The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, November 16, 2007



Subsequents was a term I learned from my online searches the week after Aaron died.

I guess it was an easier way of saying “having another child after losing a child.” But there was something about this clinical-sounding label that lent a controversial tone to the chat rooms in the various bereaved parent sites.

I never weighed in on any of these conversations. I’m not the online chatting kind of person, frankly, which makes this site a bit ironic for me. The issue of subsequents had a long response chain, with parents, mostly mothers, offering their perspectives on how they were preparing for (and worrying about) their next child, and on their process behind considering the “right amount of time” after their child’s death.

There were also practical considerations: what to do with their baby’s clothes, the crib, their fears, the statistics of having it happen again in the same family. And then there were the naysayers. The ones who interrupted these discussions with haughty, holier than thou (can you hear my bias?) diatribes against their decision against having a “replacement child.”

I wondered how families whose firstborns died from SIDS felt about that. Part of the grieving process is coming to terms with your own changes as a mother, as a family, as a woman. We were a family of five and then we weren’t. Not technically, anyway. Aaron still held his position in our family, and we loved to rehash the special moments with him: his perfectly timed grunts in church, the magical effects of “Yellow Submarine” that would stop his screams in his car seat.

We talked about how much we missed him, but we acknowledged this loss as a move to a different location, not as a removal from our family. Tyler, who was only three when his brother died, was Aaron’s ardent supporter and would quietly correct me with, “Mommy, you have two boys” when people asked about our family.

But Aaron’s memories didn’t count when we were in line for movie tickets or planning a family vacation. I couldn’t let go of the reality that we were supposed to be a family with three children gathered around the Christmas tree, driving to Disneyland, arguing in the grocery store about who could sit in the cart. Call it zone defense, call it one man down, call it slightly out of control -- I was desperate to return.

I felt like a fraudulent mother of two.

By Kimberley Kwok


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