Always Here With Me

"And I have the sense to recognize that
I don’t know how to let you go
every moment marked
with apparitions of your soul"
Sara McLachlan, Do What You Have To Do

I have often said that I have felt my daughters presence around me since the day I let her go. Early in my loss, I had night terrors where I would hear her cry. I would walk my apartment alone, looking for a crying baby, and after an exhaustive search, usually end up sleeping under my kitchen table with my table cloth as a blanket.

I would wake in the mornings and expect her to be here and have to snap myself into the harsh reality that she was gone from me. Birthdays, holidays, any number of triggering days would find me feeling as I should buy her a present.

Every day I drive my children in our car, I double check as I feel as if someone is missing. When I set a table for dinner, I feel I should set an extra plate.

You can take the child away from the mother but you cannot the child out of the mother. Once a mother, always a mother, whether your child is present or not. Your body chemistry changes and expects to nourish a child. That feeling doesn’t go away simply because the child has been taken away.

I used to think there was something wrong with me for feeling this way. That I was obsessive or psychotic or something else. Would I ever get over losing my child? Would I ever just let her go like “they” said I would?

It took me years to realize they were wrong. It was quite normal for me to need, want, worry, and expect my child to be here. I wasn’t crazy. I was a mother without her child. It was a crime against nature. My body knew I had a child but the child was not here.

Today, upon finishing the book Without a Map, another realization hit me. I will let Meredith Hall, the author say it for me:

“It has just been discovered that women carry fetal cells from all the babies they have carried.  Crossing the defensive boundaries of our immune system and mixing with our own cells, the fetal cells circulate in the mothers’ bloodstream for decades after each birth. They body does not tolerate foreign cells, which trigger illness and rejection. But a mother’s body incorporates into her own cells the cells of her children as if they recognize each other, belong to each other. This fantastic melding of two selves, mother and child, is called human microchimerism. My three children are carried in my bloodstream still…their cells crossing permeable boundaries and joining mine, floating every day through my body, part of me. How did we not know this? How can this be a surprise?” Without a Map, Page 177, Meredith Hall

I love this. It makes sense. I feel my daughter every day because she is still inside me. More than just a memory, she is physically part of me still today.  Furthermore, her cells are in my subsequent children – her brothers. She is here with me, here with them. She is here and always has been.

I find some odd sort of peace in that.

I am not crazy and she is here.

She has always been here.   She never left me. I always felt her here.  I  knew I was always in her but to know she is with me? In me.

It makes me cry.

I have always had my baby girl with me.

6 Thoughts.

  1. I finished the book yesterday morning too. As I was reading, I thought of you often….and of our children, and of their first mothers and fathers, and of the reality of a whole support system totally collapsing, of a person just being cast out. I’m glad you liked it.

  2. I’ve been reading that one this weekend. I’m almost done it. I just found out about fetal microchimerism very recently. I think it just about says it all. It explains a lot to me.

  3. Yes! Profound. It isnt about the guilt at all, but natural affairs of our self being.

  4. Well, I’ll be. That explains a lot, no? I have had an actual panic attack that I’ve left her somewhere, nightmares of leaving her places. This is very, very interesting. (And, oh, how Sarah sings to me…)

  5. Oh God I am totally crying. You represent my mother to me. All the things I don’t hear her say, I believe sometimes she feels as though you do. I love to read your blog because as I said, in a weird way, you represent my mother. But I’ve also grown a bit attached to your intelligence, thoughtfullness and sense of humor.
    Thank you Suz

  6. Oh that scares me, that cell swapping bit, but it is true, that is what I was feeling. That.
    I can’t even begin to describe how freaky in person reunion is, it is freaky.
    It was like I knew her the first time I laid eyes on her, or the second time, but I also knew HIM, I knew my father as well. It scares me.

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