When I first became pregnant with Leah, the thought never crossed my mind that I would begin to notice the absence of my Mother. Truth be told, I have rarely noticed her absence in my life. That may sound cold, but understand that I was quite young when she took her own life. What memories I have are minimal and even those, I am not sure if I remember or if they are just stories people told me.
It wasn’t until after Leah was born that I started to feel like I was missing a piece of the puzzle to motherhood.
The week after Leah was born, my mother in law, Dawn came and stayed with us. Having Dawn around was a blessing that I had no idea I needed. I cried the day she left to go back to Calgary. My Dad and Stepmom made weekly visits along with a handful of friends that offered wonderful advice and took Leah when I desperately needed a break.
When Leah was about a month old, I decided to dig out my own baby book. During late night feeds, I would stare at the photos of my Mum and I and be overcome with emotion. She looked like she was a natural mother. There is one specific photo of her looking directly into my eyes while she gave me a bath. That photo that gets me every time. What I wouldn’t give to just remember what she looked like in person.
I often searched for some kind of comfort in those photos, some sort of direction of how to be a Mom. When Leah would cry and I couldn’t console her, I ached for that mother-daughter relationship I never had. I had no idea what I was doing and all I wanted was for her to tell me it was okay and that she went through the same thing.
Now that Leah is older, I am finding it much easier to navigate motherhood. I now feel an unexplainable connection with Leah and I’m honestly obsessed with her. She knows who Mom is and often favors me over anyone else. Lately, I have moved from the feeling of anguish towards my Mum to more of a confusion and hurt. There are so many nights that I put Leah to bed and I think how could I ever not want to see her face again? I know my Mum was sick and I hear the validation for why she did what she did.. but still, it breaks my heart.
Over the past few months, I have made the decision to not hold onto any negative feelings towards my Mum. Of course, there are still difficult days. Just last week I cried on Chris’s shoulder after putting Leah to bed. But I also know that any resentment will only hold me back and possibly prevent me from being the best possible Mom. Instead, I have made commitments to Leah. I will love her unconditionally, be there for her and should she choose to have children of her own one day, be the best possible Grandma. A good friend of mine recently reminded me that no matter how little a child is, you are their role model. As her mom, I will teach her right from wrong, how to be kind, how to stand up for herself and to teach her what self-worth means.
She is my daughter and I am her very lucky mother.