Being a Mummy Without a Mummy


I lost my Mummy when I was 11. She was taken from us in the blink of an eye. She just didn’t wake up one morning and my 9 year old brother and I had lost a beautiful, vibrant loving Mother when she was just 39 years old.

Being without your mother at any age is heart-breaking, but as a child, it is terrifying.  She had always provided us with unconditional love, warmth and reassurance and we always thought she would be there. No-one saw it coming, least of all my Father, who has done an amazing job of raising my brother and I. We became very close as a three, but not before a lot of adjustment, tantrums, rebellion and getting to know how to be without my Mum.

As an 11 year old girl who was just blossoming and moving into a whole new era with my Mum, I just couldn’t believe that she was never coming back. She was thrilled that I was enjoying acting school so much, that I had new friends at secondary school and that I was still reading books like they were going out of fashion. She has a close and somewhat rocky relationship with her Mother and was determined to take the best from their relationship and build a similar bond with me. I had started my period earlier that month, and she made a huge fuss of how exciting it was, having been told nothing about it as a child and being terrified herself when it happened. I didn’t think it was possible to cry that much; wondering if I would ever feel better in any way shape or form. Grief is a terrible, prickly thing which softens slightly over time, but leaves scars behind.

She has been gone now for 22 years and of course I still miss her, but the relationship we had for the first 11 years of my life is a memory that is a little more blurry than it used to be. My childhood was idyllic in my mind – I wonder sometimes if I have sugar coated it over the years, but my brother has the same memories. We lived in the countryside, we were adored, encouraged and loved; We were happy children.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was thrilled. We had decided to start a family and I had accepted everything that goes with it. What I hadn’t prepared for was wanting to ask my Mum about being pregnant, being in labour, being a mother. I had to settle for the diary that I found in her belongings which documented her first pregnancy and the first 6 months of my life – a treasured possession indeed.

When I was born, she was clearly very much in love with her husband and her little girl but like any new Mum; she was worried about doing the right thing, making sure I was getting enough of everything and coping with the life adjustment. The diary shows the differences between our personalities as well as the similarities. We both were so proud to be out and about with our new babies – although hers was in August and mine in December. We both breastfed and struggled a bit at the beginning and we both wrote our feelings down. She seemed able to relax a bit more about being a Mum and had a support network which included her mother and mother in law and she managed to get time to herself sooner than I did. I marvelled at the meals she was preparing for herself, my father and assorted guests, when I could barely manage to remember to eat, let alone cook. It does seem like I was a more sleepy baby than Baby A has been for me and I of course was weaned at around 3.5 months, progressing quickly to chicken dinners and liver and onions!

Being a Mummy without a Mummy…. is hard. I want her to cuddle my little boy, to tell me how I am doing, to listen to me vent and to give me a hug when I need one. I am going to be the best Mummy I can be to Baby A but I do wish my Mummy was here to share it with me.


Me and My Mum in Marseille in 1981


28 responses »

  1. Utterly heart-breaking. Like you say, losing a parent is tough at any age, but it must be earth shattering and terrifying when you’re going through all these changes at 11 and your Mum is not there to help you and cheer you on. How wonderful to have her diary though. Makes me want to rush upstairs and add more helpful detail to my own diary, in case I don’t live to see my grandchildren – but then I suppose my blog would be more like a diary.


    • One of the reasons I blog here and write in my diary is so that Baby A will have things to read when I am gone – which will hopefully be a long time from now.

      • Absolutely. It is wonderful to have this intimate yet interactive online diary to leave behind. One day, in the far future.

  2. This made me cry. I know exactly how you feel, i lost my mum when i was 13, she was only 40. Its hard not having a mum, somedays i feel sad, others i feel angry. I’d give anything to have her here with me, she has missed so much. Very sweet that you have the diary she wrote. Bigs hugs to you =]

    • The hardest feeling for me is when I realise I haven’t thought about her for a while and then it cripples me to try and remember everything and wonder what things would be like between us now. Thanks for commenting.

