You Are the Mother of All Mothers

December 8, 2013

A quote by Anon states: "She may look young, but inside she has become ancient." On the outside I look the same.  I can carry myself the same way.  But if you could peal back the layers, I am elderly.  I am an old, worn out woman, with wrinkles, and scars and dark circles under my eyes.  I am ancient.

Tomorrow I would have been 24 weeks.  Viability.  Even in the innocence of the beginning of this pregnancy, I didn't even know that 24 weeks was any great "marker."  I just knew 12 weeks was the acclaimed "safe zone."  I'm no fool though.  The phrase viability gives too many close-to-be-mamas a huge false hope.  Only 39% of babies survive that are born at 24 weeks-1/3 of them will have severe permanent brain damage. White males have the worse survival rates. I have come into contact with several moms who gave birth in that 24-25 "viability" zone all to lose their live child in the NICU days later-or who lived but are on feeding tubes years later. Still, the December 9th date stings a bit.  After trying so hard for so long and truly believing that Jude would make it, the 24 week zone is a little slap in my face since I lost him just 21 days ago.

I cannot stop looking at his face.  I love it.  I don't ever want to forget a single detail of it. Not even for a second.  If I feel like I can't fully remember, I look at his face.  I look again.  And again.  And again. 

There is a woman named Angela Miller who lost a child at age 2 and has a HUGE voice among bereaved mothers.  Obviously losing a child at age 2 is far worse than what I experienced.  She is working on a "gift book" where she will have the following written. 

Before the reading I'm also putting her youtube video (it's a minute) of why she wrote these words up top.  It's powerful and it brings comfort. 

I dedicate the following words from her to ALL moms who have loved and lost whether it be a chemical pregnancy ranging from burying your own grown child.  Read it again and again. I cry every time because it validates that I am the mom of Jude and Brinly. You ARE a mother of all mothers.  We are the mother of all mothers.

I have to tell you this.

You didn’t fail. Not even a little.

You are not a horrible mother.

You didn’t choose this. You didn’t want this to happen. You didn’t do anything wrong. It just happened. To you. Despite your begging, pleading, praying, hoping against all hope it would not. Even though everything within you was screaming no, no, no, no, no.

God didn’t do this to punish you, smite you, or to teach you a lesson. That is not God’s way. You could not have prevented this if you tried harder, prayed harder, or were a “better” person. Nor if you ate better, loved harder, yoga-ed more, did x, y, or z to the nth degree—fill in the blank with any other lie your mind devises. You could not have prevented this even if you could have predicted the future like no one can.

No, there is nothing more you could have done. You did everything you possibly could have. And you are the best mother there is because you would have done absolutely anything to keep your child alive. To breathe your last breath instead. To choose the pain all over again just to spend one more minute together. That is the ultimate kind of love. You are the ultimate kind of mother.

So wash your hands of any naysayers, betrayers, or those who sprinted in the other direction when you needed them most. Wash your hands of the people who may have falsely judged you, ostracized you, or stigmatized you because of what happened to you. Wash your hands of anyone who has made you feel less than by questioning everything you did or didn’t do. Anyone whose words or looks have implied this was somehow your fault.

This was not your fault. This will never be your fault, no matter how many different ways someone tries to tell you it was.

Especially if that someone happens to be you. Sometimes it’s not what others are saying that keeps you shackled in shame. Sometimes you adopt others’ misguided opinions and assumptions. Sometimes it’s your own inner voice that shoves you into the darkest corner of despair, like an abuser, telling you over and over and over again you failed as a mother. Convincing you if only this and what if that, it never would have happened. Saying you coulda, shoulda done this or that so your child would not have died.

That is a lie of the sickest kind. Do not believe it, not even for a second. Do not let it sink into your bones. Do not let it smother that beautiful, beautiful light of yours.

Instead, breathe in this truth with every part of yourself: You are the best damn mother in the entire world.

No one else could do what you do. No one else could ever mother your child as well as you can, as well as you are. No one else could let your child’s love and light shine through the way you do. No one else could mother your dead child as bravely. No one else could carry this unrelenting burden as courageously. It is the heaviest, most torturous burden there is.

There is no one, no one, no one who could ever, ever replace you. No one. You were chosen to be your child’s mother. Yes—chosen. And no one could parent your child better in life or in death than you do. You have within you a sacred strength.

You are the mother of all mothers.

So breathe, mama, keep breathing. Believe, mama, keep believing. Fight, mama, keep fighting for this truth to uproot the lies in your heart—you didn’t fail. Not even a little.

For whatever it’s worth, I see you. I hear your guttural sobs. I feel your ache deep inside my bones. And it doesn’t make me uncomfortable to put my fingers as a makeshift Band-Aid over the gaping hole in your heart until the scabs come, if and when they do.

It takes invincible strength to mother a child you can no longer hold, see, touch, or hear. You are a superhero mama. I see you fall down and get up, fall down and get up, over and over again. I notice the grit and guts it takes to pry yourself out of bed every single day and force your bloodied feet to stand up and keep walking. I see you walking this path of life you’ve been given, where every breath and step apart from your child is a physical, emotional, and spiritual battleground. A fight for your own survival. A fight to quiet the insidious lies.

