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My 3 Boys

by Sarah Juliusson of www.MamaRenew.ca – Find Mama Renew on Facebook.

Gratitude to Jenny Rough and her All Things Mothering post – Mothers Day Prayer.  I started writing this post on Mothers Day, and had to set it aside, not yet ready to write.

I too found myself in a difficult place on Mothers Day, feeling acutely our miscarriage five years ago on Mother’s Day.  After five years, I have found that grief comes in waves – there are times when I can hardly believe we were ever pregnant with a 3rd child, when our family of two parents and two boys feels just right.  And then, every once in a while, the grief surfaces – usually mellow, and occasionally acute.

And so, each year on the day when I am celebrated as a mother, I also mourn as a mother.   Part of me rebels against this poor timing – having to feel such a complexity of emotion on day when I should simply be happy.  Yet it is in so many ways the perfect time to remember that I am a mother to these boys in my home, and this baby in my heart.  When we talk of identity in our Mama Renew groups, it is clear that our identity is shaped just as much by our family, culture, and background as it is by the children that we have birthed.

Reality is we rarely have an opportunity to acknowledge the little ones we have lost.  Someone asks me how many children I have, and the answer is two.  In my head, I’m thinking “I’ve have three sons.”  Someone asks if we’re going to have another, and I say “No we’re done,”  all the while thinking “I already have a third child in my heart, and now we’re done.”

For years I wore a ring with three amber stones – one for each of my boys.  It was a powerful daily reminder for me of how each of these children has shaped who I am as a woman and mother.  I knew the meaning for myself, and if any one chanced to comment on my beautiful ring, I could choose to tell them its’ meaning in a way that felt safe for me.

In her Mothering post Solitary Sadness Wendy Ponte describes a temple in Japan for those who have experienced pregnancy loss, filled with Buddha statues decorated with baby hats and flowers and other symbols of these precious little ones lost.  Mountain View cemetery in Vancouver has created a beautiful memorial to perinatal loss with their river of stones.


After our loss I found myself craving stories of others who had walked this path.  I was astonished by the hidden stories of women all around me, all the babies I had never known, each of them carried quietly inside for years.  In writing this, I’m hoping to hear from some of you -

How have the babies you’ve lost shaped who you are?

How have you found ways to acknowledge them in your life?

Many blessings to all of you. Gratitude,


Mama Renew

About Sarah Juliusson

Sarah Juliusson, founder of Mama Renew, is a gifted facilitator and writer on the journey of birth & motherhood. She brings two decades of experience supporting families through pregnancy, birth and motherhood to her work. Sarah is mother to two growing boys, a playful crafter with cloth & wool, student of traditional food preservation, and a diva at heart. Join the conversation on http://www.mamarenew.ca & on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mamarenew

Comments (2)

Hello friend, No life is ever lost. For your little one awaits you in heaven. :) You still are the mother of that child. Celebrate how you conceived the life that was lost so early. For we do not know all the answers now, and do not know about the "what ifs". Celebrate your child's life on Mother's Day and say a prayer embracing how you long for reunion. Then, turn to your children that are present in the flesh, and give them all you've got. They need you too. xo
The first line in Jeanette Winterson's _Written on the Body_ is the question: "Why is the measure of love loss?". It's a quote that has haunted me for over twenty years now, and as I read your tender post, Sarah, the question resurfaced. Last summer, my husband and I attended the funeral of a child. It was an indescribable experience, but parts of it stand out as relevant here; in an email conversation with that sweet boy's father, we talked about how the sense of loss for a child doesn't come to take the place of the love for that baby. The grief, as bottomless as a parent's love is without ceiling, has to becomes sudden part of a grieving parent's emotional body. And so, unconditional love along side unfathomable loss. I imagine that, with time, they become intertwined, this love and loss, inseparable. I am so sorry that your Mother's Day celebration is not uncomplicated; I wish for you a day of celebration unfettered by the pain of miscarriage. But, as that is not possible in this context, I wish for you periods of solace on that very difficult day, when you can celebrate the lives of all three of your boys in more love than loss.
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