Losing My Mom Makes My Pregnancy Bittersweet


pregnantMost days I get half-sad when I see mothers and daughters together. And I stare. I stare at the way they interact, comparing my brief, judgmental impression of their relationship to my brief, judgmental relationship with my own mother, who died last year when I was 31. Did I ever laugh with my mom like that? When was the last time we went to dinner just the two of us? Were our snippy back and forths ever that mean?

Not having a mom sucks for reasons that are both obvious and not. Have you ever complained to anyone about how unhappy you are with a haircut in painstaking detail and had them actually care? Have you ever spotted a Christmas ornament that's so perfect for someone but you just can't buy it? Or have you ever kicked yourself for not getting the recipe for one of your favorite dishes -- 'cause now you'll never have it again?

I like to think I've handled the death of my mother with some aplomb. But being pregnant without a mom unearths a whole new level of crappiness.

And it's not just because I'm missing out on the adorable cards and outfits and advice she would be giving me, it's because I'm missing out on seeing how happy she'd be meeting her first grandchild.

Before I ever got pregnant, I knew that my mother's absence was something that was going to play during this time. Since I had remained fairly strong -- taking care of others when they needed taking care of, never bursting into a tearful fit in public, and being able to talk about "it" openly -- I wondered just how it would affect me. "I can figure out how to raise a kid without her," I thought. "Her mom wasn't exactly helpful, and if she can do it, I can, too." Also, I'm blessed with a pretty fantastic husband, who was actually a nanny years ago. We got this.

And we do. But one day when I was visiting with a friend who just gave birth, I realized that it's not about me, it's about her. I watched as her mom, the baby's grandma, picked the infant up, changed her diapers, and served up bowls of soup to my friend and me -- with glee. My friend's mother, who I've known since I was 10, was positively glowing as she buzzed around her daughter's home, taking care of what needed to be taken care of. She was deeply grateful and, you can tell, felt blessed. That is something my mother will never get to experience.

I'm sure there will be times, after I give birth, when I'll be missing my mother for reasons that are more selfish -- help with the baby, free babysitting, surprise gifts -- but the real thing that sucks about not having a mom is not being able to see her with that glow.

Were you pregnant without your mom?


Image via d:space/Flickr


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amomo... amomonous

my goodness, your story made me tear up at work. i am so sorry for your loss. i can't imagine not having my mom around during such a precious time. moms seem to be the only ones who truly understand what we are going through at any given time. it is so nice to hear that you have a wonderful husband for support. i wish you the absolute best during the rest of your pregnancy, for a healthy baby, and of course I am sure your mother is watching proudly as she transforms from mother to guardian angel. <3

jagam... jagamama0710

I'm so very sorry for your loss. :(

I am very fortunate to still have my mom around and she is an absolutely wonderful grandmother. She loves my children with all her heart and they think she is just the greatest thing ever. lol However, my husband's mom passed away in 03, 2 years before we got married. So she missed out on the first of her kids to get married and has missed out on her first grandbabies. I know it's not quite the same, but I sometimes feel sad (and I certainly know my husband does) that she can't be here physically to love on them, watch them grow, and that they won't know her in person. We're a military family so we don't get to see our families very often. My mom didn't get to hold her first grandbaby until she was 4 1/2 months old because we lived in Germany. We only get to see eachother 2-3 times a year. I cherish every single second we have when we visit and I know my mom does too. 

nonmember avatar Julie

I lost my mom two years ago when I was 27, and I'm now 16 weeks pregnant with my first baby. It's really hard to go through this experience without my mom. I have two older sisters and for their first baby my mom decorated the nursery and was maybe a little too involved. It breaks my heart to not have her here to lean on and give me advice. Thankfully my older sister has tried to fill that role as much as possible, but it's still not the same.

nonmember avatar Liz H

Never commented on the site before, but I have to say your feelings resonated with me. I lost my mother to cancer four years ago; and while I am not going to have kids, I understand your feelings. I am not married yet, but I know I will be well aware of the void when I do eventually get married because she won't be here to share the news and experience of wedding planning with. It's not quite the same situation, but very much the same kind of feelings. I hope your pregnancy goes well for you and your baby.

Chrissah Chrissah

My mother is in a nursing home half-way across the country, severely mentally and physically disabled due to a stroke 2 years ago, and she is unable to understand that I am pregnant and that she can expect her first grandchild in a few short weeks. I cry when I think about it and I understand what you're going through. I get sad when I see grandmothers enjoying their grandchildren, as well :( I am happy, though, that my mother-in-law will be able to be my son's grandmother. I suppose the important thing is that our children will be loved, but yes, it is bittersweet.

GirlN... GirlNamedBillie

When I was 30 weeks pregnant with my first child, my husband was deployed and my mother passed away. I was devastated, left alone. My mom was my best friend, my source of support when my husband was away, then I was left without either one of them and what made it worse was I had already been diagnosed as having pregnancy induced chronic hypertension so my health wasn't very well, I needed my husband. 

It's still very hard on me, that was November 2008. I don't think I'll ever get over the fact that my kids will never know my mother as their grandmother. Whenever I see a grandparent with their grandchild I become severely depressed and I get jealous whenever my husband's mom gets to see my girls (which is never because she doesn't make the effort) I definitely feel as though I've been cheated out of spending these years with her as well as my children. I'm now 23yrs old with a 2 1/2yr old daughter and a 9 1/2 month old daughter and my husband is about to come home from his 4th deployment. It never gets easier when you're as close as my mother and I were.

nonmember avatar Linda

This column truly hit home for me. My mother isn't physically dead, but she is mentally insane. I don't mean that in an ironic or casual way--she really is mentally ill. As a result, her focus is inward and she is not truly available or "present". I also feel a sense of loss when I watch moms with their daughters and grandchildren. My mom will never be that mom. My son will never have a normal relationship with my mother. It saddens me. The loss is particularly poignant to me since I lost my father one year ago to cancer. He was those things to me and I miss him so very much.

nonmember avatar Emily

You are not alone. I am 12 weeks and lost my Mom in August. Trying to prepare for a baby without her is really hard and I find myself getting mad at those who do have their Moms. I know that is unnecessary and I think it is a part of the grief process. It is helpful to know there are others out there... thank you.

mumma... mummajenni

When your baby is born, I hope you see some piece of your mother in her/him. My son, now 16 months, has my mother's eyes. It is bittersweet for sure. That he is missing out on her love, and she won't know him is heartbreaking, but I try to make small connections. Ive been reading Motherless Mothers, it helps some, because this situation brings out so many emotions I never knew were lurking.

Johariz Johariz

My mother died two weeks before we found out we were pregnant with our second child. My son is now two months old. It is very hard not being able to share everything about my children with my mom. She was my best friend and the perfect mom for me.

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