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There exists somewhere within the universe a profound, unspoken rulea mother who loses a child is not allowed to complain about motherhood or her living children. Ever. Period. 

Yes, my daughter died. Yes, it was and still is devastating. Every day. Nothing is going to change that. 

Do I have living children? Yes, and I know just what amazing blessings they are. I know it all too well. In fact, I don’t just know it; I feel it. My heart never beats a single beat without boldly resounding that gratitude. 

But guess what . . . I still have days when my living children drive me absolutely, undeniably crazy. 

There are times when I don’t like motherhood very much, and I wish I could tell someone. I need to tell someone, every mother does. But I can’t.

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If I became the transparent mother that every mother eventually needs to be in order to navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of parenting, what would others think of me? 

How could a mother who buried a child ever make even the slightest implication that her living children are anything less than positively delightful? Shouldn’t I graciously drink in every moment of motherhood like I have an eternally unquenchable thirst? Shouldn’t I savor every tantrum and celebrate every middle-of-the-night waking?

Does doing anything less mean I don’t know how fortunate I am, that I don’t feel the excruciating pain of my loss with every breath I take? Does it mean I am immune to grief?

No! It means I am human.

It means I am capable of feeling gratitude at the same time I feel frustration. 

It means I need grace—not judgment. 

I have already suffered the unimaginable. Support is more than just important for meit is vital. 

Sometimes that support is the thin and fragile thread by which I desperately hang on to existence. 

RELATED: Dear Friend, This is How You Can Support a Mother After Child Loss

So, tell me it’s still OK to have bad days in motherhood and that I don’t have to love every minute of it. Remind me you know how much I love the child I lost.

Let me confide in you and show me empathy the same as you would any other tired mom.

I need to know I’m still allowed to be a typical mom and don’t have to live up to some mythical ideal that I possess superhuman strength simply because I’m still standing despite my loss.

I will always stagger beneath a weight that most mothers, thankfully, will never carry. But I must be allowed to feel and express the same frustrations every mother does. Being forever denied that essential part of parenting would only create more sorrow and difficulty, and I assure you, I’ve already had my share.  

Emily J. Merrick

Emily J. Merrick has a Bachelor's Degree in Family Studies from the University of Kentucky. She worked in a variety of social work and educational settings before becoming a full-time stay-at-home-mom in 2002. She and her (high-school sweetheart) husband have been together for almost 30 years and married for 24. Emily is a mother of six. Her third child passed away after heart surgery. Emily's five living children range in age from 19 down to 5. She ran a very successful Etsy shop from home for six years before becoming disabled in 2021. She now shares her experience through writing and enjoys time at home with her family and pets on 12 beautiful, rural acres in Kentucky. 

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