But the truth is, you haven’t failed at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

You are the mother of all mothers.

Truly, the most inspiring, courageous, loving mother there is—a warrior mama through and through.

For even in death, you lovingly mother your precious child still.


  1. That's beautiful, Holly! Thanks for sharing! You certainly did not fail Brinly or Jude or your other two sweet babies! I can certainly see why today would sting… even the small chance the 24 week marker brings is something, and to you, it was everything. I'm so sorry that those 21 days couldn't have gone by faster, that time couldn't have sped up for you. Thinking of you, Holly.

  2. Holly, thank you so much for sharing this today, I really needed to see it!

  3. That is amazing and so beautiful.

    xoxo friend

  4. That is so beautiful! I'm passing it along to some of my friends who have experienced losses.

  5. Beautiful, Holly. Still thinking about you every day. And praying for you constantly. You are a warrior mama.

  6. I needed so much to hear this today. Thank you. Thinking about you and all your sweet babies. I wish so much that this was different for you. For all of us.

  7. Beautiful! You ARE the Mother of all Mothers!

  8. i loved this! thank you for sharing.

  9. There aren't enough words today for everything that has happened these past six weeks. Praying for you and all who have lost.

  10. Beautiful. You have been on my mind a lot lately. I was happy to see a post from you in my blog feed this morning. I'm praying for you so much. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing! I definitely needed that today!

  12. Hi Holly, first off I want to say that I am so very sorry for the loss of your precious babies. My heart aches for you. I found your blog from a fellow TTC sister on IG. As soon as I saw your blog and read it I cried for you and your husband, but also felt how incredibly strong and amazing you are. My name is Sarah and I had a very similar experience this May. I got pregnant through IVF after 6 years of infertility treatments. We were so happy and excited. At 12 weeks I found out that one of my twins my son Mason had Amniotic Band Syndrome and was told he would not live outside my womb. I was very sad, but knew that I had a healthy baby that I had to fight for. At 18 weeks 1 day my water broke and I was in labor for two days. I gave birth to my Mason he was stillborn. The Dr's were going to try and save Jayden as he was healthy but when I delivered Mason his placenta ruptured causing infection and the Drs were worried I could die from it or that my other son Jayden would die from it. It was so hard to know that my body failed my babies. Especially Jayden knowing he was healthy and happy. Jayden was measuring a week and half ahead. He came out in is sac and was breathing. They gave me my son as I watched him breathe and hold my hand. He was perfect and looked just like my husband. He had the cutest nose and feet. I tell you this to know that you are not alone. I don’t know if that brings you comfort but want you to know that I am thinking of you. You are a strong and amazing and so very beautiful. It’s been 7 months for me next week. I will always cherish the positives of the situation. I got to experience being pregnant, I got to meet my babies and angels and I know that it is possible to get pregnant. The sadness I experienced hasn’t gone away, but it gets easier day by day never forgetting but being able to see the good of the incredibly difficult situation. Moving forward my MFM Dr will want to do a cerclage at 13 weeks. I read your earlier post about this. I felt the same and understand how you feel. I decided that it is the best plan for me. There is a cerclage that can be placed permanently it’s called a TAC Cerclage. My sister also had a loss of twin boys at 23 weeks due to PPROm and incompetent cervix and a little girl at 24 weeks. The drs placed a TAC Cerclage and she now has my little smart nephew. I thought I would tell you this in case you can ask about it. The TAC is placed before a pregnancy and minimizes many of the concerns you had. It also is rare that drs will perform it. I have asked to get it but they won’t do it for me. They did it for my sister because of her multiple losses with different pregnancies. I wanted to share that you are not alone and I appreciate your blog. It helps Mother’s like me know that I am not alone either. I pray for you and your babies and your husband.

  13. So powerful and beautiful! You are always in my prayers!

  14. That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. Found your blog from reading a few others. Your story brought me to tears, I cried for you, your husband and your sweet babies. I pray that God will give you peace. I believe God has a plan for all of us, and I just pray that he will show you his plan soon so it might ease your pain. I know what it is like to have a body that fails your babies, a body that the doctors put before your baby. It's dreadfully painful. You will continue to be in my prayers. May God provide you strength and wrap you in his love.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story. My mantra these days is "be kind to yourself". The voice inside my head can be my worst enemy -- especially in times of doubt and sorrow. It's empowering to hear your resolute voice through this blog. I wish you all the best, especially strength, peace and kindness.

  17. So very beautiful and so true. Thank you for sharing. You my friend, certainly are the mother of all mothers. Sending love to you...

  18. Thank you . . . for sharing your story . . . for being so transparent . . . for ministering to those around you even though you are aching inside . . . for being real . . . for blessing me and my heart in more ways than you can imagine.

    "So breathe, mama, keep breathing. Believe, mama, keep believing. Fight, mama, keep fighting for this truth to uproot the lies in your heart—you didn't fail. Not even a little."

    Not even a little . . .

  19. Can I ask the name of the book that was talked about in the video? I want to send it to my brother and my sister in law. My nephew was still born at 38 weeks in August. You are in my prayers!!
    Thank you!

    1. yes it's called "You are the Mother of All Mothers" by Angela Miller :)


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