EVER, should sit by the side of a piece of their heart in intensive care or walk through life with that piece missing.

We, as mothers, deserve a blissful, bonding nine months of rubbing a belly full of life and the immeasurable prize of a tiny, pink newborn to take home in the end.

But we don’t all get that and we don’t all know what to do when it happens to someone else either.

So here is what you can do for me and the millions of other moms who are that mom too…

You can breathe in and treasure that cooing baby wrapped around your waist and read that toddler pulling the glasses off your face one extra bedtime story and appreciate the warmth of the hand of that little girl strutting next to you with shoes on the wrong feet and give an extra long hug and a warm smile to that teenager grabbing for your car keys, because appreciating the life that is here is the most tremendous way to honor the life that is not.

And if you still want to do more?  You can, because I am walking.

I am walking, because honestly, I don’t really know what else to do.

I am walking like I have done every year… but this year?

This year I am going to fundraise until steam comes off my keyboard and walk for my preemies who won their battle with life and my preemie who lost her’s and all of those moms of babies born weeks or months too early and those of babies who took their last breath and those of high risk pregnancies that left them wondering if a baby would “be” at all.

I am walking because I am grieving with so many others and because this walk and this day makes being that mom a title I have an ounce of power over.

If you want to do more, click that little purple button below with my beautiful baby’s picture on it and donate a dollar or two to fuel the fire that my grief has lit.

Thank you,

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  1. Nikki Leonard says

    I stumbled upon your blog from mommy shorts, and though my husband and I do not have children yet, I love reading about yours. Reading this blog caused me to donate to March of Dimes last night, when the man at the grocery store asked; to think more about why my husband is an only child, and what his mother went through; and to look into doing the March of Dimes walk. I’m just sad we will be out of state at a wedding during the walk this year. Thank for you sharing part of yourself with total strangers.

  2. By Word of Mouth Musings says

    Funny I was the last person to comment on this and the first on the repost … (maybe)
    But your words, these are words to be shared again, because they are beautiful and they are the sweet and wonderful thoughts you have that you share so eloquently with us all. With heart and soul … and I love that I know you here …

  3. By Word of Mouth Mus says

    Hello gorgeous friend
    Your words never fail to move me!
    The deep one's from your heart that make me want to reach in and hug you … and the funny one's from your day that make me wish we could run to the closest coffee shop together and hide from the world ;)
    Step by step, you will change the world!

    • jessica says

      It is so funny that you commented on this today because just this morning I was thinking about the people I have met in the blog world that have become such amazing supportive friends and I found myself wondering what you have been up to and feeling like we haven't "visited" enough lately. How quickly we can connect with people we are genuinely meant to be friends with.

      Thank you so much for your words and your support, I can't tell you home much it means to me.

  4. Amy says

    I'm glad I found your blog, and hope that by reading it and learning more about your path, I won't be 'that other' mom: the one who doesn't know what to say.

  5. Branson says

    I may comment more on the funny posts because I dont always know what to say when things get serious, but I always read, pray, and treasure my son even more (if that is possible). Thank you for your honesty and your action in fundraising and increasing awareness. Stay strong :)
    http://blmerrill.blogspot.com

  6. Brooke says

    I read this this morning and you had $0! NOW LOOK! YAY! thank you so much for your comment, it made me smile! and I can't even imagine what you go through but this morning when I read this ( I didn't comment because it was breakfast time or lunch time! ha you know how it goes) but the rest of the day I tried to just laugh off some things that my daughter did instead of get so worked up about it and it was a little bit of a better day so thank you :)

  7. Allison says

    I know I can usually count on a good laugh or a good cry from your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I'm glad to have you along on my crazy journey.

  8. tina says

    i know what its like to feel grief and i am sad to be part of that club. although my story may not be as devastating as others, i know grief.i wish you luck with your goal.

  9. Adrienne says

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine. Thank you for the reminder to treasure the two healthy babies I have.

    This is your space. Be "that" mom all you want. The truth is. Many probably find encouragement in your posts.

  10. Julie Gardner says

    A beautiful tribute. I am in tears. Not merely from reading your post, but also from scrolling down and reading the words from this long list of supporters who love you.
    Who are now donating to this important cause.
    Who are honoring your precious baby's memory here.

    Just look at how much love she has rendered.
    Beginning first and always with yours.

    • jessica says

      I feel the same, the outpouring this post created is overwhelming, I could read these comments over and over. Thank you for taking the time to come here and read.

  11. Anonymous says

    I hope you raise tons of money! We walk, too. Because I know that I was lucky that my kids were all born full term and healthy…but that there was no guarentee that would happen.

    And your blog is YOURS. Share your joy, share your grief. You are very real with what you feel. I may not read every post, but it's not because of what I'm afraid I'll read, but rather not having enough time in the day. Keep sharing your heart.

    • jessica says

      I think that is awesome that you walk because you recognize what you have to be grateful for. Looking forward to walking this year for many reasons but one of them is the connections I have made to so many other moms who will be walking just as I am.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and for your support.

  12. The Flying Chalupa says

    Okay, grabbing the tissue now. Don't be afraid to be that mom. Everything that has happened to is your story. Who you are. The grief, the tears, and ultimately the strength to be there for those who need you.

    Good for you for walking and taking action!

    • jessica says

      Sorry about the tissue but thank you for reading and for the encouragement. Some days I need it more than others and this was one of them. Thank you.

  13. Oka says

    I do find it hard to respond on posts of personal hardships. I can only try to imagine the pain that one has been/is going through. Their stories tear me up, and I know that is nothing close to how they are feeling. Your strength and encouragement to help others is warming and welcomed. Thanks.

    • jessica says

      It was always hard for me too, before I experienced loss, sometimes I think the best thing you can say is to let someone know that you don't know what to say. I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts.

