Starting a family can be an overwhelming experience for new mothers, but it’s even more difficult if you don’t have your mother by your side for guidance and support.
It’s hard having your mother miss out on your child’s special moments, or not have the chance to meet your child before her passing. But even though she isn’t there physically, she will still always be with you in everything she taught you.
It’s normal to feel a range of different emotions — everything from jealousy to sadness — when starting your motherhood journey without a mother.
One mother shared her story about the envy and sorrow she felt when seeing another woman who had her mother around. While at the park with her husband and children, she witnessed a young woman trying to calm her upset baby and asking an older woman, most likely her mother, for advice. She told the young woman to take her other child to play, and that she would take care of the upset baby, and the young woman smiled with gratitude.
Seeing this exchange made her wish her mother was still around to spend time with her children. She wished she could have turned to her mother for advice when she needed parenting guidance, and told her how much she admires and respects her for everything she did.
Even though her mother can’t be by her side to fulfill these wishes, she said “when I look at the faces of my children, I feel my mother’s presence and it comforts me. I see her sweetness in my daughter’s smile and her fire in my son’s eyes.”
The emotions you feel are a healthy part of the grieving process that you should accept and not push away. These feelings of sadness may never completely go away, but that is alright as long as you’re grieving healthily. You shouldn’t feel pressured to grieve for a certain amount of time. Grieve for however long is right for you, but recognize when grief has turned into complicated grief.
Some symptoms of complicated grief include irritability, intense sorrow, bitterness, and loss of meaning in life. If you’re experiencing behaviors such as sleep disturbance, weight loss or gain, depression, isolation, and an overall inability to do daily activities, consider seeking help from a professional.
Remembering Your Mother
You and your children can honor and remember your mother through memorial traditions such as visiting her gravesite or cooking her favorite meal. You can share photos and other mementos with your children so they can get to know their grandmother and have a piece of her to always remember her by.
Through stories and prayers, one mother is making sure her children don’t grow up without knowing who their grandmother was. She spends time with her children telling them stories about their grandmother and showing them photos of her so they can feel close to her. They include her in their prayers, and her children enjoy talking about her and wish they could have met her.