This month marks the anniversary not only of my miscarriage, but also of my mother's death.
It is seventeen years today since my mother died. She had just turned forty-four. I was nineteen.
In the first few weeks and months after her death, I thought that I would somehow sense her presence, or hear her voice. It took me a long time to accept the finality of death, that my mother had gone and was never coming back. Even now, I still dream about her. In those dreams, she hasn't come back to pass on some significant piece of advice or family lore, instead she is just simply there - sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup or tea, or else stirring something on the stove. I wake up and, just for a split second, I am able to believe that she never really went away. But then the fact of her dying registers with renewed violence, and suddenly I am reduced not even to a young woman struggling to find her way in the adult world without a mother's guidance, but to a little girl who wants her mummy.
As many feminist psychologists and psychoanalysts have suggested, the experience of motherhood inevitably stirs up a woman's memories and fantasies surrounding her own mother. In becoming a mother herself, a woman identifies--whether consciously or unconsciously--with her mother. She tends to use her childhood experiences as a blueprint for her own mothering. For the motherless woman, motherhood thus holds out a particular promise: it enables her to re-enter the mother-child relationship, and hence to reconnect with her own mother.
Infertility has robbed me of that chance. Instead, as I mourn both the mother I once had, and the child I might have had, I feel that my links with what Jungian analyst Naomi Lowinsky calls the "motherline" have been irrevocably severed. I feel lost. Cast adrift. And it is at moments such as this that it seems that all I am ever going to feel is grief, loss and emptiness.