This is a post that’s been playing on my mind for a little while. I’ve always thought that when you have kids, you become very reliant on your own parents for advice, guidance and help. I’ve always heard that having a child brings particularly mothers and daughters closer. Your mum becomes the person you turn to when you need something – she raised you so she knows what she is doing, right?
(I’m not normally a trigger warning person, but putting a trigger warning here for loss, grief and talk of terminal cancer)
We lost my mum in 2007. I was nineteen years old and had moved to London about four months before she passed away. Mum had ovarian cancer that was only diagnosed about six weeks before she died, and we only knew that she was dying about seven hours before it happened. Mum knew for longer, but that’s another story for another day.
Over the last almost ten years things have been hard, but have got easier. I wished mum would have been there through infertility, I wish she could have been there to support me through the assault court case, and I wish she was still on the end of the phone to talk crap to when the mood arises. What I didn’t expect was for things to get a little harder once Eden came onto the scene. It makes you wonder how it’s possible to be mum without your mum on the scene.
When I was pregnant and people asked about my mum’s pregnancy, it was hard that I couldn’t find out the answer to many of the questions. I had no idea really what her pregnancies or labours were like. I knew she had a miscarriage and I know there’s me and my two sisters who made it out healthy. But apart from that I know very little. My dad knows some stuff but I often thing pregnancy is very personal to a woman, so it is normal to me that he couldn’t answer all of my questions. I had no idea if she’d had any complications in pregnancy or labour. Being the knowledge hound that I am, that played on my mind a fair bit.
People assumed I would have my mum there for the birth. I likely wouldn’t have even if she had still been around, but a lot of people have their mum there and it was another reminder that I can’t. Some people had their mum for childcare – again I likely wouldn’t have as she would have been 250 miles away, but it’s the thought. When talking about the pregnancy I was often asked if my mum and dad were excited. How did my mum feel about becoming a grandma? For some reason people like to focus on mums. Someone who didn’t know my situation once said to me “oh you MUST have your mum there for the birth. I couldn’t have done it without her…”
When Eden arrived I thought about my mum a lot. We were surrounded by so much love and I would have given anything to have her there to meet her first granddaughter. To hold her and talk to her and to generally fuss over her like her other grandparents do. Mum would have been a great grandmother. I thought about her a lot at Eden’s Naming Day. Having so many family members around us reminded me that she wasn’t there and won’t ever physically be there again.
Although our relationship wasn’t always the best, I feel like there is still a piece missing because she was the one who carried and gave birth to me. It surprised me when Eden was born with and continues to have blue eyes. Mine are green and so are Superhero Donor’s, so the blue eyes and light hair took me by surprise. It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I realised that my mum had light eyes – blue/grey. Pretty much the same as Eden’s. I’m not going to lie – that was a bit of a bolt out of the blue for me. It was a reminder that mum lives on through me and essentially through Eden as well, and that was humbling. Most days I wish my mum was here. I have two great mother in laws and a fantastic stepmum who all give wonderful supportive advice when needed, but sometimes I’d like to hear my mum’s perspective. I know she’d be besotted with Eden, and Eden with her.
Being mum without mum isn’t a place where I ever thought I would be, but I look forward to telling Eden stories of her grandmother who is no longer with us when she is older. Mum might not be here physically, but she’s part of me and part of my two sisters as well. So, she will always be part of Eden’s life.