Being a Mother Without a Mother
Here I was, pregnant for the first time. What a glorious time it was! I was so happy. So proud. I wanted the whole world to know that I am carrying a baby. Month after month I was joyfully observing my growing belly. Merry and thrilled.
I won't describe my first delivery, let's just say that it wasn't really what I was planning and hoping for. I didn't want to give birth in a hospital, but events took their own turn. Like any other woman after labor, I was vulnerable. And the staff was rude and cold. I was expecting compassion and needed warmth, understanding and human support but there weren't any. I could not wait to get home, a hospital was like a prison for me at that time. Already in the hospital, I felt like something was missing but I was preoccupied with other things. I really wanted that genuine closeness, that special something that I couldn't describe.
When we came home with a baby it all started. I needed my mom. I really really needed her. For the first time in my life, I realized that I also had a mother. Awareness so hard and strange. I had a mother. Tears went down. I wanted her. I wanted to be her baby, I wanted her to embrace me, I wanted her to carry me around. But she wasn't there. She wasn't there for 29 years. It may seem strange to many that I became fully aware of my mother so late in my life. The fact is I was obviously living in a strong denial. Denial for survival. I knew that at one point in my life I had a mother and lost it, but that was all. I only knew that. Intellectually. But I have shut down all the feelings, all the subtle sensations, all my inner voices. Because in that way I was able to survive, to move on. I was always brave, not letting anyone disturb me with some emotional memories. I was acting brave, showing as I don't care. As she was never a part of me, or I a part of her. Like life happens, sorrow happens. Until my child came into this world, I was living a lie.
I was approaching my third birthday when my mom died. Just like that. In a sleep. Over the night. And I have no memory of her. Non at all. I don't remember her. I don't remember her face. I don't remember her laugh or walk. I don't remember her smell or her touch. I don't know how her skin felt. I don't know the sound of her voice. Don't know her gentleness and friendliness.
I don't know how it was when I was a child, but as a teenager and adult, I have never missed her. Never. Never even realized that I had one. Lived my life as she was never alive. And besides not having any memory of my own of her, I don't even have many information about her from others, father or relatives. Everybody just shut down. I guess it was too hard. But still. And I guess I was too ashamed to ask questions, I never had the feeling she was mine, so I was not supposed to investigate. A strange life it was.
But then, then I became a mother. Interesting, during all my pregnancy, I did not have the feeling that I need some woman beside me, that I need to ask anybody any questions. I was just happy. But when I was holding my tiny baby it all came out. All. Everything.
It was as if someone had hit me with a hammer on the head. As if I woke up from a centuries-old sleep. I felt her all over my body. I felt her in my mind, in my soul. I realized that I came out of her. I was part of someone, part of her. I wanted her. I wanted to meet her, to know her. To hug her, hold her, squeeze her. Never let her go. I wanted to surrender to her, completely. I wanted her to be my safe harbor. I wanted her to see my baby. To know that we are alright, that everything is alright. But it wasn't. She wasn't there.
It was hard for me to face all this feelings, emotions. On the one hand, there it was, my fresh little baby girl and on the other, I felt like one. As if I was born again. All new, vulnerable, fresh. Really, like the whole world became new to me. I needed her or just I needed woman presence, family woman presence. But I was too ashamed to speak it loud. I remembered my grandmother and wanted to be near her because she was like a mother to me, but I didn't want to disturb anybody. So I have decided that I must do all this inner fight alone. That wasn't really a great idea, but it is the way I am. I mostly feel that I must do as much as I can by myself. That was really a difficult time, but somehow I got through it. We, as a new family, went through some typical and not so typical problems as a new family. So slowly slowly I forgot about myself and my mother issue and become more and more involved with my baby.
Our days were nicer, happier and more relaxed from day after day. The routine was established and life went smoothly. And I somehow put aside my feelings and questions about my mom, I didn't clear them out.
