Being a motherless mother has its own set of rules, fears and thought patterns. I cannot speak for all motherless mothers, yet, what I’m about to say will make perfect sense to them.
I used to have an idealistic vision of myself as a parent. I was not prepared for this overwhelming feeling that I wanted my mother. For me, because my mother died when I was so young, I did not have a mature enough mindset to even begin to grieve her, until I became a mother.
As strange as it may seem, I felt blindsided with emotions and grief because all of a sudden I was stepping into ‘her’ realm, motherhood. Which also meant, that something bad might happen. It could happen to me and it could happen to my children.
I had an overshadowing feeling of fear. I was afraid I was doing “it” all wrong, after all, I never even remembered being mothered, how could I know what to do? I read Dr. Spock’s book, watched and asked my friends and constantly second guessed my ability to mother. While this was happening, I was simultaneously severely over protective and fearful about everything. Neurotic? For sure.
These feelings would seem to settle down until a new phase of development would begin. How do I know the right thing to do? I couldn’t ask my mother and I needed her reassurance so much. I kept telling my children that I loved them. I wanted them to know, really know. But, then the questions would start…what if they forgot? Or what if I died, would they be able to remember my words? My voice?
Every since becoming a mother, I have had the stark realization that I could die at any time. The year I turned 33 was the longest and most dreaded year of my life. My mother died when she was 33. While I knew intellectually it (probably) would not happen, emotionally I waited for those 365 days to pass, so I would know for sure.
I have made it well past the age of 33 and now even both of my girls are past that age. I’ve learned a lot about living from this fear of dying and I know in my heart, that my mother was giving me her love and assurance all along. I see it now and I can look back without staring, without blame. I can forgive myself for some of those crazies and breathe a little more deeply.
3 thoughts on “Mothering Motherless”
You are so brave and so generous to share your doubts and worries as a motherless mother. As a mother who had a supporting, loving mother, I still often feel anxious and unsure of my mothering skills. Thanks for your wise words (and I love the precious photo).
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Thank you Ginger. Thank you for your kind words and your strong support!