Transcript: Tips For Creating Your Own Mom Support Community When You Are Motherless
This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Tips For Creating Your Own Mom Support Community When You Are Motherless and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.
Helen Thompson: Bringing a little one into the world and raising them is a big thing, right? I think it’s fair to say that we generally anticipate that our mums will help support and guide us during the start of our new parenting journey and even help share the load a bit. What about those of us who are isolated and don’t have that luxury due to living far away from family, no longer having a mom or being estranged from our family?
Going through this challenging time of your life is tough on your own and this week’s guest, clinical psychologist. Melissa Reilly, knows all about how this feels. Melissa’s mom had passed away years before she had her first child and having her son stirred up a grief process. Melissa’s mission is in helping momless moms dealing with motherlessness and in this episode, you’ll hear her explain why it is extremely important to create your own mom community, of people who can help and support you. The four crucial people that you need to include in your mom community to ensure you get all the support you need…
And so much more.
Hi Melissa and welcome to First Time Mum’s Chat. I’m delighted to be speaking with you today and I’m looking forward to you sharing your journey and telling us more about what you help moms with.
Melissa Reilly: Thank You Helen, for having me on the show, I’m really excited to be here today. So I am a clinical psychologist and a coach for moms without a mom. And I’ve been really excited lately to be focusing my attention on helping those moms that are going through the mothering process without the support and guidance of a mom in their day to day life.
Helen Thompson: I love the name of your business. So you’re obviously a mom without a mom. So, can you share a little bit about that and how you started to help moms.
Melissa Reilly: Sure, so. I had my family later in life. So my focus early in life was on becoming a psychologist and I did that, created my practice and was very happy having a general practice where I saw children, adolescents, adults, couples, the whole gamut. And then started having my own family and gave birth to my son just a few days shy of my 38th birthday and it was that experience that made me realize that having my son stirred up a grief process that I had thought I was through having. So let me back up a little bit. My mom had passed away 10 years earlier and I was only 25 at the time. So my son wasn’t born. It was way before he was even thought of, and as a young adult I had gone through, Like I said, grieving, the loss of my mom, we’d become married, started my practice, had moved several times, so I had a lot of major life changes and knew what it was like to be an adult without the support and guidance of my mom. But then when I gave birth, as a mature woman, who owned a practice, was a psychologist, had taught child development at the graduate level. I really kind of expected myself to feel confident and secure in my parenting, but when my son was born I was so surprised by just how inadequate, how anxious and insecure I was in the process of parenting, because I didn’t have that support from my mom.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, that must have been a tough time for you because I know, for moms, it’s nice to have that support of your mom too. So that must have been a very tough time for you. So, your husband was he supportive and supported you?
Melissa Reilly: Sure my husband was supportive but regardless of how close your partner relationship is, they still aren’t your mother and they relate in a different way and an aspect that I wasn’t recognizing was the piece of developing your mom identity. So who are you as a mom, when you don’t have your own mother in your life to mirror that process with? So I define a mom without a mom as being either a mom whose mother has died, like mine had, but also moms who are separated from their mother by emotional estrangement or abandonment are moms without a mom because they don’t have their mom in their day to day life.
And also Helen, those moms that are separated from their mother by large physical distances are also experiencing differences because they don’t have their mom in their day to day life either and that includes military moms, moms that are in international school systems and even those that are in missionary fields.
Helen Thompson: Yeah I can appreciate that because although I haven’t had any kids, I moved to Australia when I was about 18. So, I can relate to not having a mom around. I did miss her a lot. It’s just nice to pick up the phone and say, hi mom.
Melissa Reilly: Right and to have somebody to ask those questions to and to even find out what was her experience like with you when you were going through similar things as a child and not having that creates this major void.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, my mom, her mother died when she was 22 and she had the three of us without her mom. And from observing my own mother, I could sense that she was finding it hard because she didn’t have somebody to talk to. She didn’t have somebody to relate to, but she was very close to my father’s mother so that helped a lot. She used her a lot for support, which was good.
Melissa Reilly: Yes. Very good and what I’ve found Helen, is that moms that don’t have a mom, don’t recognize that there is an actual difference. So there’s this assumption that being a mom without a mom is just the same as being a mom with your mom in your day to day life. And so when you look around and you see your friends or your coworkers, or even just people on social media, there’s a sense of why is it that I am struggling so much, why does this seem so much harder? And the reason is because it is, right! You don’t have that go to person that a mom often functions as, you don’t have the emotional support that a mom often provides, you don’t have easy access to somebody to be asking questions of and there isn’t somebody that you can call up in the middle of the night, oftentimes in a way that one would with their mom. So it’s for that reason that I talk with moms a lot about creating their mom community. So I think all moms should have a community of people they can turn to.
And I think it becomes especially true for those moms that don’t have their mom in their day to day life. And there are four people I think we should all include. And so the first person I like to call the wise woman and so this is somebody that knows things. She is the one that you can ask questions of, she’s generous with her advice and guidance, and she just knows the answers to things. And this can be a friend, but it can also be a professional. So teachers, therapists, counselors, coaches, service providers, anybody in the healthcare space can be one of those wise women.
The second person I like to call the emotional supporter and this is somebody that is really good at just listening. So they don’t try and cheer you up and they don’t try to give you advice. They just listen to what you’re going through.
