Maternity Leave Guest Series: Mothering Without A Mother

As most of you know, I will be away from blogland a bit while I'm on maternity leave. Lucky for me - AND you!- I've partnered with some lovely bloggers to consistently bring you great content. 

This week, I am honored to share a post by my college friend Jackie of The Joyful House Queens. She writes a heartfelt letter to her pregnant little sister about what it's like to be a mom without their mom, who passed away from cancer July 2009. Be sure to grab some tissues because it's an emotional read. 

Mothering Without A Mother 
by Jackie Queen of The Joyful House Queens

A letter to my pregnant sister.
{Jackie}  We lost our mother exactly 9 years ago today, July 24, 2009.  A date, a moment, an emotion, that will forever be etched into my memory.  She was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in December of the year prior while both Jessie and I were in college. My dad, older brother, and the two of us were all living at home that summer, soaking in what we knew would be the last few months as the family we had always known. It was an extremely emotional summer.  I have beautiful, special, memories of our time together but I also have regrets throughout those 7 months; wishing I did more, laid with her more, held her hand more, talked with her more. However, sometimes I think that is the pain speaking from time passing and how I long to do those things just one more time. And quite honestly, I can admit I was in denial that it was actually happening because it was my mom, our family’s rock, the person who did it all! She had to get better. She fought, but suffered more, and we lost one of the most beautiful souls at only 49 years old. I felt part of my own soul die through witnessing her excruciating battle.
Almost a decade later and that pain hasn’t gone away. And I know it never will. The day to day is “easier” but the grieving process of a lost loved one is ever going; most particularly triggered by significant life events. The college graduation, without a mother; the big family vacation, without a mother; the first time you bring home THE ONE, without a mother; THE dress shopping, without a mother; the wedding day, without a mother; the “we’re pregnant” without a mother. But for me, it is the mothering without a mother, that has been most difficult.
The pure joy and excitement when you first find out you are going to bring life into this world is indescribable.  For my husband and I it was times two since we were expecting twins. They are 3 years old now and are the light of my life! Their adventurous personalities and sweet hearts have made motherhood so rewarding and I am filled with love and joy each and every day. But there is a part of me that feels empty and I know it is because I am a mother without a mother. My sister and blogging partner, Jessie, is now 4 months pregnant with a baby boy, so this letter is to her.
My sweet Jessikins,
You have probably already experienced some of the pain and hurt that comes with going through motherhood without mom. The instant you found out you were pregnant I’m sure you felt this want, or need, to tell her. Knowing you couldn’t, your heart ached. I know, I’ve been there. I wish I could hold you and tell you those feelings go away. But I can’t. They don’t.
You’ll be in the delivery room and they’ll hand you your fresh new baby and he will be SO beautiful and that moment will be one you and Dwight will NEVER forget. But you’ll also long for your mother’s hug and her calm whisper telling you how incredible of a woman you are, for what you just did. I know, I’ve been there.
People will visit, hold him, love him, but sometimes you’ll be angry that they get to have those moments with your sweet boy but your own mom can’t physically be here to hold him too. I know, I’ve been there.
You’ll have friends who have babies and they’ll mention how their mom has been so incredible helping around the house while they try to figure out how to feed this new human and shower at the same time. And you’ll be able to relate with the chaos of newborn life, but you’ll also be left with moments of jealousy amidst the exhaustion. I know, I’ve been there.
Your baby will start to learn people’s names and faces and you’ll begin to show them pictures of mommy and call her Gigi because you think she would have liked that name but get mad at yourself because you never really asked her what her future grandkids should call her. I know, I’ve been there.
There will be a day where your child does something EXACTLY the way you did as a kid and you will laugh so hard at the irony thinking to yourself, oh my gosh I wish she was here to witness that but also be comforted knowing she saw it from Heaven, laughing too! I know, I’ve been there.
You’ll have days where you are SPENT and completely depleted by this (or these) human(s) and there is noone more you want to pick up the phone and call but mommy. SHE would know this EXACT emotion. And you’ll want to say, “I get it! I get why you were in a bad mood from time to time! You felt like you could not give one ounce more. But mom, you always did and I know I barely said this when I should have but I can’t thank you enough for all you did for us!”. I know, I’ve been there.
There will be nights you are with your family making memories like you remember doing as a kid and you just turn to your husband with tears welling up in your eyes, barely able to convey how much your mom would have loved this stage of life. I know, I’ve been there.
But more than anything, you’ll long for her answers. Motherhood brings about so many questions and you’ll just want to ask her, all of them. While others may complain about the vast opinions of their parents, you’d give the world for just one of hers. Not saying we wouldn’t roll our eyes at a few of hers, but her insight is one I miss with all I am.
Some days, mothering without a mother is crippling. And the only thing you can do is take a warm shower and cry until there are no tears left.
Or, call your sister… I know, I’ve been there.
God knew exactly what He was doing in giving us one another. I thank Him every day for you and the guidance and support He has instilled in you, long before you even became a mother yourself. You’ve been my sister and have helped fill the wounds of pain from not having a mother in this motherhood journey. And I promise I will be that for you to the best of my ability, every step of the way. We will both experience new emotions, alike emotions, vastly different emotions, as we raise these humans. I will never be mommy, but I pray I can embody her essence, as you have done for me.
I love you and you will truly be the most incredible mother. Without a doubt, I know Mommy is so proud.
Your sister,
Jack Jack
Take care of each other.

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