So day after day I again lost the touch with my mother. I was busy with my baby and I put my impressions besides. The year passed, and another one. And I was pregnant again. Second pregnancy was nothing like the first one. At the end, it was full of fear and problems. But then I somehow managed to put fears behind and completely trusted myself and a baby that everything is going to be ok. And it was. The delivery was divine. This birth completed me as a woman. It was so perfect, so smooth, with such a trust in my body that I can do it. It was really an orgasmic birth.
But as I haven't cleared my mother issues, it all came back to me. It came back hard. But this time I was stronger, I was ready. And luckily midwife in whose house I gave birth had a lot of interesting books. I just took one (I don't remember the title) and it was just the right one for me. It led me through my own birth. There were instructions on how to imagine you being born. And I went step by step. And I have cried myself out. It was liberating. It was really like a new birth for me. And again this time I have a need to be with my grandmother. So this time I have called her and just told her that I will come to be with her for a couple of days. She was infinitely happy and so was I. So after a week, we went to her place for two weeks. Two weeks of a mother love for me, a mother care for me. It was really healing.
After being home again for a couple of months, things started to complicate between me and my older daughter. She was really unhappy and sad and angry. I knew it was partly because of her baby sister, but there was something more. It was me. I was having all sorts of feelings again and she was reflecting them to me. She turned 3. And 3 was THE age for me. The age that my mother left. I unconsciously started to push my older daughter away from me. And she felt that. She felt that strongly. And she didn't want that, she didn't want her mom to just withdraw, she was all for the attention. She wanted the connection and I couldn't give her the complete one. We had fights, we had cry, tears, hugs, and laughs. But there was a little part of myself in which I didn't let her go. And she felt that. And she was sad and angry. She was screaming, crying. And I was sad and angry. All our family was in chaos, I didn't know what to do. Sometimes I just wanted to run away and leave everything behind. Yes, I wanted to leave, I wanted to go, just go. It was too much for me. And this thought was scary, the thought I want to leave my family was really scary. I knew I won't do that because I love them all too much, but still, the thought of me thinking about that was terrifying. It was frustrating for me because I didn't really know what was going on. Why all that mess. I wanted to find some help for her. I was already dialing one number when it hit me that this is all my fault, this is all inside of me. It is I who needs help. I put the phone down. Then I have called some friends and one of them gave me a number of one woman who helped her and some other friends as well. I said I will give it a try. I didn't really know what kind of therapy she does or what kind of expert she is.
I didn't know what to expect, but certainly not what I experienced there. I don't know exactly what she was doing, I was lying, it was like reflexotherapy. All of a sudden I saw my mother on one side and my husband and my two girls on the other side. And I was dragged to my mother, not to my new family. That realization was painful for me. I have realized that I want to be with her, not with my children. I was still so wounded from my childhood that all I wanted was her. I didn't want to live, I wanted to be with her. That's why my whole life seemed so hard. I never really wanted to live, I always felt as I don't belong in this world. And with two children it all became more complicated, harder, it all opened up. I saw them, I saw my husband and my two girls waiting for me. Just waiting. Waiting for me to be ready to live fully with them. And that was the moment, the moment I have realized that I have to let go. Even if I was unaware that I was holding to my mother, I had to let go. I had to face the truth. I had her, she is gone. And here there are my three beautiful people, just waiting for me to be complete. And to be entirely with them. And now I am.
Our life after that
After that experience, I became braver. I have realized that I had the mother, that she was mine and that it is not shameful to ask questions about her. I keep her photo and I am grateful to her for the life she has given me, for the opportunity to become a mom for myself. I am not angry anymore that she has left me. Because yes, most of my anger came from this pain. And I know she didn't leave me because she wanted to, she just needed to go.
I love you mom. Thank you for everything.
And my girls - I love you endlessly and I promise I will be complete for you, I am all here for you, the part is not missing anymore, it is filled with my mother's love.
© 2017 Ksenija