Becoming a mother without a mother

So today is my first ever mother’s day. I feel more emotional than I ever imagined I would be. Motherhood is turning out to be amazing. I feel so grateful and lucky that despite the horror stories, I survived pregnancy and birth. I managed to grow a healthy little girl who is incredible. I am lucky that I do not have to rush off to some job and get to choose if/when I go back to work.

But despite all this awesomeness, today has a tinge of sadness. My mother is not quite here.She has not passed away, thankfully. She is not ill but despite this she is still not here being my mother.

It’s complicated so I do not even know where to begin. She is not a one dimensional villain as she is caring in her way. She is intelligent. Her influence is the source of my fundamental fun- loving, book reading, forever- learning nature.

However, despite all of these niceties, she is markedly flawed. Although I am firmly an adult she is desperately controlling. She is dishonest. She is competitive. She is abusive. I feel upset that as I was pregnant, I could not ring her for advice or to share my experiences as I journeyed to motherhood. Instead I had to set up boundaries and distance so that I did not start to believe that some of the issues that occurred in this pregnancy were due to some fundamental, disgusting manifestation of my essence, like she continuously told me.

I have made progress in my expectations and have learned that there is a stereotypical god-like, angelic, flawless idea of mothers which is grossly unachievable.

However, having A has made me even more angry about the way she treats me. When I look at my gorgeous girl I could not imagine going out of my way to harm her or abuse her or make her feel small. I love her so much that all I want to do is love her and nourish her and let her know just how special she is.

I am starting to accept that my mother is not who I want her to be.

I am starting to realise that as well as being my mother, she is also a person with her own issues, struggles and flaws.

It was and still is, difficult at times being a mother without a mother. However this adversity has highlighted my resilience, strength and built my determination to be a reflective, thinking mother who does not take my own issues out on my children.

I have found opportunities to learn about how to be a mother in surprising places. I have realised that lots of people in my life, some who aren’t even women, show me qualities that I would like to emulate. I would love my friend Emma’s enthusiasm and positivity as a mother. When I’m with my granddad I always get the sense that he savours the moments we spend together and I would like to conjure that with A.

I want to capture and pass on my grandma’s luminous pride in my mere existence.

Unfortunately I am becoming a mother without the guidance of my actual mother but this experience has helped me to realise that there are lots of people who show me qualities that I would like to radiate as a mother regardless.

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