Motherless Mothers: A review

So, I recently received in the mail my Motherless Mothers book and promptly devoured it, highlighting this and that as I read.

Now, of course I realize that I still had a mom when I had my first child (something that is not the case for many of the women in this book), but I also had a very traumatic birth with Liam, our car accident, and all of us being injured (including mom). Because of that situation, I never really did experience the true normalcy of having a normal birth, having my mom there to see it, having her take care of me afterwards, etc. Instead, we were all in shock, in pain, in the hospital, and a variety of all that stuff for a good while.

This book focuses on how it is like for women as they give birth to and raise children without having their moms around to go to for advice and support. One chapter, called The Absent Grandmother, focuses on what a loss it is specifically not having a maternal grandmother for your children. Let me share a passage that really spoke of this:

“Mothers’ mothers tend to be the grandparents most likely to make grandchildren feel good about themselves, to help in emergencies, to act as intermediaries between children and their parents, and to share secrets with grandchildren. This is mainly because of the relationship a mother shares with her mother. Married adult women tend to live closer to their parents than men do, receive more child-care assistance from mothers than they receive from their mothers-in-law, have more frequent contact with their parents than husbands do, and be more involved in their mothers’ lives. Maternal grandparents thus become the grandparents with whom grandchildren have the most contact, and the ones on whom a family typically relies the most.”

I think that this paragraph really states the truth. All grandparents are wonderful, precious parts of a child’s life, but there is something truly unique and special about having a maternal grandmother around to dote on and love your kids. In fact, I never experienced this myself, as my mom’s mom died when my mom was 27 and had not had any children yet herself. I remember we would talk about Grandma Hazel and I just knew that her and I would have gotten along famously and had little secret agreements and such. It would have been wonderful to know her, and I am so sad that my kids won’t know my Mom as a maternal grandmother.

Another interesting concept that this book covers is the tendency that motherless mothers have to be a little overprotective and worriers. Because we have been “caught off-guard by a loss in the past, she doesn’t want to be caught off-guard again. Letting her mind spiral outward into all the possible outcomes allows her to feel as if she’s mastering the next adverse event in advance…Being prepared, thinking about it, talking about it, is a way of controlling it. It means I can almost pregrieve. If I’m ready, I won’t be emotionally distraught when it happens, because I will have been prepared.”

If I’m being truthful, this is absolutely how I often feel. After experiencing two what-are-the-odds-of-this-happening-to-us scenarios in two short years with our awful car wreck and my mom’s untimely death, I have a tendency to feel like I’m bracing myself for the next off-the-wall thing to happen. And I’m not saying that’s an ok or good thing. It just is what it is during this stage in my life right now, and I am working with the Lord to remind myself that I just need to TRUST HIM even though I’ve seen some scary things happen. He is STILL in control of my life and wants GOOD things for me and my family.

Anyway, this book covered so much more that I am really just scratching the surface by talking about it, but the bottom line is that like its predecessor “Motherless Daughters”, it really hits head on a lot of the feelings that I am dealing with right now and that most all women who lose their mothers feel. It also gave me assurance that even though I won’t have my mom around as I raise my kids, I will do the best I can and pray that it will be enough. I feel like even though I won’t have mom’s advice and support around, if I follow what I remember her saying and follow what the Bible says the best I can, my kids will hopefully turn out all right!

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4 thoughts on “Motherless Mothers: A review

  1. I am confident that your kids will turn out alright Kelly. You have had the wonderful advantage of having 2 tremendously gifted and godly parents to watch and model your life after. In fact by just reading your posts, I feel you have your father’s gift with words and writing. You are a great communicator as he is. I like reading your posts, and have compassion for you as you travel through this journey of grieving your mom’s loss. I am praying for you and your dad.
    Rosemarie

  2. It sure is eye-opening to read this and be part of your journey, Kelly. Thanks for your honesty. While you may not be able to ask your mom for advice, she’s put SO much into you and the Lord can definitely bring back to memory the words she said, and experiences, so that you can know “what Mom would have done.” Love you, friend. You are doing a great job as a mom, and I see it all the time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. 🙂 PS…my mom’s mom passed away when she was 19, well before she even met my dad, so I never knew my maternal grandmother either. I’m thinking about recommending this book to my mom, even though it’s been so long.

  3. Dear Kelly,
    Your void is a very sad event especially when such a joyous upcoming occasion
    delivering a precious child. I will pray for you during this sensitive time.

    Love to you and your family,
    Cousin Shelley Katz
    408-234-0129 (with Verizon)
    Feel free to phone me.

  4. Kelly,
    I agree with Rosemarie in the sense that you have your father’s gift with words and writing. Your posts are so thoughtful and I really feel as though I am having a conversation with you.
    It is interesting to read about ‘preparing and bracing yourself’ for the next traumatic event. Although I have not lost a mother, it makes me wonder if I have been doing the same since the loss of my father; or maybe even due to my miscarriage. Throughout my pregnancies I have been very cautious and even paranoid. Almost as if preparing myself for the loss of the baby. Even after the birth of both children, it took me a while to feel the bond that everyone talks about. I have always wondered if it was due to the C-section but this shines a new light on the situation.
    I hope this book helps you grieve through this emotional time in your life.

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