HERstories- Me as a Mother by LaTonya Santa

No one ever said motherhood would be easy. At least not any of the mothers I knew growing up. That may be because, none of these women I knew, talked about much of anything as far as love was concerned. You were told to go to school, get good grades, not to take candy from strangers, and don’t come home until the streetlights turned on.

Then again, it appears, looking back, that motherhood may have been easy. Providing nurturing, caring, and protection was not exactly required, seeing that we were practically in charge of raising ourselves. 

The only hugs and I love yous I ever received were from my grandfather, but because he earned a living as a long-distance truck driver, it only allowed me to see him a few times a week. Unfortunately, this lack of communication and absence of affection provided by my
primary caregivers, carried over to when it was time for me to become a mother to my daughter. Although I swore to protect her from any tangible forces within my power, that exists within our universe--because of my mother’s inability to protect me--though I would give my life for her, I failed to offer her the one thing she truly needed, me.

I am not sure if it was because she grew so tall that it felt awkward to hug a child that was not a pint-sized version of me, or if it was because there was no me to give. I suppose that it did not help that with her stature, she spoke her mind freely—something I had allowed her to do,
worried that without a voice, she would be too scared to speak up if someone were to try and harm her. Unfortunately, with this voice came rebellion and defiance.

Although I grew up with the women in my life unable or unconcerned with showing me love, because of my grandfather, and because of the way I saw different mothers interacting with their daughters around me, I began to understand that on some level, it was necessary, that in some way, I should give my daughter the love I was deprived of growing up. But there was, and still is, this wall within me that all those feelings and emotions are hidden  behind. At least I think they are there. But the awkwardness of wrapping my arms around this now grown woman when we see each other, for some reason, frightens me.

Who do you turn to, to have these conversations with and ask for suggestions on how to show love that you have never experienced? Certainly not the women who raised me. And if I were to learn to show affection, is it too late to change the pattern?

And now, because the best man I have ever known no longer occupies this Earth, and is not here to show me that I am worthy of giving and receiving love, I suppose I need to figure out on my own how to look inside and find what I am looking for. And maybe if I dig deep enough, I will tap into a well that is hidden inside, causing a spring to burst forth, I sing emotions I never realized existed. 

Written by LaTonya Santa

1 comment

T. Annette

Great post. As a mother, I understand your desire to be the best mother possible for your children. I think most of us are winging it, trying to use some of what we learned and other times we have to ask around or do research, lol. Wishing you the best. Thanks for sharing!

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