Guest Post: Motherless Motherhood

I’m so excited to have my first guest blogger. I hope after you are finished reading her post here, you’ll go check out her site. Here is a little of what she had to say about herself:
My name is Ellie, I’m a mum of two (Big E, 3 years and Little E, 9 months) from Yorkshire and I’m a raging insomniac! I’m currently in the last few days of my maternity leave and dreading my return to work. I’m addicted to blogging and can often be found online late at night writing blog posts to fill the waking hours when sleep fails me. I blog at
Motherless Motherhood
After losing my mother to leukemia when I was just five years old, I always found daring to make plans to become a mother myself difficult.

While all the girls at school were imagining how many children they’d have and what their names would be, I never felt safe enough to imagine those things would happen to me. My mother’s death had instilled in me, at a very early age, the harsh reality that the world isn’t always the stuff of wonder and beautiful imagination.

After having no choice but to grow up fast, I was fiercely independent. To the extent where I’d push anyone too close away, for fear of losing them. Cutting my losses often seemed like the sensible option. I was completely afraid of getting hurt. Totally illogical, but at the time necessary for my self-preservation. Thankfully I had a few very good friends and a good man who stuck by me, even through my most valiant attempts at self-destruction.

When you lose someone so close, so young, it’s hard not to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about death and grieving for losses yet to come. It was also a huge decision for me to eventually have children.

When I fell pregnant with my son in 2006 I was over the moon! After two previous miscarriages, and having recently lost my mother in law too, we were thrilled to finally have something to look forward to. I felt ready to plan a future and was excited to finally be on my journey into motherhood. I bought books, searched the internet for information, attended NCT Antenatal classes and gleaned as much information from virtual strangers as I could.

But, as much as these wonderful people and things helped me get through and understand my pregnancy, I felt completely alone and at daunted at the prospect of heading into motherhood, motherless.

I had no-one to ring in the night when my head was spinning with questions only a mother can answer. As the weeks passed by I found myself grieving for my mother once more and filled with total trepidation at the prospect of becoming a motherless mother.

I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn’t have any natural mothering instincts, that I wouldn’t be able to give a mothers’ love to my children because I’d not experienced if for so long. I simply didn’t know or understand how to be a mother. I just hoped and prayed that somehow it would all fit into place.

One rainy early winter day in November 2006 I finally realized I could do this! When they handed my son to me, in the theatre after a fairly traumatic forceps birth, I felt that rush of unconditional love that so many mothers speak of, and I felt incredibly lucky and relieved. That rush of love filled my heart, a rush that I know my mother felt for me.

Finally, I understood. Only I can teach me how to be a mother to my children.

There are still days when I struggle with being a motherless mother and feel stranded and a little lost at sea. But, I now realize that my Mum wouldn’t want me to waste the time I have with my children worrying whether or not I’m doing it right or well enough, she’d want me to enjoy every second I have with them. And, in spite of the odd wobble and crisis of confidence here and there, I’m doing my level best.

So, while life may not always be the stuff of wonder and beautiful imagination, sometimes, if we let go of our fears and trust our own instincts it can be just that.


8 thoughts on “Guest Post: Motherless Motherhood”

  1. My heart goes out to you. Please be assured that you will do a fantastic job as a Mum using your own intuition and instincts. I am sure your Mum would be very proud.I had my second child geographically as far away from my mother as it is possible to get on the same planet. We knew hardly a soul and it was a difficult pregnancy and birth. I was so relieved that we went back home to my Mum when bubs was 3 months old. I had missed her terribly and phone calls were extortionately expensive so communication was difficult. My mother travelled with us when I had my third child and stayed for a year! After 18 months without her she visited us for a month this Christmas and it was agonsiing to have her leave agan. It is not so much the advise and her listening to me moan and vent my frustrations, it is the extra pair of hands to help out. She was glad to get back to the solitude of life without 3 grandkids though! We miss each other terribly but we know that we are where we need to be and are (mostly) happy. Good on you for articulating what it is like to lose your Mum and not have that maternal support. It will help loads of other Mums in that position who cry silent tears thinking nobody understands.Be strong.


  2. Aw great post! I wonder why we dont trust our instincts more? we seem to be told from every direction what we should and shouldnt do… how to bfed/wean/get child to sleep/schools/toys everything.. motherhood feels very prescriptive at times. We all have faults and we all make mistakes but we are trying to do our very best for our kidsxx


  3. Such a heartfelt post, that reminds me that I have a tendency to take my own mother for granted much of the time. I think the feelings of loneliness and feeling daunted are emotions felt by most first-time mothers, I know I definitely experienced them. I’m sure you are a wonderful mum to Big E and Little E and can hopefully feel closer to the mother you lost, through your love for them. x


  4. Funny how instinct can take over. My mum lives a long way from me so I have had to manage being a parent without her nearby, but we do speak on the phone all the time so I always have that support. You sound like you are doing a brilliant job of bringing up your two children: your mum would be proud.


  5. What a lovely post: sad, but ultimately uplifting. I’m so glad you’re working to conquer your fears, and I know that your littlies are very lucky to have such a lovely mummy to be *their* role model. xx


  6. Ellie, it must have been awful to be left motherless at such a young age. But I’m sure your mum is looking down on you as you mother your two with such love! D 🙂


  7. I like to be able to bring people together when I see a common thread. Do you read Breeder Brain or Woman Seeking Mother? Both blogs are by motherless mothers. The latter speaks of it in almost every post. Just in case you are interested. Hugs. XX


  8. I lost my mom when my first was just seven months old. I can’t imagine losing her at five. Being a motherless mother is hard. I too wish I could have someone to call in the middle of the night to ask mom questions too or just to share in the joys of motherhood.


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