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Motherless Motherhood

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Motherhood is tough. The transition into it for the first time is really hard to describe. It is the one thing that has happened to me that has really changed me at my core. The realizations Ive had… Thoughts of “I had no idea I could love this much”… “No one told me it was going to be this hard”… “How did my mom do this?”

If you know my story you know that my mom passed away when my first born was 6 months old. We only found out she had cancer the same week I found out I was pregnant. There was SO much going on at that time for me that I really didn’t have time to process any of it. I was literally surviving (sort of) each day and trying to soak up every last moment I could with my mom.

Today would have been my moms 66th birthday. It’s only been just over 2 years since she passed away. It seems like forever and seems like yesterday. I can’t say that its getting any easier but perhaps that I’m learning to cope and live without her I suppose. In fact going through motherhood without her is pretty awful. I have so many questions that I never got to ask. So many times have I wanted to call her because she would know exactly what to say. So many times I’ve sat crying in my rocking chair, nursing my babe knowing that she’d been through it, whatever it was in that moment that was getting me. She’d been through it. She would know how to comfort me and reassure me that I was doing a great job. Sometimes I even catch myself saying out loud… “really mom?” and I can imagine her saying, “yes, really dear”. I have pictures and videos that were on my phone when my first was born. I have our text messages from the night I was going into labor. I’m so glad and thankful to have these memories but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Everyone says that “it takes a village”. I couldn’t agree more, but sometimes I feel like I don’t need any kind of village, I just need her. If I could change this for myself, my girls and our family I would in a heart beat. I’m just fumbling through motherhood the best I know how. What we experience as moms is on SUCH a different level. I’m not talking about pregnancy, birth and all the things that come with that. I’m talking about the heaviness. That insane love that’s paired with the insane worry. Trying to keep a part of ourselves alive, that feels like it dies a little when we become a mom. Thinking about and worrying how our relationships and friendships are changing. Caring about what to feed our babies and when. Who will take care of them when we are working. Thinking about their futures, them having their hearts broken, one day living without us… it’s all really, really heavy. And of course the best thing that’s ever happened to me all wrapped into one.

Sometimes your village doesn’t get it. Or maybe not “it”, maybe just where you are. Parenting is so personal. Everyone’s journey is so different. But my mom … she would get it. I bet she cried in her rocking chair. I bet she didn’t know how best to handle the mom guilt, frustration, exhaustion that comes with toddlerhood. I bet she stayed up worrying about me. I bet her heart broke when my heart was broken… she would get it.

I wish I had some better tips about navigating motherhood without your mom but I really don’t. I just want you to know that if you are, I know how you feel. And I bet you are doing the best job.

I wish I could say thank you one more time… because motherhood is so hard and she made it look easy.


Dr. Gillian


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