Much of what we know about being a mom - good and bad - comes from what we learned in our own families. SO what is it like to be a mom when — either by circumstance or by choice — you don’t have a mother of your own to lean on?
Many of us struggle to find that missing source of knowledge, support, and day-to-day help that other women find in their own mothers. We work to fill both the void in our own lives and our children’s need for a grandmother. Here I've gathered experiences and advice from other "motherless moms" on finding the support you need to be a great mom.
Getting Through Pregnancy
Being pregnant with your first child means countless questions and concerns that require a mom's knowledge. This can be an especially painful time for soon-to-be moms who don't have their mother around for advice. Sabrina C. grew up with a mother who was addicted to drugs and involved in crime, so she longed for motherly love during her difficult pregnancy: "I felt like I needed a mother to turn to, to tell me what I was going through was normal, to comfort me." She assures other motherless moms that it's possible to rise above that kind of childhood loss.
Having positive people in your life to help you during pregnancy is important, but it doesn't have to be your mom. There are many places to turn to right in your community. Louise G. recommends signing up for parenting classes, where you will learn some valuable skills and can meet other women in your area due to give birth around the same time as you.
While it's nice to have a woman's point of view for advice, don't forget about your husband or partner. Sometimes a good relationship is all you need to get through the ups and downs of being pregnant. Heather K. found a new appreciation for her husband when she became pregnant: "We talk more about our future and have become closer in other ways, more cuddling and really intimate conversations we did not have as much before."
Women who don't know much about their mother or her health history face another challenge. In addition to the emotional journey of pregnancy, moms like Sherry P. have many unanswered questions. "When I got pregnant, I knew nothing about her medical history or her pregnancy, labor or delivery. I was born in 1971 and fathers apparently weren't allowed in delivery rooms, so my dad doesn't know anything," she says.
The March of Dimes recommends learning as much as you can about your family's medical history, before or during pregnancy, to help your doctor prepare for your labor and delivery. The March of Dimes provides a free family health questionnaire that can be sent to relatives to help you gather information about everything from fun family traits like hair color and height, to illnesses and birth defects that can be hereditary. The March Of Dimes website also has great advice for finding information about the medical history of your mother if she is deceased.
Some moms find comfort as they share their personal pain and struggles with other women in the Circle of Moms communities. While it certainly helps, it's no substitute for having friends to lean on in your local community who are a part of your daily life. As Victoria C. says, "talking with people that are going through the same things you are is sure to open you up because you can relate to them." This is especially true for moms who are missing their own mothers. Finding friends who can relate to those emotions can make a big difference.
If you're looking for mom friends, Jessica W. suggests visiting your local library's story time, as well as browsing national websites for local mom groups such as MOMS Club. Play dates and organized activities for babies and kids offer a great way to meet other moms, too.
(For more ideas on finding new friends, check out 5 Ways to Make Friends When You're A Mom.)
"Sub-Mom" is a term used by a member named Stacey when she talks about the love and support she found from her friend's mom. She confides that it's been hard for her to trust or have relationships with other women, so finding a mother figure she can look up to in a friend's mom is better than nothing.
Is it really possible to replace your mother? Maybe not, but you might be surprised how much it helps to have a more experienced mom in your life. Cindy S. lost her mother when she was only 13 years old, and shares how hard it was growing up without any women to look up to. She has since found that missing bond with her mother-in-law: "I am so close to my mother-in-law. I love her so much and I'm so thankful I was able to get a mother-in-law that I get along with."
Tiffany V. puts the idea of finding a mom replacement into great perspective when she acknowledges that you're going to feel lost and alone at times, but sometimes all you have to do is look and you will find help all around you: "What I found was that there are other people who were willing to be mom for me, and support me in raising my son. Let other people help you, and be willing to let them in."
If you don't have a friend's mom or mother-in-law that you can turn to, moms also recommend looking to your church, or in your neighborhood for women who can provide support.
Your Inner Strength
Advice and friendships are great, but the most important thing that will guide you through being a mom is your own inner strength and love for your child. Bethany G. assures moms that it's possible to break the cycle of bad parenting and use your past to be a better mom: "I no longer feel that surge of self-judgement or fear that I will 'be like her' because at this point, I have proven myself again and again as a mother, and I have developed an unconditional love for myself and my son – something she was never brave enough to do."
Kenda C. also draws strength from what she learned from her own mother, which was what not to do: "I am stronger because of this. I hold my kids a little tighter because of this. I tell them I love them more often. I keep the promises I make to them. I remind them how special they are to me just for being who they are. I know that there is nothing in this world that could ever make me walk away from them. I know that I've learned enough lessons to know what not to do and that only makes me a better mom."
For moms who worry about their child growing up without grandma, Pam L. has some great insight. She grew up with a loving mother of her own who was abandoned by both her mother and mother-in-law. Pam knows it hurt her mother deeply that neither grandmother wanted to have a relationship with her or her children, but she says: "I never felt the pain of them not caring because my mom loved me so much. So know in your heart that as long as you love your children you will not pass that heritage along and they will remember a loving mom – you."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.