Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Truth About Motherless Daughters

If my mother was alive today, she would be celebrating her 95th birthday.

But she isn't celebrating.  She never made it to age 50. She never made it past 1965, for that matter.

My mother was born in the wrong era.  She had a major health problem, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which had no treatment back then.  On top of that, she was a heavy smoker.  That helped kill her, I am convinced.

When Mom died (suddenly), weeks short of my 13th birthday, I was adrift.  It was like a bomb went off in my life. And there was little support for me.

Like so many others of that era, I "sucked it up" and went on with my life.

Years later, I read an amazing book called Motherless Daughters  by Hope Edelman, recommended by a wise woman who worked in the same building that I did.  I could swear she was in my life, this Hope Edelman, taking notes.  It seems that motherless daughters have a lot in common.  For the first time, I understood why I seemed to be almost obsessive about certain things.  I also learned why I felt I didn't have a complete template for mothering within me.

It took me a long time to realize that a part of me was stuck at age 12.  I thought I had grown up but, when I became a Mom, I discovered part of me was still stuck at age 12.  I'd like to think that has changed, but it was a sometimes painful process. But now, possibly thanks in part to that same Hope Edelman, teen girls today do not have to suffer the way I did.  There are support groups for girls and women like me.

So, what is the truth about motherless daughters?  The truth is, all my female readers will be motherless daughters one day. Perhaps you already are.  Perhaps your Mom was there when you grew up, but not really there.  Each of us has had her own experience.

What else is true about motherless daughters? Well, we rock.  We're strong. And we make pretty good (I hope) bloggers.

Happy 95th birthday in Heaven, Mom.  If your Mom has been there for you, be there for her today if she is still on this Earth.  Contact her today and tell her that you love her.


  1. I so understand your pain, my mum died 2 years ago at age 80. I've just turned 50 but I still feel as if she wasn't there for most of my life; not emotionally anyway. There were also too many things left unsaid which I have to come to terms with. we definitely rock and I believe my experience has made me independent and strong.

    1. Thank you for your understanding. I think your experience is all too common. I wonder a lot what my relationship with my Mom would have been if she had lived into my adulthood, because I still see it through the eyes of a 12 year old.

  2. Wishing your mother a happy birthday. Thank you for sharing this post and a bit of such a challenging journey.

    1. Thank you. It used to be hard for me to talk about my Mom but it does get easier as I age.

  3. I became a motherless daughter at 16. This September will be 18 years. My aunt (also a motherless daughter at the time) gave me the follow up book to Motherless Daughters - Letters from Motherless Daughters. While I am still sometimes struggling to heal, that book absolutely helped me through a very rough time when I felt so completely and utterly alone.

    Happy Birthday to your mom <3

  4. You do make a pretty good blogger! Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Nice post--I grew up without a father, he died when I was 17 and it had a huge impact--I still feel it at times, even at age 58. As for us? We are strong, resilient and tougher than those who have yet to suffer loss.
    Thanks for sharing this story, you speak for many of us.

  6. Such a thought provoking post! My Gramps lost his Mum (my Great Grandma) when he was only three and my heart really goes out to him.

  7. I'm blessed to still have my mother in my life.

    You are a very strong woman to have gone through losing your mother at 12 and still becoming a fully functioning adult and a mother yourself. Not all women, or even men, has managed such a feat on losing a parent.


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