For The Mammies


Mother ~ They walk among us daily.

These women are somebody’s ‘Mother’.

Sometimes they may not have birthed the one that calls them ‘Mother’ , but they are still very much ‘Mother’.

Sometimes they are the ones who have no children , for whatever reason but they are a ‘Mother’.

I think of her often.

It was the 2nd January 2005 , when I met her .

I didn’t want to be there , I was scared and confused .

They talked of my water breaking and the dangerous situation I was now in.
I felt it was my fault. I was under huge stress and had already lost one of the two that were growing inside me.

“We will have to keep you here , at least until it’s safe to deliver the baby ” the doctor firmly told us as she looked at my scan.

The baby was due March the 15th.

I had a toddler by the name of Ethan at home to care for too.

I didn’t want to stay but a choice was not given .

Bed rest they had called it , for me it felt like anything but rest.

I was brought to a room which consisted of two beds ,one TV and a flimsy curtain which separated the two beds .

This was to be my home for the next four and a half weeks or more.

I was heartbroken .

I was wallowing in self pity when the voice from the other bed, softly introduced herself.

“Hey I’m Deb ”

Her belly was much bigger than mine .
Her dreadlocks were a beautiful mixture of browns and burgundy , when the light shone on her hair ,it reminded me of Autumn.

She smiled as she rubbed her belly.

We had a long chat about everything from the unfolding tsunami how her friend had rang her partner to say that they were safe , we spoke of the programmes we both could enjoy and of course about the hospital food we both tried to eat.

My first day there wasn’t so bad with Deb regaling me of tales about her fascinating life .

She was lovely and by the time night fell, I was feeling much better about my new surroundings mainly because my roommate was a friendly happy mammy to be .

A week had passed , Deb wasn’t as into Desperate Housewives as I was but she didn’t mind it being played on the TV and often was asleep by the end of the show.

We became buddies and spent a lot of time talking about being trapped in the hospital.

Deb wasn’t new to this maternity side of the hospital, one you only see if there’s a complication like mine or Deb’s .

I finally asked why she was here after we discussed my reasons for being here.

“This is my eight pregnancy” she rubbed her belly and smiled.

“Wow” I was amazed. Eight babies my mind jumped but yet I had not seen one of her kddies when her partner called by.

My heart sunk as it dawned on me why her husband never bought any kids with him.

“This is the furthest we have gotten. So it’s looking like Junior here will meet us ”

Silence fell over me as I tried to figure out what she meant .

“Oh Ger ,it’s ok ” my face clearly betrayed me .

“Honestly , they have had me here since I got over the three months , we’ve literally weeks to go” she was excited .

I felt like a fool, complaining the whole time I was in here with her .

“I’m sorry” my lip wobbled.

“Don’t be . It’s worth it ”

She was glowing .

She was beautiful .

And she was definitely a mother .

On my ninth night with Deb it happened.

The flickering of the lights and the hushed whispers woke me up.

I rolled onto my back and slowly pulled myself up. A nurse stuck her head around my curtain and told me to ‘go back to sleep’.

I couldn’t .

I could hear her. She whispered at first, then as the orderly came in , to wheel her bed , I heard her cry out , “No, please no”

Her voice was that of a grieving mother; I could hear her pain.

I closed my eyes and said a little prayer to whoever or whatever was there, and asked that Deb be given her child.

I didn’t sleep that night.

It was 6am when the bed was brought back in, empty.

“What happened ?” I asked the orderly who shrugged his shoulders and told me he was asked to bring in a fresh bed , that’s all he knew.

I was permitted to take short walks up and down the corridor a few times a day , slowly I got out of the bed.

By now, I knew a few of the nurses , “Ladies what’s happened with Deb?” I asked, almost afraid of the answer.

They titled their heads and told me that they didn’t know.

I never saw Deb again.

It was lunch time by the time my now husband D and Ethan came to visit me.

I had told D the story of Deb from the night before . I needed to know where she was and what had happened . I could feel my anxiety growing and my imagination running wild.

“I will go and see what I can find out. For all you know it was an emergency section and the baby is fine. Think positively, please honey, it’s not good for you to be so worked up” he rubbed my leg as he took Ethans hand and went to investigate.

He stood in the doorway watching as Ethan ran to me with some chocolate and a magazine .

I kissed Ethan and gave him the chocolate as his big blue eyes smiled at me “Oh good mammy, we share?” I nodded.

“Ger, I met Debs partner. I am sorry honey” he slowly walked towards my bed and sat.

“ She lost the baby”

I cried.

“Eight. That’s eight times they have gone through this” I rubbed my eyes trying to make sense of something so senseless.

D nodded.

We sat in silence as Ethan climbed the empty bed and demand TV be put on.

I stayed in that room for another three weeks with different women coming and going , but none were as friendly or as wonderful as Deb .

Deb taught me that a ‘Mother’ isn’t always the one who birthed you, or even adopted you , or even married your father …being a mother is within you…it’s that kindness, understanding , patience and so much more which I saw in Deb that made her a mammy.

There are a lot of mothers walking amongst us who have yet to meet their children.

Deb also taught me that carrying a baby of my own was something to be treasured , something to be treated as a miracle.

Thank you Deb.

For all the ladies out there just like Deb, I think of you often .

Deb, wherever you are , I hope you are happy and are having a special meal on this Mother’s Day .

Happy Mother’s Day to you all x

This was originally published on Firefly


  1. Oh that’s so sad for Deb – to go through that so many times – I can’t imagine. I hope she has found a way to be the Mother she dreamt of being. Happy Mother’s Day xx

  2. Oh my goodness, this has me in tears. I’ve neber lost a baby so far into a pregnancy, but I’ve had miscarriages. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and heartbreak of carrying 8 babies for so long and losing of all them. She is a truly strong woman and I hope she’s doing okay.

  3. Oh my god. This is heartbreaking. For someone to go through that so many times. That’s so horrific. I really hope she finally has a little one to cuddle now. Life is so cruel. This has reminded me to hold my own daughter that little bit closer. x

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