Today, in a Facebook conversation about breastfeeding and formula feeding, I read a comment that said something along the lines of "if your child still lives and is healthy, you did your job as a mother". Occasionally I see pictures implying that the one thing a mother needs to do to be successful is keep your children alive, like this one:
And every time it's like a stab in the heart.
Because I couldn't keep my child alive.
But that does NOT make me a failure.
I believed for too long that it did, but I refuse to believe it now. There is not a single baby loss mother I know who has failed her baby...because every single one of them loves that baby with their whole being. For those who haven't lost a child, allow me to let you in on something...most baby loss mamas blame themselves in some way, at least initially. We feel like we have failed our babies, our partners, our family. We don't need comments implying that (intentional or otherwise).
But it's not just about keeping your child alive, success should not be defined by having a healthy child either. I cannot speak from experience, but I don't think my friends whose children are unwell or have a disability would be comforted by the idea that a healthy child is what defines a good mother. It's not.
Motherhood is about more than "keeping the kids alive" or having a healthy child. Motherhood is about love. If you do the best for your child, with the knowledge you have, and you do it out of love, THAT'S what matters. That's a mother doing her job.