Six years ago my life changed dramatically, more than I could have ever imagined, and the change did not come gradually nor was it predictable in any way.
Six years ago my heart shattered into a million pieces and I am still working to put the pieces together.
Six years ago my family found themselves walking around blindly in life, unsure of what to do next.
That’s because on February 26, 2010 my mother passed away more suddenly and heartbreaking than I ever thought possible. She had a short but hard-fought run with Ovarian Cancer and before we even had time to process her diagnosis, she was gone.
But, God has our life mapped out long before we even have time to make a life plan ourselves and so even though all of this happened I knew I had to keep trucking and find a way to go on, even when I felt like I just couldn’t.
My mother and I had a typical mother-daughter relationship growing up, but I had always, and still am, a Daddy’s Girl. But, the older I was the closer my mother and I became. By the time I was in college I would call home daily to update both Mom and Dad on what was going on in my life at my small Lutheran school.
Both of my parents were my very best friends.
So much so that they became the first people I would tell everything to, whether it be school updates, my latest crush on a boy in a class, or fights with my roommates. I remember thinking during my college years how lucky I was and how this is just how it would be forever.
I was wrong, though…
Fast forward six years later and here I am graduated from college, working as a journalist, married with a sweet sonny boy.
I have hit most of my life’s biggest milestones now and have accomplished my proudest moments. I am not afraid to say, I am proud of myself.
But, there is one thing missing. My mommy.
Mothering without Mother
I know I am not alone in the world, there are a lot of people out there who have lost loved ones – even their mothers. But, sometimes it feels like I am going through something no one talks about. That’s why I want to talk about it. When I was pregnant and waiting for Harrison to be born I would scour the Internet for articles to prepare myself for bringing my newborn home.
I would come across the usual tips; stock up on diapers, take time off work, don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t worry about keeping your house clean, stock up on freezer meals…etc.
But, there was one tip that would continue to pop up in many of these articles….have your mother come and stay with you for the first few days to help out with the new baby….have my mother come stay to help….I would give anything to make that happen.
People who didn’t know me would ask, do you have family who will come and help out? Will your mother come and stay?
Now I’m sure many of you are thinking well if you are married, couldn’t your mother-in-law help out?
My situation is a bit unique in that I don’t have one of those either. My mother-in-law passed away three years ago, before I even got the chance to get to know her. So, now what?
The fact is, we made do. It’s what you have to do and my mother would have done the same.
You’re not alone
If you are like me and are mothering without your mother for whatever reason it may be; whether you have lost your mom like I did, you never grew up with a mother, or you just don’t have a positive relationship with your mom. We can do this whole mothering thing and here’s how I did it.
- My Mom’s voice is always with me….I keep it with me wherever I go, just as we do with our cell phones, keys or ID. I carry my mother’s voice with me 100% of the time. My mom was a strong, smart, funny woman and always led us toward our dreams. If there is one thing I want to do as a mother is to lead my son (and any future children we may be blessed with) strongly and confidently toward his dreams, whatever they may be. If I ever start to question my ability as a mommy (I know I have only been at it a couple months, but it happens) I picture what my Mom probably did when she first became a mom. She made it and I know I can too.
- I sought support elsewhere….So our moms can’t come stay and help us in those first few weeks. So what? It sucks and I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is that way so we have to find another option. I am lucky to have an awesome husband who stepped up to the plate 100%. He heated up meals or ran to pick up food when we were hungry, he refilled my water bottle when I was busy breastfeeding, he changed dirty diapers so I could have a little break, and on the couple of occasions when we wondered ‘is that supposed to happen’ he called the clinic for help. If you don’t have that type of support with your husband, boyfriend, or just the babies father; than I pray you can find support in a close friend, another family member, a neighbor or someone from your church. Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for help either, there are more people out there willing to help than you might think.
- Take it one day at a time….I have a lot of days when I wish my mom or mother-in-law was there for advice and I feel sad. It’s okay to feel sad, even mad. Going through such a major life moment without your mom sucks! It’s unfair. But, you have those days and then you start the next day fresh. I am grateful my sadness doesn’t overtake the very special time I am sharing with my husband and son, but I do wish my son could have met both of his Grandmas.
- Use the internet as a guide…I know the Internet can be a scary, overwhelming place, but I have to say that when I do not have a mom to call every time I have a question, I do the next best thing. I Google it. If Harrison spits up more than usual one time, I Google it. Yup, that seems normal. The little guy seems more tired than usual. Google, check. Normal? Pretty much. You get the idea. If it’s not serious enough to call the doctor a quick Google search will probably ease your mind, just like your mom would if you could call her.
- Connect with other mommies….I now have a few friends who are also entering motherhood around the same time as I have and this is a great way to vent about typical motherhood frustrations or swap tips and tricks for parenting. My mom always seemed to know what to do in any situation so I found myself complaining to her a lot. Now I just complain to other people, haha.
- Remember you are not alone…Call a friend, talk to other family members but most of all remember you are not alone in your loss or in that vacant part of your life. We can mother without our mothers. You can be that mother you might not have had growing up. You can strive to be a better mother than you might have had. And I, I pray to be the mother that my mom was and share the joy and awesomeness my mother was to me with my kids.
Please share your thoughts:
Are you a mommy who has lost or does not have a mother there to help out or answer those questions you have had along the way? If so how did you deal? Or are you in a situation similar to mine and wonder how to cope? Let’s talk and connect!