My Mother Died After Giving Birth
I have contemplated sharing this story. Not sure why, but I have. The call to this career has been in the making since birth. I never thought I would be working in a field to help prevent the thing that happened to me. But, this is my why! My mother died after giving birth. So, here I am, doing the work—no regrets, only understanding and embracing the assignment.
In 1964, I was born to a young mother. I was her 8th child. We lived in Florida. I, of course, have no memory of this, so any information I would share here would be hearsay, so I will stick to what I believe or know to be true for me. Twenty-two days after my birth, my mother passed away. The story was she was on the phone with her sister, complaining of a headache. Somewhere between that phone call and hanging up, she died. What I know now, having a stroke after delivering a baby is not uncommon. Now there are eight children without a mother.
My birth mother was from Georgia, and the news of her passing led her siblings, that still resided in that area, to come to Florida and get her children. Again, this is hearsay, but what I know to be true for me is I was brought to Georgia, and her sister raised me. This is who I know of as my mama. I did not know my birth mother as my mother, her sister was my mother. Now thinking back on my experiences as a nurse home visitor and working with families that are expecting or have children in the home under the age of three, I can only imagine the stress, trauma, upset, and confusion this had on my siblings. I think the children’s ages ranged from 22 days old to 19 years old that were left behind.
We stayed in Georgia for some months, but some returned to Florida. It is confusing to me how things went down as an infant, but what I know is true for me is that I lived in Georgia with the person I knew as my mama. Growing up, I often felt like a puzzle piece in a box that did not belong. We would visit Florida, and I would spend time with my oldest sister, and she would take me to visit my siblings and the relatives they lived with. There goes that puzzle piece again. I still felt like I did not belong. I would hear things like, “You look just like your mama,” or some people would ask, “Who is she”? Then people would fill in the blanks. “That is the baby girl,” or “That’s my baby sister,” and “She lives in Georgia with our aunt.”
As I grew up, one of the things I heard the most was, “That’s not your mom, your real mom is dead.” I heard it so much that it became my language. When I introduced my mama to friends, I sometimes said, “This is my mama, but she is not my real mama; my real mama is dead.” Things became confusing; my mama’s children called me their niece. Some would say I was not their sister. Looking back, I probably should have lost my mind, but by the grace of God.
Not many of my mama’s children wanted to fool with me. I was pretty mouthy. My mama knew it and would keep me home to keep me from getting into trouble or ‘showing out”, LOL. I would talk back to anybody. I wonder now if it was because I was trying to control my environment since I did not fit into all the other environments I was in.
When a mom dies, she leaves behind something. A child/children, spouse/partner, siblings, friends, etc., but what happens to those left behind who cannot fend for themselves? I have experienced it. This is why I do what I do now—helping to keep moms alive so they can raise their children. For the moms that have passed away, I wonder what they would speak about how their children were cared for. I genuinely believe the best intentions are there when someone steps in to assume responsibility for the children, but for the children, something is missing. I think it should be acknowledged and validated so they can find some sense of normalcy in what is happening in their world. It Takes A Village to keep our maternal families safe during and after pregnancy. In maternal deaths, the Village must keep the baby/children safe.
My mother died after giving birth. This is my WHY.
About Prime BabyTime Consulting, LLC
Prime BabyTime Consulting, LLC helps new families in Middle Georgia by providing postpartum doula support. Now taking inquiries for service.
I’m Registered Nurse, Postpartum Doula, and a Breastfeeding Consultant. Contact me today at 478-951-5301.
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