Losing a parent as a child is always traumatic. And its impact is long-term.
Two short sentences but they say a lot, especially for those of us who have become bereaved by a parental death before the age of 18.
I first became aware of the unique difficulties motherhood would present to me when at 5 months pregnant at the doctors office, the ultrasound technician announced the gender of my baby. The reaction I had to the news startled the tech, shocked my husband and left me with a deep feeling of aloneness and despair.
”How can I be a mother to a girl if I grew up without a mother?”
It was then that I realized that the journey of parenthood as a motherless mother is going to be fraught with intense emotions and my dormant grief and trauma are going to accompany me all the way.
Even though in this episode we talk about death specifically, I want you to think about loss more broadly as it comes in many other forms: abandonment, mental illness, and separation.
Some key points
- Why we don’t like talking about grief
- How there is no getting over it when it comes to grief
- How not all loss is traumatic
- Hitting important life milestones and transitions as a motherless mother such as: approaching, just turned or passing the age of your mom when she died and your child turning the age you were when your mother died
Hope Edelman has been writing, speaking, and leading workshops and retreats in the bereavement field for more than 25 years.
She was 17 when she lost her mother to breast cancer and 40 when her father died, events that inspired her to offer grief education and support to those who cannot otherwise receive it.
Hope’s first book, Motherless Daughters, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and appeared on multiple bestseller lists worldwide. Hope’s most recent book, The AfterGrief, offers an innovative new language for discussing the long arc of loss. She has published six additional books, including Motherless Mothers and the memoir, The Possibility of Everything. Her work has been translated into 14 languages and published in 11 countries.
Hope has also published articles and essays in numerous publications and anthologies, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Real Simple, Parade, and CNN.com. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. She is a certified Martha Beck Life Coach and has also done certificate training in narrative therapy.
Judith Ruskay Rabinor, PhD, is a clinician, author, writing coach, speaker, and workshop leader.
Over the past 40 years she has specialized in the mother-daughter relationship. Her most recent book The Girl in the Red Boots: Making Peace with My Mother is a beautiful memoir-soulful exploration of the mother-daughter bond.
In addition to her New York City private psychotherapy practice, she offers remote consultations for families, therapists and writers. Judy has published dozens of articles for both the public and professionals and has authored two previous books, A Starving Madness: Tales of Hunger, Hope and Healing (Gurze Books, 2002) and Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Ex and Yes, Your Ex! (New Harbinger Publications, 2012). A sought-after speaker and workshop leader, Judy speaks at national and international mental health conferences and runs workshops at spas, colleges and universities, and retreat centers.
Mentioned links and resources
- Hope Edelman’s website
- Judith Rabinor’s webiste
- Ep. 290 : The Complicated Mother-Daughter Relationship with Judith Rabinor, Ph.D
- Motherles Daughthers by Hope Edelman
- Motherless Mothers by Hope Edelamn
- The AfterGrief by Hope Edelamn
- The Girl in The RedBoots: Making Peace with My Mother by Judith Rabinor
Other episodes you may enjoy
- 194: The Dark Side of Motherhood
- 104: Overcoming Childhood Trauma
- 67: Not Like My Mother: Breaking Free from the Past
- 77: Loss, Grief and the Mysterious Meanings of Your Dreams
- 98: Healing from Trauma
- 99: Should We Forgive Our Parents?
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