The third person is someone I like to call the go getter. So, we all know somebody like this in our life. They seem to have unending energy, they can get things done really quickly and they love to help. And they’re always there to give a helping hand when you need it.
And then the fourth person is the late night talker. And this is somebody that is available during unusual times. So it could be late at night and this can be somebody again, that’s a friend, but it can also be a professional. It can be hotlines, but in today’s day and age with social media and being more global, it can also be somebody that’s just on a different part of the world as you and that you connect through texting or messenger.
Helen Thompson: I like those four. When you said the first one, I was thinking of the black community or the Indian communities who always have that support. Their family support is so strong, they always have that wise person that’s there for giving births. She may not be a midwife, but she’s got a lot of experience and they’re always there.
They always have that wise person there to help you and to give you that support and I think that’s really important because I think a lot of that’s gone in today’s world and I think what you do, it’s bringing all of that community back together, so there’s somebody there who you can talk to and can communicate with.
Melissa Reilly: Absolutely. I mean, we are not biologically designed to raise our children by ourselves. We are meant to be in communities, we are meant to support each other, we’re meant to come together. And that was one thing that I discovered was really essential was that I couldn’t do everything on my own and that it was not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
In fact, it’s a sign of strength in recognizing when you need help and where, and how to reach out to get it. And so I encourage all of the first time mom’s listening whether your mom’s in your life or she isn’t, it’s really important to reach out. You are not a burden when you reach out and it’s essential.
Helen Thompson: I believe there’s a lot of guilt out there that moms don’t want to do that because they feel, as you said that they may be a burden. They feel that they’re the ones who have got to deal with it and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you need that support, even if it is just, as you say, your four go-tos and having somebody who you can talk to is so important.
Melissa Reilly: Absolutely and I’ve got a little hack that I’d like to share. If you have four people in your life that you can ask to provide an hour of help once a month and think about it, have you ever batted an eyelash if a friend asks you to help for an hour once a month, I don’t care how busy you are. None of us ever think twice, right? That’s not a lot to ask. So if you have four friends, then you have an hour of support every week and that takes a huge load off of you.
Helen Thompson: Yeah, I think that’s good. That’s supportive and that’s what community should be all about and with your business, is there anything in particular you’d like to add about that?
Melissa Reilly: Well right now I am focusing on my coaching program that is designed specifically for moms without a mom. And so I am helping those moms like me, who don’t have a mom, to identify who their go-to people are, creating that community, helping them to recognize the grief process because regardless of how they’re separated, there is this sense of loss over not having what they had expected to have in their life.
And then I also help with the process of creating that mom identity and recognizing how has the relationship I had or didn’t have with my mom, continue to impact me as a mom. So those are the things I focus on when I work with moms without a mom. And right now it’s primarily an individual coaching package and I am in the process of creating a group coaching practice and some master classes and some other things along the line, but that’ll be down the line as we get going, but I would love to offer your listeners, Helen, two free guides.
There’s one in particular that I think would really apply and that’s what I call the Care For Yourself While You Care For Your Baby and it is a guide that has six tips on self-care that don’t involve separating yourself from your baby. So as a mom, without a mom, you may not have somebody to watch your child so that you can go get your nails done, right.
Self-care can’t always occur by being alone. So these are six easy tips. How to care for yourself while you’re caring for your baby at the same time. And so I’d love to offer that to your listeners. And the other one is called the Enjoy Being a Mom Again Quick Guide and that focuses on helping moms that find themselves being distracted by the thoughts of their mom and it takes them away from being present with their kids and it provides a strategy on how to become focused again on what’s important to them. So I’d love to make those available to your listeners.
Helen Thompson: Thank you. That sounds good. I’m sure that it’ll be very much appreciated because as you said, I think having that support in that community is really good and I’ll make sure they’re put in the show notes so people can click through to them. So thank you for sharing that with me, I appreciate that and is there anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be beneficial to moms without a mom?
Melissa Reilly: Absolutely, first and foremost, you aren’t alone. There’s lots of us out there and I want you to realize that what you’re experiencing as a mom, without a mom, Is normal. There isn’t something wrong with you because this is difficult and because you feel like you’re struggling. It is a process that is hard when you are doing it by yourself. So reach out, connect, I also offer a free call. So if you’re looking to connect and don’t know where to start, no sales pitch, no obligation, nothing.
Just reach out because I don’t want you to feel alone.
Helen Thompson: Thank you for that and if somebody wanted to get in touch with you to do exactly what you’ve just said how would they go about doing that?
I think the easiest place is on my website. It’s called MomsWithoutAMom.com. They can also follow me on Instagram, also moms without a mom and Facebook. So all the normal places.
Okay. Well, thank you, Melissa. Thank you so much. I think talking to someone like you who’s had that experience is very valuable because as you say, I know there are a lot of mums out there who may not have a mom. So thank you so much for being part of this podcast. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you.
Melissa Reilly: Thank you, Helen. I appreciate the opportunity.
Helen Thompson: Melissa shared some great tips during our chat, and she certainly knows her stuff when it comes to building that all important mom community. When you do not have the support of your mom for whatever reason, I highly encourage you to check out Melissa’s free guides, which she mentioned. And if you’re feeling alone, then take her up on the offer of a free call.
I’ve included links to where you can access these as well as Melissa’s website, Instagram and Facebook presence in the show notes, which can be accessed at MyBabyMassage.net/podcast/081.