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Being 'mummy' when you didn't have a mum growing up

(8 Posts)
Dairyleah Mon 10-Jan-11 14:56:28

I've posted in chat but someone suggested I post here. I hope thats ok.

Since I've had my DD (1 year old) I've been very aware that I am being a mummy though I have no role model to base this on as I was brought up by my father with my two brothers. Does anyone else feel like this?

Now that I'm a mum I feel the loss of my own mum even more even though it was nearly 25 years ago. I can see everything I missed out on and it hurts. Its like I didn't used to understand fully what I had missed out on if that makes any sense.

Is anyone else in the same situation? Friends call their mum for advice with their DCs, make comments like 'my mum always used to...' when they are discussing their parenting styles/techniques etc. I feel like I am missing this mummy-history, will I know how to be a good mummy even though I never had one?

I should say that my dad was amazing, but it was hard, especially being the only girl. I'm worried I won't know how to be a mummy to a daughter

RuthChan Mon 10-Jan-11 18:23:46

I am so sorry that you lost your mum so young and I am really sorry that you feel like this.

I too lost my mum, but I was a teenager, so it was slightly different from your situation.
However, I can understand how you feel to some extent because I too feel strongly about the important times and events in my life that my mum missed and I too feel that I would love to ask her advice or receive her support.

On the other hand, I do NOT believe that it will make you any less of a mother yourself. You were brought up by a strong and loving family. You can model yourself on their good points and techniques. It doesn't matter that they were not female. Good parents can be of either gender.
Also, you must have had other female role models in your life, teachers, aunts, grandmothers, friends etc etc. You can imagine what they would say or do in certain situations to help you.

More than basing our parenting ideas on our own parents, we follow our own instincts. You instincts are as good as anyone else's and they will stand you in good stead.
Please be confident in your own ability as a mother. You can do it as well as anyone.

jellyrolly Mon 10-Jan-11 18:44:45

I'm sorry too for your loss. They say your children will heal you when you have lost a parent young but I think part of that healing is to visit the pain too.

I wasn't young when I lost my mum (in my 20s) but didn't have children til my 30s. I agree it is hard when other people talk about their mums. Sure worse things happen but there is no loss like it and no gap like the one it leaves. I think there is a particular kind of loneliness in becoming a mum when you have lost your own mum but also perhaps the beginning of healing too.

You are already a good mummy, there's no such thing as a perfect one.

mentalhelfpriority Mon 10-Jan-11 19:00:56

Being a lovely Mum yourself now and having your own child could be forcing you to think about the past and not having had Mum around.Now you are realising that loss again through your own child perhaps? This is painful but a beneficial part of healing.Though dwelling on the past too often could be damaging to the relationship developing with your own child.A trick is to allow yourself time to have thoughts on Mum and what might have been for a length of time in quiet and tranquillity,then shut that box and lock it up in your mind until it has your permission to be unlocked! Keeping it separate from your day to day happiness with your child.You have the experience of knowing how important your role is more than others who have not lost their mother. It might be a suggestion to accept that this process you are feeling is not abnormal and is a natural response to life's past events.If this is making you lack confidence ask yourself why not having Mum around makes you any the less of a good Mum? There are often relatives or friends who are role models if this helps you and parenting classes are great for all of us regardless of our background one can gain from others knowledge and advice.The main thing I think is have confidence in your ability and enjoy the time with your child as it goes so fast.Many local groups have meetings to join and chat for bereavement issues which can be a big step forward.Time scale is irrelevant to pain and loss really.Here is one example tion/cbc_shop/free_downloadable_resources/supporti ng_children_bereaved_in_a_e_and_itu/national_organ isations_that

Scarlett175 Mon 10-Jan-11 19:08:23


I lost my mum at 28 and have found being a mum to my DD, 8 months has been a very emotional time, due to all what you have said. I think its hard whenever you lose your mum- for me when DD was newborn the love I felt for her was so overwhelming, every little thing reminded me of my strong bond with my mum and still does. Its a very bittersweet time, and no one else your family remembers all the details your mum does (my dad didn't even know what time i was born!!)

just the fact that you are thinking and trying to be the best mum you can be is enough- be kind to yourself. Your baby will love you for being you.


Dairyleah Tue 11-Jan-11 12:57:33

Thanks for all your responses, its given me a lot to think about. I can see that its not just me at least which is a relief! Thanks again x

DorisIsAPinkDragon Tue 11-Jan-11 13:09:52

Hi Dairyleah,

My mum is still around but I thought I might be able to come at it from the other direction... she lost her mum when she was 7 and was passed around relatives to bring up (she was the youngest of 5). I think the parenting she had as a child, made her a fabulous mum, she didn't have a role model (she did have the benefit of a large family and an unfair stepmother (just like a good fairy tale smile!)

Our relationship is rock solid and I now count her as one of my best friends ( nb she wasn't growing up she was consistent but definetly mummy not best friend).Enjoy your daughter and your relationship will grow and develop.

KnowNothing Tue 11-Jan-11 13:21:31

Hi Dairyleah, I'm so sorry for your loss.

My mum died when I was 3 years old and I don't remember her at all.

Having children definately brings home to you what you missed out on as a child, in fact there are a few key times I've really found this:

being the age my mum was when she died (and realising how young she was)

seeing friends with their mums (and hence their DC's grandchildren)

when DC are the age that I or my siblings were when our mum died

when I had a daughter. I had a son first, but having a daughter meant I was suddenly in a mother-daughter relationship again, scary stuff.

I read a book called Motherless Daughters and it was helpful in that 'Oh! Someone gets me!' sort of way. Having pretty much lost my maternal grandparents last year (gf died, gm has dementia) I have been very much struck by the loss of my mum, sort of for the first time. I am going to get some bereavement counselling soon.

My children and husband seem to think I'm a good mum. I suspect I'm 'good enough' but its taken a few years (they're 4 and 5) to feel like I am really a genuine one not just playing at something I know nothing about.

I suspect I am waffling now but the bottom line is, you are not alone, and I am sure you are a great mummy.

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