I remember being a teenager, a fresh 18 and giving birth to my daughter. Everything about that experience was traumatic, and I even vowed never to give birth again. 2 more kids later I guess you can say I didn’t keep that promise to myself.
There were a million things running through my mind after giving birth (besides the struggle with postpartum depression). I knew from the moment I held her, I wanted to do everything I could to be the perfect mom; and then reality set in- there is no such thing as a perfect mom.
I wept for days because she was colic and I didn’t produce enough milk to breastfeed her the way my mom breastfed myself and all my siblings. I felt like a failure. And then there was being in a shelter for 5 months, bouncing from couch to couch until we moved to Philly. And then there was the absentee father that I knew one day I’d have to explain. And again in my mind, I was still failing.
And she only got bigger, and so did her personality and so did my responsibilities. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, because I was still growing up right along side her. In time, I found my stride. I eventually had another child 5 years after her, got married 6 years after her birth and had another child 13 years later. And honestly? My life felt complete. We got a fresh start, moved to Georgia when she was 12 and we got so much closer. I joined the PTA, baked cupcakes, we went shopping; it was everything I could dream of…until it wasn’t.
Now I won’t get into details because she is still my daughter, and I respect her privacy and her right to share her own story one day when she is ready. But here’s what I can speak to, being a mother is sometimes very painful; especially when you grow apart.
I’ve spent the last 5 years trying to decipher where I went wrong. I’ve spent many sleepless nights in tears, talking to my husband or my mom or God trying to make sense of our relationship and why it’s deteriorated the way it has. It’s disappointing, and more days than not it pierces my heart in a way that no other person on this planet has ever been able to.
When you become a mother to a daughter, you never think it’s going to be this way. I thought that I could save her from making choices like I did, and we’d be best friends and she’d come to me for advice and life would be merry with us. But it’s not that right now, and there is a part of me that feels so broken.
I love her dearly, and I know that even children are individuals with their own thoughts and ideas about life; after all I was once a child too. As she approaches adulthood next year, I pray that her transition is a beautiful one, full of joy and living to her fullest potential. I know that sometimes moms and daughters aren’t great during these years; but they can circle back. I did with my mom and I cherish her more than words can say.
Being a mom is not easy, and it doesn’t always go as planned. And if you feel lost right now about it all;here’s a virtual hug and reminder that you are not alone.
Until next time,