I have known Maria* for a while now and recently I had the pleasure of meeting her little bundle joy. Maria became a mother a few months back and I thought that since Mother’s Day is coming up I would speak to her about her experience as a new mother.
One of the first things Maria told me was I want to raise my son how my grandma raised me (without allowing him to drink orange juice instead of water). We got chatting and Maria started telling me about how she was raised by her grandma.
Till the age of three Maria lived with her mother and grandma in her grandparent’s home. Her mother then moved out leaving her with her grandparents and uncle. She spent the next twenty years of her life living there.
Maria had a very difficult life recalling times when she saw her uncle overdose in front of her and the physical abuse she witnessed. She says that because of her uncle’s habit police visits, ambulances, syringes and the such became a norm in her childhood. Despite this she says her grandma instilled great discipline in her and that she would not be were she is today without her grandma.
Maria tells me how her grandma used to tell her that no one was good enough for her. Once Maria showed her grandma a picture of David Beckham pretending it was a boy she liked and her grandma told her “I know him – this boy is not for you he is not from a good family” not realising he was a famous person.
Her grandma suffered from cancer at three different stages in her life. One of the times Maria recalls that whilst her grandma was in hospital getting treatment she had to go live with her mother. Maria could not eat and would cry to go back to her grandma saying “my nanna (grandma) is my everything, my world, my universe”.
The only reason she regrets being raised by her grandma is because of her age. In fact Maria’s grandma died two years ago and she says it was the worst thing that ever happened to her and that she would do anything to have her back. She says “Nanna taught me everything but not how to live without her”.
Maria ends with telling me how ‘mother’ is just a term for someone that brings you into this world but a real mother is someone who raised you and loved you throughout your life.
So let us celebrate this Mother’s Day with every woman who has raised a child that may or may not be biologically her child. To all the grandmas, aunts, adoptive mothers this is your day too… Happy Mother’s Day!
*Name has been changed to protect identity.