The longer I'm a mother, the more I find myself leaning on the words and examples of my own mother. Long-forgotten memories emerge as I watch my kids do and say things I did and said as a child. The sense of continuity is so powerful at times I can't always distinguish where my experience ends and my memory begins.
I'm lucky to have had (and still have) a mother I love and admire; her presence in my life enriches my own parenting. And yet, so many must go on to raise their children without their own mothers alongside them. Where does one begin? How does one cope?
To begin to answer this question for herself and others, Karen Rani (Troll Baby) has started Motherless. The site is a forum for bloggers to write about the losses of their mothers, whether from death, abuse, mental illness, or other causes. She has been amazed by the tremendous response — the stories have been pouring in.
Coincidentally. I recently attended a literary salon at which Hope Edelman was discussing her newest book, Motherless Mothers: How Mother Loss Shapes the Parents We Become. She previously wrote about mother loss before she was a parent herself (Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss), but becoming a mother opened up entirely new territory. So many women in attendance had their own stories to share — I was taken aback by the emotion and courage in that room.
Edelman's book is geared toward women, but Karen hopes the Motherless site will be a place where both women and men can participate. If you have a story you'd like to share (anonymously or with attribution), send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.