“I was her angel, now she’s mine”-unknown
Becoming a mum is probably up there as one of the biggest life events in any woman’s life, in fact it’s bloody massive isn’t it, you’re solely responsible for this tiny human being and the person you look to for help and guidance is your mum. After all you’re still alive so she did something right. But what do you do if your mum is no longer there?
The one thing that I wanted for my mum and me when I found out I was pregnant with my first child was to give her the opportunity to be totally involved, to be a part of those everyday moments that she missed with my niece. You see I believe that when a son has a child it is his girlfriend, wife, parter (delete as applicable) mother who has the VIP all round access to every aspect of the pregnancy, the birth and the oh so wonderful fourth trimester. Now I’m not saying this is true for everyone but for my brother is was the case. I wanted my mum in the delivery room much to my husbands dismay, I wanted my mum with me a couple of times a week because moving in was just a big no for my husband, he did put his foot down in that one. I wanted my mum and my daughter to have a better relationship than me and my did and we had a pretty amazing one. I had this picture of what the three of us would be together but fate had a different idea.
At 24 weeks I was settled into the second trimester, the morning sickness had gone, thank the lord, and I was eating and exercising again. I was still at work full time but planned to take a month annual leave before my maternity started so I could spend this time resting and getting ready for my daughter to make her debut appearance. If I’m being completely honest I wanted to lie on my mums couch and be waited on hand and foot because man alive I was tired. I was anxious about the birth and something going wrong, I was anxious about my ability to be a mum but I didn’t feel I had to worry too much becuause after all I had my mum by my side she would make sure everything was fine, that’s how it had always been. On Friday 17th August 2018 I went to work as usual, nothing about this day struck me as being different or that this was to be the worst day of my life. I received a phone call from my Dad at work, I didn’t recognise his number initially or who it was on the phone telling me that I needed to come home because my mother had died. “ What?” I remember saying in completely disbelief and then what had been said to me came rushing to clarity in mind and my knees gave way. I fell to floor clutching me bump and wailed “no”. The noise I made was of pure and absolute heartbreak, the love of my life, my precious mum, had left me and gone somewhere where for the first time in my life I could not follow. And what shocked me most of all was that not a sound was made as she passed away, the silence of her no longer being here was absolutely deafening. I always thought that if someone you loved more than your own life passed away you would know, something would shift in your world and you would just know but it doesn’t, I had absolutely no idea.
My mum died suddenly and unexpectedly from a sudden cardiac arrest, she didn’t know and neither did we. She had gotten up that morning as usual and gone about her business but she was not to see the end of the day she had planned. Initially after her death I could not even think about having a baby. If I am being completely honest I did not want to have my daughter at all and that wasn’t because she wasn’t wanted but I wanted my daughter to stay where she was because if my mum didn’t get the chance to meet her then I didn’t want anyone else to. I also didn’t want to have my daughter because that would ultimately mean that things were no longer the same as when my mum was alive, time would have moved on and that signifies that my mum was no longer part of my present or future but would have to remain permanently in my past. I felt like I was betraying her by even thinking about the future, a future where she wasn’t in it. I was s frightened about how I would welcome my little girl, she and my mums death where to forever be linked and I was worried that I would forever associate her with this. Every year that my daughter aged would also represent the number of years without my mum and I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the two. I felt guilty for thinking this way but I couldn’t help it, grief makes you think some strange things.
For a good few weeks after her death I attended my antenatal appointments merely as a passive participant, I knew I would have my daughter but I just couldn’t think about it just yet. I was so scared of being alone after I gave birth because I had always planned to spend the majority of my maternity leave with my mum and that we would look after my daughter together. Now what was I going to? How could I be a mum without a mum? Who was going to guide me and show me how to do things? Who could I turn to for help? Who was going to look after me when things got tough and give me a break? There was no way I was qualified to look after a child, that’s what mum’s did and I had yet to see myself as a mum. And whilst I went over this daily the overarching point of it all was that my mum would never get the opportunity to meet her granddaughter and I was devastated. I will forever feel angry on her behalf because she couldn’t have been more excited to meet her, my mum loved my daughter before me. And it worked both ways, my daughter had been deprived of her only grandmother. They say you can’t miss something you never had-yes you can! I was grieving not only for everything I had lost but also the future I was never going to have with my mum and daughter and that would never have together.
As time got nearer to my due date family and friends started buying things for my daughter and all I could think about was how my mum couldn’t do that anymore, people were getting excited to meet her and again all I could think about was how my mum never would. I would be out shopping and I would see mums and daughters together and I’d think how I will never have that opportunity again. It was talking to my husband about this one day that would be the turning point for me. I told him about seeing other mums and daughters together and how I wouldn’t be able to do that ever again and he replied “yes you will except this time you will be the mum”. I hadn’t thought about it like that before and it was from this point that I began to think about the future with my daughter and as a mum who she needed.
I went in to labour spontaneously at 36 weeks and gave birth to a health little girl, 12 weeks after my mums passing. We had already named our little girl after my mum and on the Monday before she died I had spoken to my mum about a name I liked which she loved, that was the last name we ever spoke about so it seemed like a perfect choice. My mum didn’t get to meet my daughter but she did get to name her at least. My daughter is the most amazing thing to have ever happened to me and it’s strange to say that last year was the absolute best and worst year of my life. All the fears I had about associating my daughter with my mums death were unfounded, she is something completely different in her own right and she has given me a very much needed light in a particularly dark time in my life. I will never understand why it is my mum and daughter could not be together but my daughter has gone someway to healing the pieces of my broken heart. It has been 10 months since my mum passed away now and although I still cry at least once everyday my daughter gives me a thousand and one reasons to smile. This year of firsts has been bittersweet, first Christmas without my mum but the first Christmas for my daughter, first birthday without my mum but as a mum, first Mother’s Day without a mum but as a mum and the year sent finishd yet.
I am no longer worried about bein a mum without a mum because I now realise that she taught me everything I needed to know (and google but that’s another blog post stay tuned) and I model myself on her as a parent. Her being the best mum to me means I can be the best mum to my daughter.