Daughters Without Mothers: How It Can Affect You When You Become a New Mom
I will never forget the moment when my husband placed our newborn son on my chest moments after giving birth and thinking to myself, "My mom is dead, and I have no idea how to be a mom." It was this surreal moment filled with a mix of joy and awe as well as this overwhelming fear and grief. I was a mom without a mom and I had no idea that daughters without mothers experienced unique challenges that are rarely talked about.
Becoming a new mom is an incredible journey filled with joy, excitement, and challenges. It's a time when you reflect on your own upbringing, seeking guidance and support from those who have experienced motherhood before you. However, for daughters without mothers, this journey can be bittersweet and evoke a unique set of emotions. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of not having a mother when becoming a new mom, and how it can shape your experience of motherhood.
Guidance as a new mom
One of the most profound effects of not having a mother when you become a new mom is the absence of maternal guidance. Mothers often play a significant role in shaping their daughters' understanding of motherhood, offering advice, sharing experiences, and providing emotional support. If you don't have your mother in your life, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and insecure.
We aren't born knowing how to be a good mom. When I was pregnant, I had a friend walk me around a baby supply store and explain what things would be helpful and what things were not necessary. It can feel overwhelming, but in my experience, most women are more than happy to share their knowledge with you. I was embarrassed that I didn't know simple things like how quickly newborns went through diapers or that holding a cloth over my son when changing him kept me from getting wet. But no one ever thought less of me for asking questions or for my lack of knowledge.
You will get lots of advice and suggestions, but ultimately you have to decide what works best for you, your baby, and your family. Remember, you are not obligated to follow someone's advice or suggestions simply because you asked for it or they offered it to you. There isn't a right or wrong way to do things when it comes to being a good mom and it takes time before we figure out what feels right to us.
The emotional journey of becoming a new mom is intricate, and for daughters without mothers, it can be even more complex. As a clinical psychologist for over 23 years and a coach who works specifically with moms without a mom, I have found that for many women giving birth often triggers memories and feelings associated with the loss or absence of their own mother. Mixed emotions of joy, grief, and longing may intertwine, making it important for new moms to acknowledge and process these emotions in a healthy manner.
It doesn't matter how long ago your mother died, as daughters without mothers, it is normal to re-experience grief as we become mothers ourselves. It is important to express these feelings to people who are able to compassionately listen to your grief. This may be friends, family, or professionals such as therapists, coaches, or members of your faith community. You can also express your grief through journaling, art, music, dance, or writing.
We all need mom support. In the absence of a mother, daughters may find themselves seeking alternative sources of support when becoming new moms. This could include turning to other family members, and close friends, or even seeking professional guidance through therapists or support groups. Building a network of individuals who can provide emotional support, practical advice, and reassurance can help fill the void left by the absence of a mother's presence. You can find more information about the four sanity-saving friends I believe all moms without a mom should have in her community HERE.
Create your own Motherhood story
Without a mother's guidance, daughters have the opportunity to shape their own unique motherhood narrative. While it may feel challenging at first, this process allows new moms to define their own approach to parenting and create a strong bond with their child based on their own values and experiences. Embracing this journey of self-discovery and nurturing their own maternal instincts can be empowering and transformative.
As a new mom, you aren't expected to have everything figured out yet. Often, we learn as we go and this process takes a lot of trial and error. There were many things that I thought my mother did right, and many I thought I could improve on. Despite the fact that I wished my mother could be with me when I became a mom, there were times when I noticed that it was a bit easier for me to unapologetically try new things. This was something that many other mothers I've worked with expressed as one of the few positive aspects of not having their mother in their life. That they felt freer to be themselves without feeling guilty or fearing being criticized by their mother.
New and Old Family Traditions
Traditions and rituals often connect generations and foster a sense of continuity in families. Daughters without mothers may miss sharing familial traditions, but they can use this as an opportunity to continue the old ones in new ways or create completely new ones. Developing meaningful rituals, such as reading a favorite childhood story to your child or starting a new tradition that celebrates your own unique family dynamics, can help establish a sense of belonging and connection for both you as a new mom as well as your child.
Traditions are a great way to feel a connection between your past and present and are a great way to share family stories. Be patient with yourself. It may take time for you to decide which traditions you want to keep and which ones you are ready to say goodbye to. Again, there is no right or wrong with this.
Help for Daughters Without Mothers
Becoming a new mom is undoubtedly a significant life event, and for daughters without mothers, the journey can be tinged with a range of emotions. However, it's important to remember that every individual's experience is unique, and while the absence of a mother may present challenges, it also provides an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and the establishment of new family traditions. By seeking support, embracing your own instincts, and creating your own narratives, as daughters without mothers we can navigate the joys and complexities of motherhood with strength, resilience, and love.
Uncover How Being a Daughter Without a Mom is Affecting You
Being a mom when you don't have a mom to turn to can be difficult. Take this free quiz to learn more about how it's affecting your motherhood journey and what you can do to reclaim your joy.
Care For Yourself While You Care For Your Baby
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