Have you ever read anything that helped you understand who you are? Currently, I'm skimming through a book called Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman that a friend of mine (thanks Patti) reccommended to me. The title speaks for itself- it's a book about women who have lost their mothers. It's a thick book, so I started with the chapter that intrigued me the most. I jumped all the way to the back of the book and began reading the next to last chapter entitled "The Daughter Becomes a Mother: Extending the Line." I wanted to know how my experience with losing my mom will affect my parenting. From there, I was so enthralled that this book was explaining so much of me & all that I haven't expressed before that I finished the last chapter as well.
Here are some truths about myself (for better or worse) that I believe Hope Edelman has nailed:
- 1. I would say I have a "whole again" feeling since having children of my own- they allow me to reconnect with my mother (knowing that she went through those feelings with me), & in doing so regain a small part of the original mother-daughter relationship (p268)
- 2. Pregnancy and post-partum are bittersweet because I rejoice in mothering my babies, but instead of mourning exclusively as a daughter, I mourn as a mother as well (mourns for what Ellie & Saedi are missing). More so with Ellie was the new cycle of mourning triggered. (275)
- 3. Benefits of using a doula- "She never leaves the mother alone, & that is an essential aspect of this"...the doula became the mothering figure for me. "I never realized how much nurturing I needed until I had the experience...Your trust in me & your support at that time have made me realize I can do anything I want to in my life." (277)
- 4. A belief that I must be aware of my own limits to succeed (294)
- 5. I set explicit goals for myself & become determined to achieve them before my time runs out (294)
- 6. Feelings of, "I know that if my mother had been alive..." have caused me to become brave & independent.
- 7. Need for distraction through lots of activity & consistent achievement (303)
- 8. Desire to honor mom through achieving what she never had a chance to achieve for herself (304)
- 9. Have a "diminished sense of crisis" because things often feel minor in comparison to losing my mom
- 10. By creating a productive & satisfying life for myself I can attach meaning to my mom's death- "she did not die for naught" (309)
- 11. The courage to journey alone: "I feel very much that home is a state of mind, and that it goes with you. I nest with great enthusiasm when I land somewhere, but it's just as easy for me to pack up and move on." (303)