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How to be a Mum when you've lost your Mum - Pass me that handbook

Black and white - no one will ever prepare you for motherhood, nor will you ever be prepared for losing the woman that brings you into this world. I know I don't speak for all, but I speak for many I'm sure. This week (as we do every year) I get to celebrate and remember the incredible woman who brought me and my 3 siblings into the world. We have her birthday and the anniversary of her death within the space of a few days - ouch. I can't speak for my family, we all deal with it in very different ways, but I am so proud of every single one of them. The cards dealt have been brutal at times, especially all those years ago, but my family (although like any) we've had our rocky times, more than anything, they are my rocks and I try my true best to be that for them too. Losing your Mum, as I am sure you will agree if you have experienced it, well it shapes you. All of a sudden you wake up one day and you are no longer the person you were before this experience. You are no longer anything you thought you might have been for a long time. This part is scary, but its okay. You are evolving, you are feeling, you are doing the very best you can with what you have. For as long as I can remember, even as a little girl, I longed to be a Mummy. I couldn't wait. When I fell pregnant within the year after losing my Mum, I wasn't really aware what was coming. I definitely wasn't ready, I was in a whirlwind of grief and impulsivity, I was desperately trying to fill a void. Looking back, I knew becoming a Mummy was my way of hoping I could keep that closeness, that bond and love like I had with my own. I didn't expect me to give me so much more than that. I didn't expect it to move me in ways that I wasn't even ready for. But it did. It made me face up to truths, harsh ones. It took some time and looking back I sure as shit didn't get things right first time or even all the time, but I did the best I could with what I had and what I knew how to do. I watch so many people around me who have their Mum's. As they walk down the street, push their prams and get to watch Nana cradle them with all the love that my Mum will never get to give and do for my own. It's a little self torture I am not going to lie, but I look back and I absolutely commend myself for teaching myself and paving my own way into motherhood, and for the people around me who have supported me (you know who you are) but more than anything, for having the trust in myself to just do the best I can. So many times I sat and cried, not knowing what to do, or where to turn when I was in the depths of my postnatal depression. I knew losing my Mum 12 months before would have been a huge trigger for my PND experience, but also the lack of insight and emotional tools also had a huge part to play. I was so young and naïve and I was just doing whatever I could to get by. I knew that I wanted to be the lending hand that could help other mummies through this, I wanted to be there number one support, hold their hands and move through the motions by helping them the way I wish someone did me. I guess that is where you can say my whole drive for the mindful mummy has stemmed from - being that support and crutch for parents because I know what its like when you don't have that. It's tough. Now I am expecting my third baby, my outlook is hugely different and I look at my Mum's ways and my ways of motherhood and they are nowhere near the same. There is nothing wrong with that either - it moves with time, it moves with different ways of society and independent experience for sure. Our stories were completely different - I did it all without my Mum, and I remember my Gran being so involved with us as kids, I do definitely miss this part of it all and wish my Mum could be running round after her grandkids too. So what I really want to say this week is this.... For Mum's without Mum's. Remember to be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can and that is more than enough. Your Mum left you with her little ways as I am sure you know, these are her little signs she is with you. We have the most beautiful opportunity to carry on their legacies throughout our children, I feel incredibly blessed to have that job. One of my biggest shines through this experience is knowing the way she loved me, because of the way I love my children. I understand this from her now. The truth is that motherhood is your own journey, and you experience will influence that for sure and some days, it makes it a little harder than others. I tell myself, I got dealt these cards, because the universe knew I had the grit and fire in me to manage whatever came my way. Ain't that the truth. Rhay x The truth is, there is no handbook. There are ways in which we can work through these experiences and I found the healthy and unhealthy, I found what worked for me and what didn't. You can write your own. All that matters is you look after you and move through what you need from the process and the parts that influence you as Mama, you can choose that too. For anyone who may be struggling with grief through Motherhood, please reach out for support - You can find it here with Cruse Bereavement Helpline

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