Posted by: coachingparents | October 21, 2009

When a Woman Becomes a Mother by Dee Dee Raap


Take time to appreciate your mom this upcoming holiday season. My friend, Dee Dee Raap, is also the author of Dear Mom–Remembering, Celebrating, Healing. I read her book after my mom died, and Dee Dee reminded me to celebrate and remember. I pass the same message to you. (http://www.DeeDeeRaap.com)

Every life comes into this world via a mother.  It is one of the things that we all truly have in common.

But when does a woman become a mother?  Is it that literal moment of birth?  Is it when she conceives?  Is it the moment she tries to comfort what was described as a bundle of joy that is now screaming at the top of her lungs?

Becoming a mother is an event, a transformational process, and a journey that never ends.

When a woman becomes a mother she understands how animals in the wild can kill those who attack their young.  She understands what exhaustion means and learns how to minimize her own to care for the baby who can’t stop crying, trusting that weary bones will rise again the moment a small cry alerts her to the suffering she must ease.

When a woman becomes a mother, she is a mother for life.  The love and concern for a child grows like rings on a tree, each year adding more depth and more love to a relationship that grows as the child becomes an adult.    And when a woman holds her child’s child for the first time, her life is changed forever, again, by the sheer, raw delight at the miracle called life.

When a woman loses her mother, when that miracle called a mom ends, a connection to life itself seems severed.

Saying goodbye to the one who gave you life is one of life’s most difficult journeys, for the path is not clearly defined and the road is traveled unwillingly.  We find ourselves fighting through layers of grief and loss that appear like roadblocks that must be overcome to survive that loss.  Loss of the one who made your favorite food.  Loss of the one you could call because she was a safe place to brag.  Loss of the one who could always tell you how to change a recipe when you were missing an ingredient and you were out of time.

The biggest roadblock may well be facing the holiday season without mom.  While the rest of the world happily sings and decorates, you face the loss of never again being able to walk into your mother’s house and smell her Thanksgiving dinner.  You can no longer bake your favorite cookies with her, and you cannot prepare for Christmas by calling her and asking her for ideas for gifts for someone in the family.

When we lose our moms, we begin another journey:  the journey of remembering, celebrating and healing.  It’s a process of stripping away all the unnecessary debris, all the junk that accumulated in emotional drawers we no longer need to open and replacing that junk with forgiveness for imperfections, understanding that when a woman becomes a mother, she is still a human being, not yet a saint.

And in the process of remembering, you discover the gifts of her life, the core of the life that gave you life–her values, taught to you with her words and her hands, when she was exhausted from her journey of being your mom.

The values of our imperfect mothers strengthen our lives.  But perhaps the greatest irony of all is this:  the pain of losing your mom makes you take a very deep, long look at her life, and in that pain, you find her gifts of values, perhaps for the first time, but certainly, in a way that transforms your journey again.

What are the values of your mother’s life?   Have you found them in her words?  In her actions?  In unique places like  pink flamingos?  Do you share my list:  optimism, kindness, creativity and a sense of humor?  Do you remember the lessons on sharing, compassion and faith, as well as hope and love?

Women become mothers who create life and leave behind simple wisdom and a legacy of values.  Those values make our journey really great. You can never replace a mom.  You can, though, keep her with you forever by finding the gifts of her journey–her life as your mom.  And when you do, maybe you’ll understand exactly when you became a mother as well.

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