Becoming a Mom without a Mom

Life without my Mom has never been as hard as it has been since I found out I was pregnant.

In case you were not aware, my mother passed away from cancer in 2011. You can read more about her here.

Her passing hasn’t been what weighs me down, it’s that I’m now left to navigate these pregnancy hormones without her. Who can I call and talk about this pain or that? Who is going to calm me down when I’m going through a crying spell or a raging mad moment for very little reason? Who is going to remind me that everything is going to be okay and that the gift at the end is worth the journey?

The truth is, I have a lot of family and friends that care about me. But like me, they have their own lives and families to deal with. They have their own worries and their own challenges. And let’s face it, even if they are there to support me, they are not my mom.

It’s lonely without my mom.

My husband has been wonderful (most of the time) and has completely spoiled me. He puts his hands on my stomach and talks to the fetus growing inside and then kicks me when she’s kicking me just so that I know it’s them against me. He’s made me laugh and has held my hand and has completely picked up the slack when I have no energy to help with chores or meal preparation. But even he, is not my mom.

My Dad has been there for my late night texts and has been supportive but he won’t know all those little details a mother knows. He won’t remember when I started walking or what my favourite foods are. My mom was the one that was always there for all those life moments.

I’m the youngest of 4 kids – and therefore there weren’t any baby books for me. My mom was my baby book. She remembered things and was able to talk about them – even if she sometimes got the stories mixed up, I still believed her.

Who can I talk about those things now?

Mourning Dove, Dove, spirit, ancestor, mother
Mourning doves always remind me of beloved relatives who have passed

When my mom got sick, the first and only question she asked was “any news on the baby front?” I couldn’t produce her dying wish. It aches inside me. Even though I know if I had gotten pregnant even the second she was diagnosed, she would’ve never been there for the birth of my child. She would’ve never held her and counted her little fingers and her toes. The loss of my mother then would’ve been even harder to bear as I know she would’ve loved to have been there.

I talked to my mother about my sadness involving not giving her her dying wish. I was taking my mother to chemo on a bright and sunny July day, having no idea that there wouldn’t be too many more days like that. I felt awful but I knew it was my only chance to talk about it as every time I was with her otherwise we were surrounded by people. I needed my mom then and I needed her to know the pain I was feeling at being inadequate for the task of a grandchild.

“It’ll happen, or it won’t happen,” she said to me. “If it doesn’t happen, you live your life and if it does, it’ll happen when it’s right. There’s no sense in worrying about it now.”

It was exactly what I needed to hear, even if the pain still stuck around.

Over 5 years.

That’s how long it took for the time to be right. My husband and I went through tests and saw several different doctors who all said the same thing “There are some minor things but nothing that is preventing you from getting pregnant.”

My mother, as usual, was right. It had to happen when it was going to happen.

I’m a firm believer that she’s with me throughout this process. She wanted me to be able to have a baby when I was ready to have a baby. She wanted me to be able to have the joy of motherhood, and I know she’d be excited that I’m having a little girl.

I wonder if my daughter is going to look like her. Will she have my mothers blue eyes? Her chin? Will she have my mother’s zest for life and unwavering need to look good?

Someone suggested we name our daughter after her. In a way, she will be. her middle name will be my mother and her mother’s name – Elizabeth. But my daughter could never be another Marlene. My mother was so special to me and everyone in our family that I can’t imagine taking that from her.

I’ve had some love in unexptected places – well beyond what I ever expected. I have an aunt who wants to buy me something big because she feels bad that my mom isn’t here. When I found out, it immediately brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe someone loves me that much and yet it hurts at the same time as no one can replace my mom.

I want to be able to lean on other people. To talk about all these conflicted feelings I have inside. I want to be able to fully open up to someone, but there is no one who can understand me at my base core and know with just one glance what I’m feeling or thinking.

Yes I have siblings, but as I mentioned above, they have their own issues, their own challenges and triumphs to celebrate. I have my in-laws who are wonderful and supportive but have the same things. I have my husband who loves me and is there for me when needed. I have my best friends who have had to listen to me rant and rave over stupid things and cheer on the good things.

But it’s still there.

I don’t have my mom. I miss her so much it aches inside and there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t bring her back.

But what I can do is talk to her and talk about her. She may not be physically here to listen but I can tell she got the message every time I see a dove on the rooftop or in the trees. I know she knows I am pregnant as there was a dove sitting on my front walk way the morning I got my first positive test. And I’m pretty sure I can thank her as she made sure I never got morning sickness – not even once, much to the dismay of many of my pregnant friends and coworkers.

I write this, not for sympathy, but because my heart needed to get this out. I write this because I miss her and sometimes it’s easier to put it down on paper or into a keyboard than to whine about it on the phone. I write this because I love my mom and I know she would want me to keep writing.

One thought on “Becoming a Mom without a Mom

  1. There’s nothing I can really say here, I am very, very lucky in this way, but I wanted to say that I read this beautiful post and I know you’re right about her. My grandmother comes in butterflies.

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