Book Talk: Motherless Mothers

“There is an emptiness inside of me — a void that will never be filled. No one in your life will ever love you as your mother does. There is no love as pure, unconditional and strong as a mother’s love. And I will never be loved that way again.” 
― Hope EdelmanMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

It took me years to complete Motherless Daughters. Years.  It was a tough read and I jumped around and read what I needed. 

 Recently on vacation I finished the book Motherless Mothers which I had started as soon as I found out I was pregnant. At first it was way too tough to read but gradually it got easier. 

The fact is….I’m about to be a motherless mother. Whether I want it to happen or not, it’s happening.  It’s tragic and it majorly sucks but I’m the type who likes to read books to deal with things or learn about things and this book did exactly that.  I’m dealing with this situation better than I was before because I read Hope Edelman’s book. 
i learned that becoming a mother meant mourning all over again.  When I was 17 and lost my mom the furthest thing from my mind was getting married and having children.  The thought hadn’t crossed my mind that I would someday be a motherless mother. I couldn’t mourn that loss because it was too far away.  Now it’s happening. I’m more scared for the time following his birth than now. Now I can maintain my emotions and I’m only taking care of myself. When I have a meltdown or bawl like a baby and want to curl up and die….I can (minus the dying part). After he arrives I can’t just break down I have to take care of him and I’m not just going to be taking care of myself anymore. 
The first person I wanted to share my news with after I told my husband was my mom.  After all this time she is still the one I want to share my news with. Seems crazy. I mean, my goodness, this December it will be 14 years since she has been gone. Yet she’s still the one I want to run and tell everything to. 
I’ve learned that having my first child is, in general, a time of immense uncertainty.  I feel most days like I’m acting more like a child than an adult and regressing just a bit.  Just before our vacation I had an entire day of meltdowns to the point where I curled up and didn’t want to leave the bed. I really didn’t want to go on the vacation or leave town. I’m very glad that I did…but at that point in time I didn’t want to leave my room or my bed. 
Probably one of the hardest things (and always has been) is seeing other women with their mothers.  It’s just a painful reminder. I have an amazing group of women who have been there for me since I lost my own mom.  Unfortunately, it’s just not the same. I don’t want anyone to try and replace her. It’s just not even possible.  I tend to get very angry seeing mothers help friends become mothers. Or hearing about mothers getting ready for their own grandchildren.  I get angry because that will never be a possibility for me. And it sucks. This pregnancy has just magnified an already existing problem of me seeing women with their mothers. I will probably forever be a “wishful thinker” missing her emotional support and even her practical help like babysitting, information, and sharing her own personal pregnancy stories. 
I never got the chance to talk to my mom about her own pregnancy with me. I can’t believe I didn’t ask those questions when she was around. It just never crossed my mind. I hate that. I wish I knew how long she was in labor for with me.  I wish I knew if the birth was fast and easy or painful and slow. There’s just so much I wish I knew. As Edelman puts it, “it’s helpful to have a blueprint for comparison as the trimesters progress.”  I have no blueprint from my own mother. Yup, that sucks too. 
I imagine that my mom would have eagerly anticipated another grand baby and been waiting after each prenatal visit for a text or phone call for me to report an update. Right now my husband is amazing and attends every visit with me and occasionally I send my sister or best friend an update but she isn’t there waiting for an update. It’s rough each time I leave because besides my best friend and sister there’s still something missing. I want to call her. No one can replace that. 
According to the novel, “79% of women admitted to having a gender preference during their pregnancies.” I’m one of those. I will fully admit that although a healthy baby was exactly what I wanted I also wanted pink balloons to fly out of that box. In fact I had convinced myself that it would be a girl simply because I wanted him to be. This book helped explain to me why I wanted it to be a girl so badly. I was longing to replace or relive that mother daughter bond in my life by having my own little girl. This was a major lightbulb moment for me.  It actually made me feel better about wanting a girl so bad and being just a little bit bummed when we found out.  I hope that someday I will get the chance to have my little girl and have that mother daughter bond…there’s really no telling.  I certainly don’t want to be greedy, I just miss that bond and having a relationship where my mom was my best friend is something I truly wish to share with my own daughter some day. 
In just a few months (I can hardly believe it) I’ll be in the labor and delivery room.   I’m scared of this part.  I want to have my husband and my sister there as my support team to ease my fears. I wish my mom could be there, of course, but I know that my husband and sister will tag team and keep me calm and comfortable the best they can. I’m fearful of all sorts of things. Things you probably can’t even imagine or wonder why in the heck I would worry about that. It’s just what I do. Sudden loss does that to people. I know I’ll be sad. I hope it doesn’t consume the day that’s suppose to be so wonderful as our first child enters the world but I’m sure at some point….I will be sad. 
Poetpartum? Yes, I’m worried about that too. I think our timing is great because I will be soaring through the holidays with the new bambino and what is not to love about a new baby and Christmas? But after Christmas I always get the winter blues when the excitement is over and the overload of family time fades. 
I’m worried about colic. I’m worried that breastfeeding won’t be successful. I’m just worried it won’t be picture perfect in our house once we bring him home. I know, deep down, that it won’t be. I also know, deep down, that it’s going to be totally okay if it isn’t. No one is perfect and probably more so than that….no first time parents are perfect either. 
Probably the hardest part to read was about the absent grandmother. This little guy will have a ton of loving and caring women in his life that will treat him so special but that doesn’t replace her.  I plan to talk about Mamaw Debbie and let him know all about her. I want him to know what she looks like and talk to her just like his momma does. I want him to ask all the questions in the world to find out more about her. I don’t want her to absent in any way but her physical presence. I want him to feel her around him all the time and know he has his very own guardian angel. He has a grandmother in heaven and not everyone is “lucky” enough to have their own guardian angel.  
This book was like a knight in shining armor that saved me from my worries. They are all still there but I have coping mechanisms to deal with them and someone (Hope Edelman) who gets it. Someone who gets it and has shared stories from other motherless mothers as well. She wrote several other chapters I read that I haven’t discussed her……. about all the years of being a parent up until sending him off to college and I plan to look back quite often for help and guidance. I’m also super fortunate to have an amazing big sister with advice to get me through. 
Through all this I want to thank YOU, the reader, for just listening to me.  I’m not asking for your sympathy or advice but just thank you for being an “ear” to “listen” as I travel on this path to being a motherless mother. 

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