Today is the saddest day yet. Its my birthday. The first one after my my mum’s death.
Before starting my journey into motherhood I never really understood the depth of bond between mother and child. The invisible umbilical cord that was severed the day my mum died. I was not her first child, infact I was her last. And I sat next to my dad today wondering if he felt sadness remembering the moment his best friend gave birth to his first child 37 years ago.
After my mum’s death I felt strangely compelled to seek out her mother’s resting spot. Like I felt the link of motherhood was dying along with her. Although I know that is not true, for I have my own children whom I love inexplicably.
I remember how I transitioned into motherhood myself, lucky enough to have my own mum stood right beside me. Terrified, keen to do everything ‘right’, uncertain how I even came to want children. 40 years apart in age, we were from different generations so didn’t always see eye to eye. She didn’t do a bad job though; she raised a liberal family who know their own mind. Even in times of severe adversity in our family, mum and I never fell out. I understood things in a way that only another mother can. She was there every step of my journey with advice, comfort, support. Even if she didn’t agree, she rarely let it be known as she nurtured me to become the mother I am today.
Without her support, her ability to drop everything to look after my child, I would not have become a midwife. I would not be blessed with the opportunity to do what she did for me; to stand beside women who are becoming mothers. To hold their hand, to help them realise their strength and to watch them create their own invisible umbilical cords. It is a privilege to be a midwife; a calling which arose only after I gave birth to my own child. Despite our differences it was my mum’s strength of character, acceptance of those around her and determination to succeed that subconsciously led me down the path I follow today.
Death is the only thing certain in life. I embrace that fully. The devastation I feel is channelled into life changes: buying my first house, a career move. All for my family; to give them the gift of time, unending love and an emotionally and financially secure future. I will be everything my mother was. And more. For that invisible umbilical cord was never severed. It is not just between one mother and her child, it is a continuous link through the generations of mothers.