How to mother without your mother.
I still remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my first, now five and a half.
My partner and I had stopped being ‘careful’ and at 9am on a workday I was buying an early pregnancy test and peeing on it in the communal office toilets – how Ally McBeal. I had to restrain myself from letting out a squeal when it was positive and sat at my desk feeling like I was going to burst, along with wanting to vomit into my bin. Sounds magical doesn’t it?
But then reality set in – how was I going to do this without mum?
Mum died when I was 23 after a 10-year battle with the C word. My world imploded and I was totally devastated. Who would I scoff cheese with until I felt sick? Who would tell me I looked utterly ridiculous without reducing me to tears or teach me how to make the perfect G&T (decent gin, ice and lots of lemon)? What I didn’t think was ‘who will hold my hand through labour or answer frantic calls in the middle of the night when my nipples burned like the fires of hell’.
Fast-forward six years and there I was on my back, strapped to monitors trying to push out my darling daughter wishing that Mum was there. The feeling continued after birth too when I struggled with breast-feeding − it hurt so bad, I couldn’t get comfortable, was she getting enough? I knew my mum breast fed, but she was no longer there to ask.
Then came the constant reminders that I had no one to tell me what I was like as a baby, a toddler and now little girl – do we have the same traits? Same temper? Did I talk/walk early? There are a million questions I wish I’d asked when she was still here.