Picture of a Mother
| Anonymous |
A picture of a mother and child smiling and sharing an intimate moment can stop me in my tracks. My Facebook-feed-scrolling tracks that is. Sometimes it happens when my friends who are mothers share their deepest, unwavering love for their new babies. A couple of seconds go by, and I have to remind myself to take a breath, enter back into the conversation, just keep scrolling.
It’s not what anyone thinks. I haven’t lost a child, I didn’t lose my mother when I was young, and in fact I still see her pretty regularly.
It’s just, I don’t actually remember sharing intimate moments with her. I don’t have memories of cuddling up to her, asking for a hug, or feeling safe and contained. I often had no idea how she would react to me or my needs, and mostly I felt like there wasn’t space for me. It wasn’t until recently, as an adult old enough to have my own child, that I really started to think about all this. I guess I’d convinced myself I wasn’t missing anything, that I had everything I needed.
All of that changed when my therapist of five years told me she was pregnant. I panicked, and immediately felt broken in half. My heart hurt in a way I had never known. What I soon realized was that I wanted her as my mom, and my grief that she wasn’t overwhelmed me. I cried for almost seven months. I cried for the care and empathy my therapist gave me that I never received anywhere else. That sense of protection, unconditional love, total acceptance. All I wanted in the whole world was for her to break the barrier as my therapist and hold me and love me in all the ways I’d never experienced with my own mom. Imagining her perfectly loving her own daughter and not me broke my heart. I wanted her to be mine, and all I could do was cry.
It’s a couple years later, and I’m patched up now. Or more likely, just dried out and exhausted of crying for a relationship I never had, and one I’ll never have. But that deep longing for a caretaker and guardian is still there. Show me a picture of a mom sharing sweetness with her daughter, and even as an adult, I feel as small and needy as a child.