  3. This is such a heartbreaking post. My mum has been my rock during early motherhood, especially since D has moved to Dubai. I can’t imagine how it would be not to have her there. How amazing that you have her diary xx

    • I don’t know any different, but I had so many anxieties at the start that I think would have been alleviated by having her with me…. I miss her and know she would have loved Baby A

  4. What a beautiful raw honest post. As an 11 year old that must have been world shattering. I was lucky to see my Mum be a Grannie to my big girl but I hate that she never met my Elma or my nephew. I missed being able to phone her to ask about balancing two children when Elma was brand new, or just winge about the trials and tribulations of potty training, and I wish she could see Kitty now she’s so much more chatty. How wonderful to have your Mum’s diaries, a little of her voice even if the conversation is one sided.

  5. I still remember your beautiful Mum looking after me when I was very little.. She was lovely and did a fab job bringing you up to be a great person! Its very hard to be a Mum without having that person to turn to for support! xx

  6. You are a beautiful writer.

    If I ever have a daughter I would hope she would be as intelligent, creative and beautiful (inside & out) as you are!

    Your mum must be so proud as she watches the down on the people you and your brother have become, and at how beautiful Baby A is too!

    Your blog is a testament to how you have picked up her writing skills! She lives on through you guys and now her grandson!

    ❤ xx

  7. Such a touching post, you write beautifully.
    I was fortunate to have my Mum for my first baby, she passed away unexpectedly last November when my daughter was 15 months old. I miss her everyday and am finding it hard being pregnant again without her around. I’d give anything to be able to show her my scan photos or moan about my bad back!
    Big hugs and thanks so much for sharing x Char

    • Just commenting is enough of a reach out. To be honest it hit me like a ton of bricks and I have no idea what I am doing half the time as a Mum. I always feel like she would’ve helped me so much and when the other grandparents don’t spend as much time with Chiplet I sort of get sad about how much I would have had to kick my mum out of the house… she would have made the most wonderful Grandmother and I know she wanted a huge family around her. Thank you so much for reading xx

  8. I lost my Mom last April. I was 28 & she was 59. She was diagnosed with cancer when my twins were 3 weeks old. I was so lucky she got to spend 5 years being granny to my 5 year old and got to meet my girls who she was so desperately excited about.

    In my better moments I realise how lucky I was to have shared so many milestones in my life. But then it’s replaced with how bittersweet it is that my now 6 year old no longer has that wonderful connection with her and my girls will never remember her and know how much she loved them. When I was pregnant she always used to say how she couldn’t wait to see them walking in together – and when they go to visit my Dad and they walk in my heart breaks again as I hear her saying it and she never got to see it
    Sorry I’m rambling abd making it all about me.

    I remember a girl in my sisters year at school – her mum died when she was 12. At the time as a child yourself you don’t really realise the impact of it all abd now having experienced it I feel so dreadfully guilty that I didn’t do more to help her. I hope as an 11 year old you had support and love. I’m still new to this grieving malarkey but your story really puts things in perspective and whilst we both should have our mothers here with us to help parent our babies – I am lucky to have shared these moments. Your story has made me feel so sad. No child should lose their Parent that young. But the 11 years have obviously had an amazing impact on you as you’re such a wonderful mom to your own xxxx

    • Hi Beth – thank you so much for sharing your experience. I always say that I losing a parent must be devestating at any age and to know that you are losing someone can’t make it any easier than it being a shock. The repercussions on my and my brother were huge and I would never take for granted the time that we had with my Mum, it was so precious. I missed out on so many things that I know we both took for granted we would have together. It got me thinking about it today when I blogged about my make up being in a rut… I mean we never did the girly teenage stuff together and she was so excited when I started to get interested in boys and even when I got my first period, because she was so determined to have the relationship with me that she didn’t have with her own Mum. She adored her mum, but never got that close bond that she wanted to have with me. I think being a Mum (or Dad) you want to take the best bits that your parents had in their relationship with you and to build on that… and that’s what I want to do with Chiplet xx

  9. What heartbreakingly beautiful words. I can imagine how hard they were to write.

    I lost my mum in 2007. It was long before I met my husband and before the birth of my daughter. Her passing was hard but it didn’t feel nearly as raw then as it does now that I am a mum myself. The grief has lessened but it still sometimes catches me unawares. It’s the silly incidentals, like trying to remember the recipe for my favourite childhood snack so I can make it for Bubs. I long to be able to pick up the phone and ask her all about it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story with us.

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