Being a Mum Without a Mum

being a mum without a mum

Becoming a Mum was the one thing in life that I was always certain about. Having been brought up surrounded by strong females I was always confident of the fact that this was for me and that I would have the best support any girl could wish for…

Unfortunately, fate would have other ideas. Having battled with Cancer for 15 years it finally took its hold over my Mum’s body and there was nothing more that could be done. I had watched this strong, confident woman fight battle after battle and I never once believed that the Cancer would ever win… you never think these things will happen to you do you? Yet here I was at the age of 20 being sat down by my family and told that the one person who had the biggest influence in my life would be leaving me pretty soon. My world came crashing down.

As a single Mum, she had provided so much for myself and my sister and we were a team. She could have crumbled at so many times but she didn’t. She continued to be an amazing female role model and I owe her so much for that because I don’t believe that I would be where I am today if I hadn’t had her to look up to growing up.



I will never forget sitting on the sofa with her one day and having her burst into tears on me. She was devasted that she was going to leave us and the main thing that was playing on her mind was the fact that she would never see us get married and have children. That conversation will never leave my thoughts.

On 7th November 2003 she passed away. I was 21 and my sister was 17.


Fast forward almost 14 years and here I am sat on my own sofa, in my own home, with my husband next to me and my little boy up in bed, with baby number 2 due in January. What happened in between has been an uphill struggle at times, has seen me build up all I have from nothing and achieve the best I could after such a loss. There are probably enough stories there to fill a book but all you need to know for now is that I made it and I am not ashamed to say that I am proud of that.

There have been hard times but I think having a baby brings the grief around all over again. Where so many women turn to their Mothers for help and advice at this time in their lives I didn’t have mine to do this with. I couldn’t find out if I had been like Jake as a baby, I couldn’t gain her insight and I had no random visits to give me a helping hand. That void is there and will be again with the new baby.

She has already missed out on meeting my husband, of watching us get married and now she has been robbed of becoming a Nanny, something which I know she would have been amazing at and would have brought her pure joy.

I see others who have their Mums with them to go on shopping sprees, to prepare for the new arrival or go to the scans with and I miss her even more. On those lonely days, I am very lucky to have my sister and she has been my rock. But no one can replace your Mum, no one can recollect what you were like as a child the way your Mum can and there is no bond the same.

During those early tough days with a newborn, I would have loved to have been able to just pick up the phone to have a moan. Even now at 34, there are times when all I want is the advice or friendly ear of my Mum especially when I’m having a self-doubt moment or a hormonal pregnant week like I am experiencing a lot of this week– hence this post and my mind wandering to her and my yearning to talk to her one more time. They say grief gets easier but I’m not sure it does.

I know there are times when you probably think your Mum is interfering or trying to take over but I would give anything to have my Mum here annoying me, so please remember that the next time you are having a moan about yours… I wish that was the problem in my life. You don’t know how lucky you are until that person is gone.

It’s not only myself and my Mum missing out on this experience together, it is Jake too. He knows that she is no longer here and he says she lives up in the stars but it breaks my heart that he will never get to meet the woman who made me who I am, the woman who showed me that you don’t need a man to survive and the woman who fought for her life to spend more time with her precious children. I will never let her memory die and as long as I can remember stories and funny occasions I will tell them to him so he can learn what a wonderful person she was.

finding out the sex of the baby

It’s a funny time in my life because it is the happiest now I have children (well plural soon!) but it is also the saddest because my Mum isn’t here to share in it all with me. Cancer has taken this privilege away from all of us and I will never stop missing her, which is a very painful emotion to feel on a daily basis but I will not let Cancer win again. I will carry on living my life, giving my son and future son the same love-filled family home I was fortunate enough to have and showing them why my Mum was the most inspirational person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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19 thoughts on “Being a Mum Without a Mum

  1. I know exactly how you feel and it is grim. The only advice that ever helped me was that she would want you to be supremely happy and that has kept me going for the past 26 years without her. I hope my kids know her through me. I talk about her all the time. But I feel so sad that they didn’t have the benefit of her amazing love like I did. And my only ambition in life is to live long enough to be a granny. I wish you and your family all the very best. God bless

  2. Congratulations on all you have achieved. I lost my mum, a bit later than you, when i was 27 and she was 54. I know for absolute sure that she would have loved being a grandmother and would have been so beneficial to my 2 boys so it’s a double loss, for her , and for me as my husband and I have done and continue to do all the child rearing alone. The only thing I can do is make sure her memory and values are honoured in the way I bring up my kids, and I mention Grandma Gina regularly. I want them to have an idea of the person she was. I have also found it useful at various stages to ask myself how she would have responded to a particular situation and use that as guidance. That saisd when the feeling of loss and not deserving to have the things she didn’t have in her life became too burdensome, I had 2 years of counselling . For me the challenge has been honouring and loving my mum while allowing myself to be me and to succeed in areas where she didn’t, without feeling horribly guilty.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I’m sorry you had to go through it too. Counselling was great for me this year and even though I only did 6 weeks it helped me to understand that it is ok to miss her and to be sad. We all try so hard to be tough all the time but holding back the emotions can make it all worse. Having children helps in so many ways but makes it hurt too doesn’t it? All the best to you xx

