How to Handle Grief and Find Strength as a Mom Grieving Your Mother

Mom grieving in front of windo

Hey there, amazing mom. If you're reading this, chances are you've experienced the pain of losing your mother, and I want you to know, you're not alone. Losing a mom feels like having a piece of your heart torn away, and the emotions that come with it can be overwhelming. Whether your loss was recent or years ago, the grief for mom can rear its head in unexpected moments. let’s navigate this challenging path together.

Losing a Mom: The Initial Shock and Grief

canle in hands

First off, it's okay to feel a multitude of emotions. Anger, sorrow, guilt—anything and everything you're feeling is valid. Especially as a mom yourself, you might be grappling with how to uphold the strength you think you need to have for your kids. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

When losing your mom, that first wave of grief can feel insurmountable. And if you're caring for little ones, the balancing act becomes even more precarious. It’s tough but try to give yourself permission to grieve while also being the mom you are.  

Grief for Mom: A Rollercoaster of Emotions

When you lose your mother, the grief doesn’t follow a neat timeline or set of rules. You might have days when you think you're okay, only to have something—like your child's milestone or a simple scent—trigger an avalanche of emotions. And then you find yourself asking, “How do I do life without mom?”

And it's worth noting that about 1 in 10 individuals experience a prolonged form of grief known as Complicated Grief, according to a study published in "World Psychiatry" (Shear, 2015). This form of grief can impact your ability to function day-to-day, and as a mom, that's an additional layer to navigate. 

This is when it’s crucial to lean on your support system. Whether it’s your partner, friends, or an online community of mamas like you, talking it out helps. Also, don't shy away from professional help. Chatting with a therapist or counselor sometimes provides the impartial yet empathetic ear you need.

Losing Your Mom: The Void and the What-Ifs

Old photographs

One of the hardest parts of losing your mother is dealing with the "what-ifs" and the void her absence leaves. You'll find yourself wishing you could ask her parenting advice, on life decisions, or just share your day with her. 

In these moments, it’s okay to imagine what a conversation with her would be like.  In fact, I like to write her letters telling her all about what is going on in our lives. It’s a way to keep her spirit alive in your life and maybe, just maybe, pass on bits of her wisdom to your children. 

Taking the Next Steps:  Finding your grief healing path

Mom and son reading on a park bench in autumn

As you journey through the ups and downs of grief, it's essential to remember that healing is an ongoing process. It's a unique path that looks different for everyone, but the key is to take steps—no matter how small—toward self-discovery and peace. Here are some practical approaches to help you find your own way to navigate and heal from the emotional rollercoaster of losing your mom.

Express Your Grief  

  • Suppressing grief can lead to unintentional emotional outbursts and negatively impact your relationships and well-being. 
  • There are no wrong ways to express your emotions; just find what works for you.

Share Your Stories  

  • Memories aren't static; they're influenced by your life experiences and mood. Sharing your stories helps you reframe those memories, making them easier to bear over time. 
  • You can share verbally or through writing—like letters, journals, or memoirs—to gradually feel more comfortable with them.

Be Creative & Use Your Body

  • Music, art, and bodily movements like dance or Tai Chi are powerful tools to evoke and release emotional responses. 
  • Creating your own songs or listening to instrumental music can stimulate mental imagery, helping you heal. Moving your body aids in emotional release too. 

mom painting face of grief

Speak to Yourself & Write It Down  

  • Talking out loud to yourself can stimulate multiple parts of the brain and help release pent-up emotions, making you less prone to emotional 'explosions.'
  • Writing taps into different centers of your brain, helping to process and release emotions more effectively. You can also use journal prompts or write letters to yourself or others to help manage grief.

These approaches can act as a roadmap to navigate your grief, giving you multiple outlets to explore and heal. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all strategy; just pick what resonates with you and go from there.

Life Without Mom: Creating Your Own Path

Mom and child footprints on beach

Although figuring out how to be a mom when you don’t have a mom to learn from can feel daunting at times, whether you realize it or not, you are finding your way daily. Every hug you give, every scraped knee you bandage, and every bedtime story you read is a testament to your strength and love.

Yes, the pain of losing your mother may never fully go away, but your resilience shines through every day. It's in the way you love your children, and it's in the way you take on the world.

You got this, mama. For every hurdle you face, remember, that you're not alone. While the journey of grief for Mom is a winding one, it's a path you don’t have to walk alone. Lean on your community, ask for help when you need it, and never forget how amazing you are.

You're creating a legacy of love for your children, and in that way, you honor the memory of your own mom, every single day.

Your Next Steps: Nourishing Support Just For You

Mom and son embracing

So, what's next? How about we keep this self-discovery and healing journey going? I've got some handpicked resources that you'll love:

  1. Moms Without a Mom Quiz

   Quick, interactive, and eye-opening. Get personalized insights into your unique mothering style. Oh, and it's free!

  1. Nurturing Inner Strength: A Self-Discovery Journal for Moms Without a Mom

   Ever tried journaling? This is a special journal created just for you. It’s like having a cozy little corner where you can pour out your thoughts. 📔

Mom journaling in bed

  1. Forever Pampered Mom's Course

   This mini-course is jam-packed with tools and strategies to help you feel nurtured and empowered. Sometimes, mama, you need to put yourself first to be there for others.

Special Mention: Echoes of Maternal Wisdom Audio Membership

Need a go-to place for comfort, advice, and reassurance, just like you would from a mom? The audio membership brings you maternal wisdom, right in your ears, anytime you need it. It’s like a warm hug for your soul.

Ready to dive in? Choose what resonates with you and let's keep making strides on this journey together.

Dr. Reilly 600x600


- Shear, M. Katherine. "Complicated grief." World Psychiatry 14.1 (2015): 9-20.


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