Friday, June 24, 2011

Being a mama

I've been thinking about this one for a long time.  I spent a long time longing for and working hard to physically be a mama.  This gave me lots of time to think about parenthood and my relationship with my own mother, which, isn't so great.  We don't have a horrible relationship, we just don't really have a good one.  She's pretty much openly favored my brother as long as I can remember and it's caused a lot of tension in our relationship.  We're civil and I do what I have to do to make sure that I don't make any waves, but when I see people who enjoy spending time with their mother or who look forward to calling her to share news or get advice, I have NO idea what that is like.  My mother isn't the one who went wedding dress shopping with me, she wasn't giving me advice on the phone when I was pregnant, and she certainly didn't support me when I was struggling to get pregnant.  And I've come to terms with all that over the years, but now that I'm the mama of a little girl, I see things a little differently.

At first when I was pregnant, I gave my mom more leeway then I have in a long time.  I started to realize that as a parent, you do the best that you possibly can in any given situation.  You're going to make mistakes, you're going to look back in hindsight and say, I should have done that differently, but in the end you want the best for your child.  You come to the table with love and that's the most important thing.  So I started trying to give my mom the benefit of the doubt and look back on her parenting decisions from her perspective instead of my own, because that's what I hope Bean will do some day.

Then Bean arrived and I can't describe the love that I feel for her.  I am bringing love to the table, I am making every decision the best that I possibly can at that moment, and I am doing everything in my power to have a relationship with her that is different then the one that I have with my mom.  I have less understanding now then I did before.  I see this little person growing and developing and I can't understand how some of the emotions that it's clear my own mother has towards me are possible.  I just can't wrap my brain around it.  So I'm trying very hard to make sure that things are different for Bean, but to be honest, I'm not sure how.  My mother didn't have a good relationship with her mother and spent her entire life as a parent trying to do the opposite so that she would have a different outcome.  She tried so hard and yet failed so badly.  How do I not fall into that same trap?

I don't have an answer for that.  I don't have answers for any of it and I know that my relationship with Bean is going to change over the years.  I just want to figure out how to do it right.  I want to do as little as possible to mess her up because both hubby and I realize that currently our biggest challenges in our lives (outside of infertility) come from our families and our relationships with them.  The last thing I want to be for Bean is a challenge.  The only plan that I can currently come up with is to go with my gut.  My mother made the mistake of trying to be the opposite of someone else instead of just being herself, and in the end, she turned out just like her mother in many, many ways.  So I think the right thing to do is just be real and do what feels right to me.  All of my life experiences have gotten me to this point and I can't believe that I'm going to walk the same path that my mother did, because I'm so aware of it, so I just have to believe that I'm prepared and that when I come to the table with love, that Bean will feel it.  Because believing anything else at this point, just breaks my heart.


  1. I don't even have a little one yet and I have already started worrying about this! My relationship with my mom is pretty good now, but in order for that to happen, I had to forgive things that I said I never would. I just keep reminding myself that not everything my mom did was bad so doing some things like her isn't a bad thing.

  2. Sometimes I think most of us have had really bad relationships with our mothers. I did for the longest time, but then in my mid-20's it changed for whatever reason.

    My mom told me a story last night about her childhood with mother freaking out about a new record that my mom had purchased. My grandma made my mom break it because she thought it was so inappropriate. My mom was telling me this story and she was saying it in the tone like "can you believe how mean your grandma was??". Only I had to remind her that when I was 10 and bought a Green Day CD, she made me ride my bike back to the store and return it and give her the money back.

    My point here is that as hard as we try, we do sometimes act in ways that are identical to our parents when they were faced with the same circumstances. I think you hit it on the head, though, with trying to go with your gut and make the best decision you can. That's all anyone can do. You cannot see the future; you can look to the past though and use that data to influence your current decisions.

    Sorry for the long-winded post! Just was thinking about this very same thing today.

  3. Thanks for your comment on my blog! So glad I came across your story on this post... My relationship with my Mum is fairly good, because I've also been able to 'forgive' her for the fact that my upbringing was not perfect - is anybody's?! I've accepted that parents are just people and, like all people, they make mistakes.
    But I've also said that I will do things differently when I have children.. but perhaps you're right - trying to do the opposite isn't the answer, just giving love and being open is the start :)

  4. I'm sure you will be wonderful- you are aware of the issues and want to have a great relationship with your child. :)

    ICLW #128

  5. I think the fact that you are aware of the situation, means you are on the right track. My mom and my grandma had a somewhat troubled relationship. However, now they are fine and in fact my grandma is great to all her grandchildren. My mom will comment how she was never like that with her or her brother but people can change and for the better. I think you are going to be a great mom and very understanding!

  6. I'm so glad you're a mother after such a long journey. I would love to share your success story on my blog (where I write to help others through their journey). Here's the link to the format I use! ( Happy ICLW!

  7. I'd describe the relationship I have with my mom as similar--not great but not horrible...and it is interesting seeing that, now that I'm a mother too.

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog! My mother tried very hard to be the opposite of her mother, too. She mainly succeeded, although she probably created some new issues. but overall, I feel like I am much closer to my son than I ever was with my mother (that may sound weird, as he's 2.5, but my parents style is much more about attachment and hers was about structure). So I hope to be closer to him,and someday if I have a daughter, than I was to her. That said, nobody's relationship with their mom is perfect. I'm sure there will be issues, and I've mainly forgiven my mom for any mistakes she made.

  9. Thank you all for your supportive comments. I do wish that it was as easy as forgiving my mother, because I did that already when I was pregnant and that did make a difference. Unfortunately, right now our relationship suffers from her feelings which I don't know how to change.

    My mom seems to have reached a point in her life where she is sad about the fact that she's older and seems to have regret over how parts of her life have gone. Somehow, those feelings have been projected onto me and she seems to be jealous of the fact that I am younger then her and that I have things that she does not have. I have no idea how to change that so things can be different.

    I know that for myself, I hope that Bean has a better life then mine, that is one of the goals of being a parent. I think you're all right though, awareness is important we'll just have to see what the future brings. Right now I'm going to enjoy my little snuggle bug :)

  10. You're gonna be great. Just keep doing what you're doing. I had my girl on IVF #6. My mom died before she was conceived. My mom made me (an only child) the center of her life, yet we were'nt close in the important ways. She never taught me anything remotely related to sex or love or my body. Head in the sand. Thank God I turned out fine and married my soulmate.
    If I die tomorrow, I'd be remembered by others as a great mom. But more importantly, that's how my two kids would remember me too. If anything, I probably do too much for them at the expense of my own interests, but I can live with that. So go with that gut with'll be fine.
    tracey ICLW #118