For motherless daughters, the motherhood journey can be complicated.


Melissa Reilly, Psy.D.

Moms Without A Mom


I love being a mom and for me becoming a mother is the greatest gift!


Hi, I'm Dr. Melissa Reilly

Mom Without a Mom, Coach, and Clinical Psychologist


I am a 'mom without a mom' (of two boys), a clinical psychologist, and Mom Coach who is passionate about helping moms separated from their mother -- by physical distance, estrangement, or death -- move from feeling alone and without "mom support", to a place of resilience and self-confidence, even on those days they long for a loving mom right beside them.


Through my personal and professional experience, I have come to recognize that moms without a mom experience grief as part of their motherhood experience, even if they don’t realize it. The relationship moms have had (or didn’t have) with their mothers impacts how they see themselves but doesn’t define them. I believe it isn’t knowledge and skills that create resilience, but rather it is born through overcoming hardship, having a community, and living by one’s values.


I am honored to walk with new moms as well as moms who have been moms for years on their journey to becoming the mom they always wanted to be. 

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My experience as a mom without a mom.

When my son was born I was surprised by how much I longed for the support and guidance of a mother. I felt so alone and isolated, and if truth be told, I also felt a lot of shame too. I was not experiencing the joys of being a mom the way I thought I would.


I didn’t understand why despite all of the knowledge and experience I had (as a psychologist and confident professional woman) I could not seem to handle being a mom. 

  • I was constantly overwhelmed.
  • I felt insecure about everything I did.
  • Before he was born I thought I knew who I would be as a mom, but once he was born I had no clue.
  • I longed for a mother I no longer had.
  • I felt sad that my son didn’t have a maternal grandmother in his life.
  • I worried I wouldn’t be a good enough mother.

I didn’t realize that these thoughts and feelings are a common part of being a mom without a mom.

  • When I didn’t know how to do something, I didn’t have a mom to show me.
  • There wasn’t anyone to lighten the burden when I was overwhelmed.
  • I couldn’t ask her what things where like for her when I was a baby.
  • She wasn’t around to calm my fears or to be a shoulder for me to cry on.
  • Each time I got excited about something he did, I wished I had a mom who would be just as excited as I was.

It took many years for me to realize that these experiences were a normal part of being a mom without a mom. I was not alone in this experience. Virtually all moms who are separated from their own mother by death, emotional estrangement or physical distance experience these things.