Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mothers without mothers

A dear friend of mine is pregnant. She shared with me a few of her fears and it brought back a lot of mine. Of course, the bottom line is that I had a very successful pregnancy -- I have a healthy baby to show for it. But it was very difficult for me. I bled a lot, not in large amounts but frequently, so I was always going in to see if anything was wrong. And it never was, but I was so afraid. I remember crying in the car many, many times. Not safe, by the way.
Now, three years later, crying in the car again, I think I can finally put all the pieces together.
When my mom died, I figured (subconsciously) that the worst thing that could happen to someone I love (and by extension, to me) had happened. I've talked a lot about how when I was taking care of her, I would literally jump out of my seat whenever the phone rang. And the day she died, I stopped jumping, for what I thought was ever. It's the converse for people who lose someone suddenly, I think. Once they get that call, every call thereafter holds the potential for horror.
But today I finally realized that it's more than the phone calls. When she died, I cut myself off from caring that deeply about anything. I kept my distance.
But a decade and change later, it was impossible to keep my distance from my own baby, growing inside me. It's primal. And the more I cared, the more scared I got. The last time I had cared for someone -- literally cared for them, took care of them -- she died. It was my only record -- when I take care of someone, that person dies. A hundred percent. So I was waiting for that to happen again.
When my mom died, a guy at the paper I would very soon leave said, "One day, not today, you should check out 'Daughters Without Mothers.' It's for women who have lost their moms." Well, I never did. But I wonder if there's a group for mothers without moms. Because I could really use that right now.

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