mother's day

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I want to share my story again. This is the content that feels the most important to me. Because for some of us, this day is a reminder that we’re missing out on one of the most important relationships a person can have. This applies to anyone who doesn’t have a mom or mother figure to celebrate today. Whether you lost your mother or are a mother without a child in your arms. If you’re feeling a sense of loss or grief, you are not alone. This is for those of you who don’t know what the unconditional love of a mother looks like. As photos and messages of love and gratitude fill your social media feed, and when it feels like everyone has something that you don’t, let my story be a reminder that you are not alone. 


Loss and Hope on Mother’s Day


Missing out on a relationship that it seems most people have can be very isolating, and there’s nothing like Mother’s Day to remind you of what you don’t have. It’s one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through and am still going through – I suppose that will never change. Through therapy, getting older, and becoming a mom, I’ve experienced a lot of joy and healing, but the grief is still present. Becoming a mom brought a love unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Along with that love also came a deeper sadness because I cannot wrap my mind around trying to hurt my children. 

Part of the way I work through things is to try to make sense of them. I want to “fix” things and understand the how and why. (And yes, I’ve been working on this in therapy). There’s no making sense of this. If anything, that piece has only gotten worse with motherhood because I cannot and will not ever understand how things are the way they are. And I suppose I’ll never not wish I had a close relationship with my mom. That longing leaves me thinking about those of you who have experienced any sort of loss as a mother or child. 

It often feels that most people have good relationships with their parents, so I want to share a different experience. I hope that those of you with a similar story will feel less alone after reading this.

I eventually learned that I was grieving a relationship I never really had with a person who, for me, did not exist in the first place. 

It is not often the case that stories like mine are told, so with Mother’s Day coming up, it feels important to share the fact that I was raised by a narcissistic parent. We had a complicated relationship but after I moved from LA to Chicago, I found myself needing more and more space from her in order to take care of myself. And as I took that space, she would lash out, causing me to need more space. Things got really messy and I truly felt that I had no choice but to stop seeing her. I never cut all ties, but kept her out of my life for the most part. 

I was never enough. I’d let her in and she would hurt me over and over again. My anxiety and ending up in an abusive relationship for almost a decade makes a lot more sense now. When I became a mom, I had no choice but to step back to protect myself and my children. I was so afraid of feeling that anxiety and brokenness. I did not know how I’d do that and show up the way I wanted to. But I eventually realized learned that I was grieving a relationship I never really had with a person who, for me, did not exist in the first place.

When I launched my old website that I poured my heart and soul into for months and months, I got a text that said “cool” and we didn’t speak for months. Those were the hurtful things I was used to, but as I took more space, she became more unhinged. Before I got married, she told me that statistically, we’d get divorced and that I’d end up alone. She lied and told me my great aunt was on hospice when she wasn’t. And it was an especially unhinged voicemail that hurt, but had me feeling more of a sense of “wow, she’s really hurting, and this isn’t ok” to step back. We haven’t spoken since that voicemail almost two years ago. 


Mother's Day Gift Ideas

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Find someone who will love and support you and celebrate you. And if you really want to heal, find a way to do that for others, too. 


I always had my Great Aunt Rose to support me through everything. We would talk for hours and hours. She celebrated every victory. We talked through the things that didn’t work out the way a mother or grandmother would. Losing her took away that constant love that I could always count on. 

Growing up, my own mother told me that I wouldn’t amount to anything. This was because I wasn’t living up to my potential in school, but I still cannot imagine saying that to my children. Now that I’m a mom, I realize how horrible and manipulative the verbal abuse was. How twisted some things were. I have received more support from readers (who have never met me) surrounding my career, marriage, and now baby than I have from my own mother. We can support one another, hold on to friends who love us the way. mother would, and I get to give my kids the kind of love I never felt. 


Big life events are hard without a mom. Little life events are hard without a mom. Mother’s Day is hard without a mom.


My wedding, becoming a mom, and going through cancer treatment, are so hard without a mom. The little day-to-day things are hard without a mom. There are those moments where you just want to feel supported, loved, and cared for. Where you crave the advice of someone older who has more experience. Or when you just need that person who loves you the way a mother should. Those life events magnified what was missing more than anything. That’s when your own mom should show up. It’s something I’ve felt recently with a new baby. It is so hard and so lonely. 


The trauma and loss that I have faced has made me a more empathetic friend, partner, and mother.


Let’s talk about the silver linings. Or the good that has come from the pain. My story has helped others feel less alone. The trauma and loss that I have faced has made me a more empathetic friend, partner, and mother.

There are days I’m fine and others when I feel the sense of loss more profoundly. But I am happier than I’ve been in a long time. I know I won’t have to try to not be cruel to my children. I know how important it is to repair – to apologize when I fall short.  Even after years of therapy, I am still coming to terms with the fact that my mom and I will not have the relationship I hoped for. Yes, I get to be that mom for my children, but how I wish I had been on the receiving end, too. I know that there’s that part of me hoping things will change, even though I know it’s not going to happen. 

I know how lucky I am that I get to be a mom to my 3 beautiful children. But my love for them is reminder of what I wish I had with my own mom. Yes, I have experienced healing, but I am not healed. I am not sure you can fully heal from this kind of trauma. But there is healing. 


Starting a Family Later in Life

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If you lost your mother, are grieving a relationship you wish you had with your own mom, aren’t yet a mother yourself, or are grieving the loss of a child, know that you are not alone today. Sending you love this Mother’s Day.