Motherless Mothers


January 12, 2013 by theresiugoes

We were about to line up at the checkout at our local Woolworths when a little girl blocked my path. She couldn’t have been more than 18 months, and she was stunning. Dark locks framing her big round eyes, beautiful and soft brown skin. She was doing that cute baby walk, legs moving too fast, her bottom tried to catch up with her upper body. Her purple frilly short shorts just covered her big nappy.
The little girl was running her fastest, (she had obviously escaped the confines of her pram) and was being followed by a (much) older and slower lady, presumably her grandma, and then by another lady, I think her Mum. Her Mum was cranky, chastising her for running too fast or far (they weren’t speaking English, this I inferred from body language), but Grandma swept her up into her arms and began kissing the little girls face, speaking to her in high pitched tones and squeezing her tight.
As I tried to pass Husbandsiu our items from the trolley, my eyes filled with tears. This grandma’s affection reminded me of my own mum’s affection to my nieces and nephew. She had a warm, suffocating and intense affection, which meant lots of soft cuddles and kisses. I cried pretty hard that night.

When we had our first appointment at the midwife’s clinic, our lovely midwife gave me a flyer for a support group called “motherless mothers”.
I didn’t realise we “motherless mothers” were a thing, a category. “You’ll need all the support you can get”, she said, “because having a baby means a lot of the grief you thought you’d dealt with is going to resurface.”
Of course she was right. I was only 20 weeks , but had already wept buckets of tears as I thought of my own mother.
I miss her more now than I did 10 years ago. I miss her almost as much as I did when she first passed, and think of her every day. I tell our little girl about her.
I wonder if I will parent like Mum, how I’ll do things differently. I imagine how Mum would pour hugs and kisses over our baby, and sing to her in Arabic, and feed her solids too early. I imagine how she will pray for her, in her beautiful, emotive and poetic way, if she will plead with God for our little girl as she pleaded for me.
I wonder what advice she would give me, what amusing old wives tales she’d reference, and what of her own experiences she’d share. I wonder if she talked to me when I was in her belly, I wonder what she thought as I kicked and moved in her womb. I wonder how she prepared for labour, if she was afraid or excited. I wonder what I was like as a baby, what struggles and what joys she had with me.

I remember at Mum’s funeral, one of the ladies at Church asked, “why are you crying? Don’t you know she’s in heaven?”
Aside from the foolishness of saying that to a grieving 16 year old, there is so much wrong with that statement.
Heaven is a wonderful hope and promise to those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, but we are not there yet. And until we are there, we will cry many tears of pain and hurt as we miss those who have gone ahead. We are not weeping as though we have no hope, although our hope is true and good and comforting. We are weeping because of broken communion, or relationship; broken life, disorder. We weep because it was not meant to be this way, because even the death of a believer is terrible for those left behind.

I miss my mum terribly. I know I’ll see her again one day. Se left a  deep imprint on me, and all those she loved, one I hoped she would make on my own children. But her mark on me is so deep, that hopefully it will leave its trace on my own children as I love like she loved.


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