I’m becoming the mother I needed my mom to be

Mothering while motherless leaves you equal parts lost and equal parts found.

I’m becoming the mother I needed my mom to be

I logged onto Facebook the other day and saw a dear friend post: "of course I always knew my mama loved me, but I never knew how much until I had my baby!"

These sentiments are commonly shared between first-time mamas. You hear it time and time again.

Women have their first child and realize the sacrifice, the grace, and the love that their mothers have for them, and the new mother's gratitude overflows, and the irreplaceable bond between a mother and her daughter becomes even deeper, stronger, and more intimate.

The new set of eyes given through motherhood allows her to see her mother in clear view, and she is in awe of the woman who raised her...


But what if she's not?

What if her new eyes remind her of her experience of pain, rejection, neglect, abuse? What if her overwhelming love for her new child reveals the lack of love she experienced from her own mother?

Am I the only new mom who experienced this reverse effect? Am I the only woman who drew closer to her due date with fear and panic about how becoming a mother would bring up hurt and pain and loss?

I can't be.

I know I'm not.

But sometimes, it feels like it.

After almost a year of counseling, prayer, intimate conversation with my sisterhood, unimaginable vulnerability with my husband, tears, wine, mothering my own wounds, remembering trauma, facing fear, claiming truth instead of lies, setting boundaries, protecting boundaries, and most importantly being gentle with myself, I have learned that navigating new motherhood while motherless is hard, and that it hurts to have a mother but not be able to trust her.

I described it to a friend that mothering while motherless leaves you feeling like you have been walking on a broken leg all day, only to look down and realize, not only is your leg broken, but you have also been punched in the stomach.

Mothering while motherless leaves you equal parts lost and equal parts found.

I am lost. Inside, I am a little girl. Unkempt. Shaken. Snotty-nosed and teary eyed, in an oversized t-shirt, clutching my hands as my only comfort, asking, "Where is my mother? I need her. Will she ever come for me?

I am found.

Outside, I have a little girl. Secure. Attached. Bright eyed and dancing smile, in an oversized t-shirt, lifting her hands to me for comfort. Babbling, "My mother! She is here! She always comes for me." When I reach for her, when I respond to her needs, when I give her security,

I am not only the mother my child needs, but I am also mothering the child in me.

For all the motherless, consider "mother." Not just the one you had, but the one you need. Not just the one you are, but the one you desire to be. Confront what is lost, and embrace what is found.

For all the motherless, this is us, becoming mother.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

Keep reading Show less

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play