Week fifteen: a letter to motherhood ‘Mo’ - Elizabeth Broadhurst

I wrote this 15 weeks after my hysterectomy


Dear Motherhood

As I write to you today, I can hear in my head the children’s nursery rhyme ‘ring o ring of roses’ , not sure if this has symbolic meaning as it has links with the plague or if it’s simply a childhood song.

It is taking me some time to understand where I am at, I don’t believe I truly understand, I can only believe I am part of the way there.  It has taken me several attempts to write to you today. I have decided to give you a name – that way you are more real than just fictional. So motherhood or ‘Mo’ for short. Not having you in my life hurts more than I could ever imagine possible.  How can I miss something that I have never really had?

There are so many questions that I have unanswered – if I had met you then they would never have been asked.

What would you have looked like, would you be kind hearted or a dictator? Would you have had more than one or would one have been enough? Would you make me feel fulfilled and the woman that I so desperately crave to be? Would you have given me that purpose that I miss?

‘…… a pocket full of posies’

Do you remember how as a child I would play with my tiny tears, singing nursery rhymes, cuddling my toys as if they were babies. Playing innocently, enacting what I took as a given to be my future, my destiny. The nursery rhyme “then comes love and then comes marriage, then comes Susie with a baby carriage” I never for one moment thought that my baby carriage would be empty. To me ‘Mo’ you are like a best friend who has always been there, and who would always be there no matter what pathway my life took, relationships may come and go but Motherhood is a given. You and I would go hand in hand.

My dream of meeting you is like the nursery rhymes; just fairy tales. My belly would never swell due to pregnancy, Duncan would never stroke and talk to the ‘bump’ or hold us like his life depended on it. I never questioned that one day I would be a Mum I always believed I would make a fab Mum and Duncan would be an awesome Dad.

Yet as I write to you today, I know that this dream is over, I am infertile. Strangely it feels good to tell you this.

After years of wanting to meet you I need to accept that this is not going to happen. We need to let our friendship move to a different stage, I need to stop being defined by what I thought we had and begin a new relationship with myself. I don’t say this easily, you and I have so much history.  You have been my past, my present and my future.

A new future, a different future now lays before me.

Losing our relationship had been a silent death, bit by bit it has fallen away, following years of miscarriages, treatment, operations and turmoil. Friends and family around us know some, but not all of what you have meant to me and to us. It’s only recently that I have been able to be more vocal about how I feel about you and how I feel about losing you.

There are no words that can articulate how I feel about the loss of our friendship, of the mixture I feel emotionally done in, raw, empty, tired and scared. Scared because I don’t know what is next for me, what is my purpose? I don’t wish to be defined as the person who is infertile, it seems such a cruel word.

Duncan and I spoke of our friendship with you yesterday, he said that he no longer wants us to be thought of as the couple who can’t have children.

I was frightened by this statement because ‘Mo’; if I am not the woman who is infertile then who am I?

I know that whilst I continue to think about you I cannot begin to discover what lays ahead for me in my new life. I don’t know who I am, but I know that I have to begin to find out.

There is a huge part of me that is ashamed for my inability to carry a child, I feel I have let our friendship down by not keeping my part of the deal.  Guilt lays heavily on me. When I think of the babies that we have lost I am consumed with love for them, much more so than ever before – it is like now I am talking to you about my next stage I am passing them to you ‘Mo’ for safe keeping, I know you will care for them and love them in the way that I do. I feel privileged  that I can ask this of you.

No one said it would be easy,  it’s the hardest thing I have ever been through, it’s the toughest thing my relationship has faced, if I allow myself to think about it I wonder how I can put one foot in front of the other. Thinking of you and our friendship makes me feel stronger, it feels safe and where I want to be. Thinking of what is next for me makes me want to shut the door and hide,  yet I know I have the strength within me to re define my life, I owe it to myself, my husband and my friends & family to move on from this.

………… ‘atishoo, atishoo, all fall down’

I am not going to fall down, it may take me sometime, but even by writing to you today ‘Mo’ I can feel the strength it is giving me. There has to be life after infertility, albeit not what I dreamed of when I was playing in my wendy house with my tiny tears but there is a life. There are many iconic women out there who are not defined by motherhood, somehow I need to begin connecting with the idea that I am a woman, this will take small steps and courage.

Thank you for being part of my life, thank you for showing me what love is and what true hurt feels like. Thank you for helping me to understand what has defined me for all these years. I cannot imagine a moment, hour or day when I won’t think about you and our friendship, I am and always have been accepting of what we have had.

Dreams are as precious as life, my life has been full of our dreams, just because we are at the end doesn’t mean the dream will stop it will just evolve.

I miss you

Love always and forever



Elizabeth Broadhurst