  14. Jaime says

    I definitely don't always know what to say. I wish I did. I'm much better at writing my words than saying them, so sometimes I am caught off gaurd and unable to offer any words of wisdom, advice or comfort. But that's not really what you need. I love reading your blog. It's so honest and open, and that's what makes your readers love you. I don't mind using a tissue when I read it. It helps me remember that I'm human and that I'm so lucky to hold both my babies in my arms. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't possibly understand the grief you face every day, but thank you for sharing it.

    • jessica says

      Me too! I am SO much better at writing than at talking, thus the reason for spilling all of my thoughts here. Blogging is the best isn't it? Thank you for always reading my words, even if kleenex is necessary.

  15. Lynn says

    I never come to your blog with guarded eyes! Jillsmo's, yes. Yours, no. Keep writing and walking and fighting and grieving and joying…we're not going anywhere!

    • jessica says

      Thanks Lynn, so I am not the only one that winces a bit when heading over to Jillsmo? I'm still scared she is going to come and find me since I have yet to follow through with my memetastic post.

  16. thekingandeye says

    I don't shy away from your words, not at all. You have helped me hugely, more than you will ever know. My niece will be born in about 6 weeks and I won't get to meet her alive but I am more prepared because of you. THANK YOU. Will tweet this to help with the fundraising. Jen xx

    • jessica says

      Thank you Jen, I wish your niece were going to get to spend the lifetime she deserves with you and your sister and the rest of your family. I will be here for you though, in whatever way you need, me when the time comes.

  17. Debbie says

    I love reading your blog. Your words speak to me. Your words make me remember (not that I could ever forget). I also will be walking this spring for all babies born too soon. (((HUGS))) to you!

  18. Renegades says

    I cannot imagine the pain of having a piece of your heart right next to you in the ICU touches me as a mother. I cannot imagine your pain.

    Your post is so strong and evokes emotion. Glad you are strong enough to share it.

  19. Abbie says

    Your comments about sitting next to a piece of your heart in intensive care and walking through life with that piece missing brought tears to me eyes. I am too am walking as I don't know what else to do, Ava's twin sister keeps me going, even if the path is such a different one to the one I ever imagined. I hope that fundraising in memory of your beautiful Hadley brings you some peace and strength, we have fundraised for the neonatal unit that looked after our girls and I find it helps me to channel some of my grief in this way.

    • jessica says

      I'm glad that you have found a way to walk too because it feels so good to be able to do something. I'm sorry that we both have to walk in memory of our girls. I wish that we were both walking in their honor, pulling them along for the walk too. Thank you for coming here and for reading, I will think of you and your girls when I walk.

  20. Nana says

    You and Mark have honored Hadley's life and memory in so many wonderful ways, and the walk is one more path to keeping her tiny light lit. Your fierce, gentle, overwhelming love for her lives on with every breath you take, every word you write. I am so proud to walk with you.

    • jessica says

      I am glad that you walk with us too and thankful for the whole team we have behind us. I'm not sure any of them will ever know how much it means. Love you.

  21. Alexandra says

    I'm not afraid or in fear of your words. I am just guilty of not knowing how to plan my time better, for visiting blogs.

    And your words, I want you to say your words, because you need to. You cannot keep all that inside. And to fight for other premies, gives meaning to all the babies who are not able to survive early births.

    Mine were, and I appreciate that and I pray I never take that for granted. I will click, so that babies like mine, born at 31 wks, and earlier, can survive.

    You keep writing, sister, because it makes some kind of sense somehow, if it helps other babies survive.

    A little bit, somehow.

    Love to you, always.

    • jessica says

      I had no idea you had a preemie, well I will add them to the list that fuels my fire.

      Thank you for coming here and for not being afraid of what you might read.

      I will keep writing because it is the best therapy I can get.

      Much love to you.

  22. Amy Newman says

    We are walking again this year too.

    We are the same and different in our grief. I never wanted to be "that mom" either. But I also didn't want to be "that mom" you look at and think, "I'm going to go home and hug my kids tighter and let them have another slice of cake because they could be gone like that woman's." Because if it takes looking at me and hearing my story to make you appreciate what you have, then you don't deserve to have it.

    • jessica says

      I never thought about it that way Amy. I think loss has made me appreciate my kinds in a way that I would not have had I not lost Hadley, not that I would have taken them for granted before but knowing that life is so fragile makes me take in moments much more so than I would have otherwise. I just learned of another loss this week and that reminder of fragility caused me to spend a lot more time playing on the floor with my kids than doing the laundry this week. And I think that was the point I wanted to make. Are we the same yet :) ?

  23. Dotcomkari says

    *huge hugs* I know the pain, I know how much it hurts. It will be 11 years this March since I lost my Livy. The pain never goes away.

    Talk all you want about your daughter, she is a part of you and always will be. You have the right as her mother to talk about her, miss her, cry.. scream.. so forth.

    • jessica says

      It is sad but comforting at the same time to know that after 11 years it is still hard. Does that make any sense? Somehow feeling it is a way of remembering her and I don't want that to ever go away. Hugs to you too.

  24. jillsmo says

    I will click and I will help you and I will support you while you do whatever you want and whatever it takes.

    I never fear coming here. I never hope you don't mention grief or death or your daughter. I hope you DO mention them because I know that talking about it helps, even in the smallest possible way, and I support you in that 100%.

    I don't care what you'll say next, because as long as it isn't "I'm going to stop blogging" I'm totally okay with whatever it is.

  25. Anonymous says

    First, I don't fear coming here. Hadley is a part of you and I like you just the way you are. Broken heart and whole heart and all.

    Second the fire your grief has lit? Will burn huge. And save lives.

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