Guest Post: Becoming a Mother After Losing Your Mother
By Jess Par
Losing a mother can shape the mother you become. In fact, it shaped the mother I was to become before my daughter was even born. The death of my mother in 2015 is one of the reasons my daughter is here; I longed for her to be in this world as I needed somewhere for all of my love to go, for my baby to pull me out of the darkness of my mother’s death. It is the reason I named her Lux, meaning ‘light’.
Finding out I was pregnant my grief suddenly felt more intense than ever. 15 minutes after being so elated, I sobbed - the realisation that this was the beginning of a huge journey, a journey that my mum wasn’t a part of. Each scan and check up, I’d call the family and tell them the latest update, but there was always a nagging sense of loss in the back of my head. Similar to the feeling when you’ve forgotten something – uneasy and distracted.
The day Lux came into this world was the greatest day of my life. We were so high on love I didn’t feel sad my mum was absent. The grief wasn’t there. My attention, happiness and love was for my baby girl. I felt proud and honoured – there were lots of high fives and happy tears! She is and always will be my greatest achievement.
Grief is a lonely beast, and even more so when you’re on your own with a newborn. I’d often see mothers and daughters with new baby’s in cafes and would have to stop myself staring – is her mum talking about sleeping? Is she coming over to help? It is never jealousy, it just leaves me feeling a bit lost. Some days I’m really angry, even angry at my mum for leaving me (which I know is pathetic and completely unfair). Why isn’t she here? How come she is not around to tell me I’m doing a good job. Why don’t I have the one person who will help me the most? There are even days I still reach for my phone as I know she’d love to hear ‘shit, you were right about everything!’.
The big struggle is having no point of reference. I am sure there have been times when I’ve been told what my first word was, when I started walking, how I was when I started nursery (I’m assuming very clingy like most babies!), but until you become a mother yourself, these are not questions you’re really bothered about knowing the answer to.
Lux will never know what an incredible woman she was. How strong, fierce and hilarious she was. She’ll forever know her as a photograph, and that is what saddens and angers me the most. They are missing out on each other and I am the middle man between them both, the link between these 2 incredible people.
Becoming a mum is a sharp learning curve (!), but it is the one job in your life where you know what to do without ever having done it before. It is not something you are taught along the way, it is not something you learn in a class. It is ingrained in you, and that’s what keeps me going.
I sing songs to Lux from my childhood that I didn’t even remember I knew. When I’m putting her to sleep or comfort her I feel exactly like my mum. And when we dance around the kitchen I feel the exact same way I used to feel when me and my mum used to do the same. I am experiencing how she felt about her child and that’s what makes me feel so close to her.
The love and bond between a mother and child is like a circle; there is no beginning, there is no end and it will always continue. It is a sacred kind of love, and one that is everlasting.