Sarah shares her journey as a mum without a mum. How it’s made her stronger but also what she’s missed out on and what she’s doing to support other women like her.
I lost my mum at five years old to cancer. Being a little girl without a mummy was hard to bear at times. I remember friends’ mums trying to mother me with all the right intentions but I just wanted mine.
I have felt many feelings in the 15 years since then including anger, regret and jealousy.
My dad was a fantastic single dad for many years until he retired. It became clear that he was going to struggle to cope in the house his wife, our mother, had died in. He became an alcoholic and we lived with that for four or five years until it killed him when I was 17.
I had been terrified of him actually dying for years but the first feeling was actually relief. I was relieved that I wasn’t going to be looking after an alcoholic anymore. Then came guilt, guilty for feeling the relief.
I have felt many feelings in the 15 years since then including anger, regret and jealousy. I was angry with him for choosing the drink over us. I constantly asked myself if I could have done more.
There have been positive aspects of losing both parents as a child – if that’s possible. It’s made me incredibly self-sufficient. I don’t rely on anyone now. I know I can look after myself.
I am determined that as far as I can control, my children will not have the same childhood as I did. I don’t take anything for granted and I try to make the most of each day.
When I became pregnant, I found my parents’ absence increasingly difficult. Lots of people talked of having their mums as birth partners.
The mother’s mother seemed to play such a pivotal role and it was one we were painfully missing.
Midwives asked about my family’s health history and my mum’s pregnancies. New NCT friends all had parents.
Once I finally gave birth I felt like the only new mother doing it without the support of my own parents. I felt jealous of the people around me whose mums popped in and out helping, supporting, taking some of the pressure off.
The mother’s mother seemed to play such a pivotal role and it was one we were painfully missing. More recently, with my return to work, it has been abundantly clear we are very isolated as a family with no family to support with childcare. All things I never really considered and all things that make me miss my parents even more.
Now, my aim is to support other people in my position or similar via my Instagram @more.than.a.motherless.mum
We all need a support network and it’s even better when people have been through similar experiences.
People that haven’t experienced it just don’t understand and neither should we expect them too.
Let the people you love know you love them.
If you’re widowed, have lost a parent, are parenting alone or feel on your own for any other reason during the pandemic, you may find our article on combatting loneliness useful.