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I wish my mom was here to see me be a mother

I yearned to hear what her pregnancy was like and what labor might be like for me as her own daughter.

I wish my mom was here to see me be a mother

I lost my mother 22 years ago. Never did I imagine that I would become a mother without her in my life. My mother had battled stage three cancer while I was a teenager and won. By some miracle, she survived the disease after undergoing months of aggressive chemotherapy, radiation and a series of risky surgeries that affected her heart health. Not only did she beat the odds and survive, but she was also in remission for almost five years.

It was said that after five years of remission it's almost a 100% guarantee the cancer won't return. We were just about to celebrate, and I was finally feeling safe enough to try and get closer to her again.

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Then a few months later, a cool wind blew through our small town in New Jersey, the grandmother clock in the hallway stopped, and so did my mother's heart. I felt paralyzed. My world was shattered into millions of pieces, and it felt like I had no choice but to get down on my knees and try to put it back together.

My world was turned upside down. While I believed that over time the pain of losing her would get easier, I continued to wonder how I would ever become a mother without her guidance? My mother was gone and so was a huge part of my past as a result.

I couldn't remember anything she did for me as a child, and I struggled to hold on to the sound of her voice. How would I ever become a good mother without her stories of how she raised me? A woman needs a mother to learn how to become a mother after all, doesn't she?

I tried to convince myself that I would be satisfied without children, but as soon as I met my husband it was very clear that we would bring life into this world together.

In no time, we fell in love, got married and I was pregnant with our first daughter. I was simultaneously feeling euphoric and despondent. I longed for my mom.

All I wanted to hear was her voice telling me that I was going to be a wonderful mother. I yearned to hear what her pregnancy was like and what labor might be like for me as her own daughter. I wanted to know if I was a good sleeper, how I should approach breastfeeding and an endless list of baby questions that were swirling around in my mind.

My other greatest fear was "What if I died young too, and left my children without a mother?" I was lonely and terrified. I felt embarrassed at the amount of questions I wanted to ask friends, but I didn't know where else to turn. I was desperate.

But after a sleepless night of trying to find answers online, I dug deeply into my broken heart, held my daughter against my skin and made her a promise. I promised her that I was going to do everything possible to be the best mother and role model I could ever be. I was going to allow myself to feel sad over losing my mother, but I would no longer let that frighten me out of my own abilities to be a wonderful parent.

I started sharing my story openly with other women around me. I didn't want to hide my struggle any longer, but instead, I wanted to rewrite my own story as a woman who survived and prevailed. I wanted to connect with other parents who had also lost their parents young.

Most importantly for me at the time was finding a therapist who specialized in postpartum depression and in new mothers who were also coping with grief. Our weekly conversations helped me to release so many fears and so much self-doubt.

I learned that I was not alone. I was surviving again—I was a motherless daughter who was now a mother with a new perspective on raising a child in this world. I had hope again, and most of all I was able to recognize that I had everything I needed to take this role on. I had just been lacking support.

If I could reach out to anyone who has had this same experience, I would hold them by the hands and assure them they are not alone either. There are many of us who have been through this type of loss.

Some of us lost our parents before having our children, others have lost parents soon after having children and inevitably others will lose their parents as time goes on and their children grow. No one experience is easier than the other, and I learned that being transparent about your struggle is the key to finding relief and getting support.

There will be a void. No one is going to replace your mother or father, but remember that you came from them. You have their skills and gifts inside of you, and even when you are in pain, you have what it takes to become a wonderful parent.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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