Tonight I offer a re-post of an article that I came across today. As I continue to mourn and work through what losing a child means, this post has just blown my mind.
Laura Grace Weldon writes about how fetal stem cells from children carried by a mother, born or unborn, stay with the mother throughout her life. I think I can attest to the feeling of this. This article communicates the science of it.
And though the science is unclear, what she describes is the fetal cells acting on the mother's behalf throughout life, to aid in healing and fighting disease. Wow.
The level of interdependence I have felt as a mother, particularly in early pregnancy, and with nursing in the first years, is something that has taught me so much by way of humility and awe. Newly pregnant, the feelings and sensations of the body being pulled through a hormonal roller coaster are palpable, at least for me. And the hormonal feedback of oxytocin in nursing was a powerful bonding agent for me, and became a primary source of energy to keep me going through those tough indeed first months and years.
As my son grows, we enter into a dance of distance and closeness that at times feels artificial, and is of course incredibly necessary for his sense of self, as it unfolds. And as I miss my child who did not make it, I sense the closeness of this loss, and the beginning of a sense that the time to try again is coming. Does this mean I forget my lost child, my alive child? No, of course not. They are in me, and I am in them.
Weldon mentions that this truth confirms the fact of a holographic universe. Though she does not source it here, I recognize this concept from my work with Joanna Macy's Work that Reconnects. In this work, we are asked to see with new eyes through the lens of our sense of concern and pain for the world-- to re-vision our planetary crisis as a moment of transformation. This lens shifting needs to happen at all levels, and is refracted out through personal transformation, community transformation, and system change in multiple ways.
So can I see myself and my healing in this holographic light? Can I believe that in my very cells I am holding my children, just as I let them go? Perhaps it's that loss is real, and incomplete as a truth. And perhaps it's that having and connection is real, and incomplete as a truth. I know I will hold my children in my cells, in my heart for the duration. And I know the distance of time and experience will change that closeness, will open it up, and will one day, with my death, be dispersed.
This journey has no fixed point. This cellular knowing confirms the smallness of our connections and the necessary truth of our complex interdependence. I am grateful for the chance I've had to experience this through being a parent, and the many ways I have seen and experienced this in our relationships, movements, and ecological systems.
And until I feel clearer, I will be comforted by the knowledge that somewhere in me, my child still lives.