“How many children do you have?”
This is an
easy question for a man to answer. He tells you the number he
deducts on his tax return – “Two...” – plus a standard
half-jest – “...as far as I know.”
But for a
woman, this seemingly simple question is fraught with emotional
complexity. She may give you the obvious answer, just like a
man, but inside she’s thinking: “What are you really asking?
Do you count only the children who are healthy and whole?
...the children I wanted so badly who never came?
...my children I gave
birth to but didn't raise?
...my children with such severe disabilities I will never know
who they could have been?
...the children I loved and cared for who weren't biologically
...my babies who died in childhood?
...my grown children who died before me?
...the children I raised who are now estranged from me?
hidden truth: it’s the rare and lucky woman who doesn't have
secret children hidden deep in her heart. Most of us have
more than one answer to this question, depending on how we're
society, the relationship between a mother and her child is
primary, fundamental, complex, and deeply emotional. Each child
a woman loves changes her life profoundly. The ones she counts
out loud bring her life’s sweetest joys and heaviest sorrows.
And the ones she doesn’t mention, the babies she holds in her
heart but not her arms, are just as important to her as the ones
everyone else can see.
is my motherhood story. It begins with secrecy and
heartbreak, with overwhelming feelings buried deep underground,
with a wounded psyche struggling to recover. Through a happy
marriage, a growing career, and the raising of two beautiful
children, I had a hole in my heart that never healed.
Then, on a
random weekday afternoon, something
unexpected shattered the fragile crust I had painstakingly
built over my long-suppressed feelings. In an instant, I fell
straight through into a river of overwhelming emotion.
Falling Through describes my
journey down that river. I had to explore my past, comes
to terms with my long-ago choices, embrace the girl I was and
the woman I've become, and forgive myself.
Along the way, I became a much
better mother, began to share my story with others, and was
privileged to have many other women grace me with their own secret
stories. This book is the chronicle of my journey to
If you're interested in the ideas
underpinning this book, I would love to hear your answers to two
important questions, in strictest confidence:
There are no wrong answers to these
questions. And sometimes there are multiple answers.
We each have our own unique story. It is only through sharing
our stories that we find out how many of our sisters know
exactly what we're feeling. That, to me, paves the path