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"The unique pain of becoming a parent, when you've lost your own."

This week, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle became parents for the first time.

Prince Harry was only 12 when he lost his mother, Princess Diana, to a traffic collision.

Sarah Henson knows the feeling of becoming a parent when you’ve lost your own, and she writes about it here. 

My son is here. My mum is not.

I won’t go into the backstory other than to say – I was 22, mum was 54, skin cancer came quickly and her body left this earth. I know she comes to visit sometimes. I randomly see, feel and talk to her in my dreams and I wake up with the complete belief she hasn’t left us. That’s exactly how it feels in that split-second moment. And, then, as quickly and cruelly as 10 years ago, she’s gone and I can’t feel her anymore. I’m extremely tough, but losing her hit me for six and still does.

The very obvious and completely normal time for it to really take effect was when my partner and I found out we were having a baby.

We’ve been together 10 years. We got together a few months after mum died. She said we’d end up together. That’s another story for a different day.

We’ve travelled, bought property, homed pets.

To say we have journeyed well together is an understatement. So, last year we decided ‘let’s have a baby’. I have endometriosis among other things, and have had a painful (insert numerous expletives here) history with it. We thought it might be difficult. Turns out I was extremely lucky. Four months off the pill and, BAM, I was pregnant.

loss of mother
"To say we have journeyed well together is an understatement." Image supplied.

We were beyond excited. And then I cried. Not a little, pretty cry. The ugly cry that leaves you heaving, your face saturated, and with snot everywhere. I remembered she was gone and I wouldn't have my mum here for the happiest and scariest moment of my life. I couldn't pick up the phone and excitedly tell her there was a spawn on the horizon.

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My partner is exactly that, a partner. He puts in the hard yards at home and at work. He has no expectations on what I should do or contribute. I'm the same with him. We work well because we like and respect each other.

He was there as a friend when mum got sick and passed, and he's been there ever since. He is strong.

He was strong throughout the pregnancy, birth, and after our little rockstar came home. I will never be able to thank him enough for just being there.

I have amazing family and friends, but it doesn't detract from the very real and very harsh fact that I miss my mum every day. Every goddamn day. I know how much she would love our son. I know how much she would have constantly called and been on our doorstep. I know how much I could have relied on her for help and advice when needed. It is true, there is no one else like your mother.

loss of mother
"I know how much she would love our son." Image supplied.

The things I have missed (and still miss) the most about not having her here when pregnant and after the mini person arrived are...

    1. Her laugh. Those who knew her knew so much of this. There was no sound like it. If only I could bottle it.
    2. Her love. She loved us more than words. Thankfully, she had the privilege of meeting my first niece and being there for her until she was four. They adored each other. She would have loved my cub just as fiercely.
    3. Her cooking. The countless times I craved her cooking when pregnant. Hormones do wonderful things! There is absolutely no meal that comes close to her food.
    4. Her humour. When everything turned to sh*t she could find something bright in the darkness. She was quirky. The woman was the opposite of dull. Her intellect and wit knew no bounds.
    5. Her loyalty. She loved our family. Since she's been gone it hasn't been the same. She was the glue. You didn't dare try and break that.
    6. Her look. The one that says, 'I know what you're thinking/feeling/have done/are about to do' without me opening my mouth. This got me in a bit of trouble on more than one occasion. But, sometimes you just want someone to get it without words. She did. She used to call out of the blue and ask what was wrong exactly when it was needed. She just knew.
    7. Her support. It was endless, unwavering, and without wanting anything in return.
    8. Her face. I just miss it.

I cry when I think of her and the fact she's missing out on our little human, and that he misses out on having her as a nanny. God she rocked being a nanny. It hurts my heart and takes my breath away every time I think about it.

If I can be half as strong, intelligent, and kind as that woman then I'll be killing it. Her grandson will always know exactly where his and my strength comes from.

Suzanne, you did us all proud and we love and miss you beyond words. Feel free to visit unannounced whenever you like. Apologies if we're naked. You should've called first!

Tags: features , grief , grief-and-loss , parenting-2
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