Today a dear friend of mine lost her mother. Her death was peaceful and not unexpected. It was my understanding that when learning that the time was near…she actually got to be with her and hold her hand for the last bit of time together. I know what that feels like to have your mother be gone and quietly slip away. My own mother passed over ten years ago, I think of her often and mostly fondly now, but I especially feel her presence and her opinions about all manner of things when I am with my own children.
My relationship with my mother changed dramatically after I had my first child and experienced that first year of nursing my baby. My mother didn’t nurse me, but I was unable to look at my baby without thinking about my mother and how she must have looked at me and felt about me. She loved me unconditionally. Breastfeeding is most certainly not a requirement for loving your baby or conversely for your baby loving you.
We learn how to be mothers from our mothers. She is the yardstick we hold up to measure our performance, good or bad. How our mothers felt about having us, raising children, how they felt about our fathers all deeply influence how we tolerate spending time with our own mothers and how we handle separations from them.
I suspect that there is a sisterhood of women who have relationships with their living mothers and another set of siblings that handle their relationships and memories of their mothers who are now dead.
Please share your story! What are the memories you have of your mother? Do you look like her? Did your mother breastfeed you? How did she feel about you nursing your baby? Did someone other than your mother raise you when you were very young? Did your own mother raise your children? Did your grandmother raise you?
Honor the time you have with your mother.