A mother’s love


    By Teah Mogae

    The silence in the room was deafening. It was occasionally interrupted by the sniffles and blowing of noses as the young couple and I tried to come to terms with the gravity of the bad news that had been outlined. Samantha sat slouched over, sobbing on Daniel’s shoulder trying to understand how their journey to parenting had so cruelly and abruptly ended with their seventh miscarriage in a row. She knew there were more options she could explore about how she and Daniel could become mum and dad but at that very moment, all she could do was wholeheartedly sob for all the unmet and unrealised dreams she had had for every one of her failed pregnancies. 

    Samantha and Daniel were both in their late 20s; young people in this life journey but they had already suffered immense loss. Diane, Samantha’s mother, had died 6 years prior from late-stage ovarian cancer diagnosed a mere 3 months prior to her death. “There is nothing more we can do,” were the words that replayed in her mind every time she tried to conjure up a memory of her mother. It had been a quick but quite painful death and when it finally came, everyone was glad Diane could find some peace at last. As the mourners’ lives resumed some normalcy, Samantha was informed the cancer that had taken her mother’s life was not only genetic, but that she carried the abnormality making her more than 40% at risk of developing ovarian cancer herself. Determined to beat all the odds, she signed up to harvest some eggs to facilitate future IVF babies which was soon followed by surgery to remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and both breasts as a way of reducing her overall cancer risk. With time and healing, she and Daniel had thought they were ready to embark on the roller coaster ride that is IVF, never thinking we would be having this conversation after the failure of their last embryo. 

    With every flicker of the screen and galloping like sound of the foetal heartbeat on ultrasound in the early weeks of the pregnancy, dreams of a new person were set in motion only to be dashed by the eventual bleeding, cramping and loss a few weeks later. “I have lost my own mother, now the universe is saying I shouldn’t even be a mother,” she wailed, the wounds still too raw to bear. 

    As I sat there with them, wet tissue in hand, supporting them through yet another miscarriage, another loss, another setback, I acknowledged that my words were inadequate to console the depths of their sorry. Their journey thus far, especially Samantha’s, had been one marked by courage, resilience, profound heartache and the anguish of shattered dreams. In their grief, Samantha and Daniel found solace in each other, drawing strength from their shared love and unwavering commitment to one another. I sat in silence, acknowledging the profound privilege and responsibility of bearing witness to what constituted a mother’s love. Despite Samantha having lost all her pregnancies, each had been loved deeply and wholeheartedly. 

    Dr Teah Mogae is a General Practitioner living in Hoppers Crossing. In the interest of protecting patient confidentiality, patient stories are often composites and used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons is entirely coincidental.

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