  3. What a beautifully written post, your Mum sounds as if she was an exceptional inspiration. My Mum died when I was 27 and my Sister was 31, cancer took her too, she was 58. I am very grateful that she got to see us both get married but she missed out on Grandchildren. My oldest boy was born on her birthday which ws hard. You sound as if you are doing amazingly and as if your Mum lives on in you. x

    1. Oh I am so sorry for your loss also. Yes, my Mum was my inspiration. To watch her battle on for 15 years but rarely show how much the cancer got to her was just extraordinary. My son was born on Christmas day and some people say he is her Christmas present to me which is a lovely way to think of it. Maybe it is the same for you with yours coming on your Mum’s Birthday? I love looking at things in a different light. xx

  4. Thanks for your good wishes Emma. Maybe one positive we can take out of this sad situation is never taking any bit of happiness for granted, and making the best of things. Seize the day. But I haven’t always been this positive. Your post honours your mother.

  5. So sorry for ure loss Emma. I just lost my Mum in July to cancer aged 66. I have a 3 year old boy and a 10 month old girl. She loved them beyond words & was so sad to leave them. I am however grateful she got to meet them, as I realise ure Mum never experienced that joy. I miss her so much. Being a Mum without a Mum – I never heard that phrase until now & it’s quite painful to comprehend. I’m sure ure Mum is watching down & is very proud of u.
    Wishing u love & luck for the future with ure boys. Xxx

  6. I am so sorry that you let at such a special person from your life. You were blessed to have such a loving strong role model. I can’t understand how hard that must have been for
    You. Thank you for sharing your story with us at #ablogginggoodtime ?

  7. Hi Emma,

    Thank you for this post, I actually have yet to have children but what you have experienced plays on my mind a great deal. I lost both my parents by the time I was 21 (I’m 29 now), Mum when I was 15 and Dad when I was 21, both through cancer (what a s**t it is!). I was much closer with my Dad and can understand completely how you feel when I think of him, I’m looking forward to having children but knowing he won’t be there to experience it and help me makes me so sad.

    I have often thought about what you have just written about and although I’m not there yet it brings me some comfort, and I hope you too, knowing that I’m not alone in this experience.

    1. Oh I am so sorry, that must have been awful for you. I was 21 too so we lost them at the same age. I am very lucky to have a lovely supportive husband who has listened to me from day one. I knew he was the one when he cried when I told him the story! Being a Mum is wonderful and I was very lucky to have had my Nan still around- my Mum’s Mum- when he was born. We lost her last year so that definitely brought things back to me again. The thing is if I spent my life saying what if I would be wasting my life. To be honest if she hadn’t had died I probably wouldn’t have met my husband because I would have gone down a different path in my life and my son wouldn’t be here now, so I do believe some things happen for a reason. You are definitely not alone and that is why I wanted to write this, we always talk about the survivors of Cancer but not so much about those left behind. I wish you all the best for your future xx

  8. Oh gosh, this just made me cry! I am so grateful to have my mum still, and even though we are not super close, I know she is always there when and if I need her. I lost my nan last year to cancer after she battled it for 5 years, and although it is completely different to losing your mum, we were very close and I am so sad that I never got to share the news of our second baby with her. I’m glad you have your sister though, and that must bring you some comfort. Lovely post, sending you hugs xx

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, I lost my Nan last year from old age and it still doesn’t seem real. I know not everyone can have a close relationship with their Mum but I would urge them to hold onto every moment they possibly can. Sorry I made you cry hunni xx

  9. Emma, I look at those photos and remember those days. Your mum was an incredible lady. But you are also an incredible lady. You have shown great strength and courage and that will benefit Jake and the new baby. And just as you have felt love and support from yoursister and your husband, you have been that to them too.

  10. Hi Emma, thank you for writing this. I am embarking on motherhood without my mother as well. I lost her when I was 14. It has definitely been an uphill battle to get where I am however, I am glad there are other motherless daughters out there in the world that share in the same grief and who ultimately understand. It is a challenge when the people around you just don’t get it, for no fault of their own. I hope you can find your mother in your sweet babies and I wish you the best of luck. xo

    1. Awww Thank you for writing, I am so sorry for your loss too. It is tough and each day I think wow she would love these boys but we have to be strong don’t we? All the best to you too xx

  11. I lost my mum around 12 years ago and it always struck home on Mother’s Day. The one thing that made Mother’s Day bearable was becoming a mother myself. I empathise with everything you’ve written and I think the important thing to remember is that although our mothers aren’t there in person, they made us the kind of parents that we are.

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