When you find yourself fully pregnant and without a mother to dote on you and help you through this life-bringing journey, you find ways to cope.
Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve always wondered how it would have been like had my mum been alive and around to hear the news. She adored babies more than any other woman I’ve known. Every single one of them, down to the snotty, poopy, weepy and whiny ones. And she always went for the feet first; nibbled their tiny toes like they were freshly spun caramel candy.
Her face would have lit up at the thought of becoming a grandmother, probably would have cried even. Like that happy squealing grandma-to-be cry you see on YouTube pregnancy announcement videos.
Then all this would have been an entirely different experience.
Unfortunately, the universe had other plans for my mother, and as strange and sad it is to say, had it not been for her passing I probably would have never found myself pregnant to begin with. It was because she passed away that I moved to the other side of the planet to start anew — and I wouldn’t have met my then would-be-husband at our postgraduate Christmas party on that fateful Saturday night.
Sometimes, I’m actually convinced that my mom had a hand in our meeting since she always had a thing for the blonde and blue-eyed loyal boys-next-door, whilst I, up to that point, went for the dark-haired devilish heartbreaking charmers. She played cupid from her heavenly home, sat back with some her staple bowl of chips and homemade salsa, then watched her magical handiwork unfold and bloom.
So when things get persistently rough and I am reminded of this special mother-daughter experience that I seem to be missing out on, I tell myself that I am not alone. Not alone in the sense that there are other women out there in a similar situation, but that I have a whole legion of strong women — friends, best friends, cousins, aunts, my grandmother, my mother-in-law, and my mother’s own best friends whom I have come to call my adopted mothers — who in their own little way have made this life-affirming adventure just as special. Instead of having just one dote on me, I have a dozen — each one taking on a unique role and helping to fill in the gaps. They say that it takes a village a raise a baby, but it also takes a village of other mothers to support a mother.
Their much welcomed (un)solicited advice, practical day-to-day tips, and the wisdom they have so generously passed on — I have never felt more supported, more comforted in my single-minded pursuit to becoming the best possible mother I can be. After all, there are no take-backs and as soon as our little jelly bean is born, so will I be too.
I’ve been keeping to heart everything my Village of Mothers has imparted to me and have even started writing them down on the Little Blue Book of Unsolicited Advice that I received at my baby shower. Their insights into birth, motherhood and marriage, all based on their own experiences — of their triumphs and even their regrets — I have listened to and read over and over again with wholehearted intent. Their collective tenacity is something to be greatly admired and yet goes rarely acknowledged, and despite what feels like mammoth fails and mere micro victories, these mothers push on repeatedly with each passing day, fueled solely by their seemingly never-ending supply of unconditional love.
Who could ask for a better substitute?