May 6, 2020


What is Mother’s Day without a mum? It’s a sad, empty day for many. But there are ways to prepare and even celebrate a motherless Mothers Day.

Leigh Van Der Horst, a Melbourne mum of 4, lost her beloved mother to cancer in 2008. As a 32-year-old mother to 3 young boys, Leigh felt as though her world had fallen apart.

After picking up the pieces and completely re-building who she was, Leigh set about creating a best selling book called ‘Without My Mum’ for others who had experienced a similar loss in the hope that they would not feel alone in their grief.

Leigh now a qualified Nurse, runs a private Facebook group for Motherless Women, offering a safe space to grieve and be supported whilst also supporting others.

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Leigh hopes that by helping women worldwide, they can begin to believe in themselves and to live their best lives.

One of Leigh’s blogs really resonates during Mother’s Day. A day many motherless children dread!

Leigh writes, “OK, so, here we go… It’s the lead up to Mother’s Day again. You know what..? It’s not all bad ladies. Honestly, it really comes down to how you approach it. I know this as I am coming up to my 9th Mother’s Day without my mum. Are you in need some strength? Read on darlings…

Yep, it’s tough. No denying that. The advertisements reminding us of what we can no longer celebrate with our mothers, the gifts everywhere aimed at our mothers, the emails, the catalogues, the stores… It is EVERYWHERE..

My approach once was to avoid the shops all together. It worked for me for a short while but this is the real world. How could I control absolute silence and shutting off entirely? I couldn’t. And I shouldn’t! It is what it is. And I know that many others are in the same boat, sailing this turbulent journey with me. Sometimes the waves are too rough, sometimes they come crashing down on us, sometimes they are smooth but all too commonly they are unpredictable!

It’s all about ‘the triggers‘ darlings.

It’s about knowing your strengths (and weaknesses) and being kind to yourself.

At this time of year, many are feeling more vulnerable than usual. In this case, don’t put yourself through anything that you don’t have to.

Create a space of safety for yourself, whatever that may be.

Know that everywhere you go, you are going to be reminded of what you have lost.

Prepare for the inevitable. Don’t get angry about it. It is what it is and many others are in the same boat as you. You are not alone, truly, you aren’t. If you are a mum, think of your beautiful children and how much they adore you. Allow that love to wash over you. You deserve it.

What are your plans for the big day?

Are they what YOU want to do? Whether you are a mother or not, you really need to honour the day (or at least part of it!) your way. If you know that you will be spending the day how you would like to, the lead up is not so hard.

Are you planning to honour your mother? You still can… Create new traditions. Buy flowers in her honour and display them in your home in remembrance. Visit her favourite spot and just sit quietly in your thoughts. Write her a letter and send it off in a balloon. Visit family and talk about her, laugh about those funny moments. It’s ok. You can laugh…

Be prepared

I know that if I prepare for potential emotional triggers, I am better equipped for them if/when they arise. It may sound dramatic but grief is an unrelenting bastard that hits with little warning so let’s make sure that we are in a place of strength and understanding when it does. Often knowing that I’m not alone is enough to pull me out, hopefully the same may apply to you…

So, as this week rolls on, prepare.

Should you be getting more sleep each night? Plan to have early nights. Spending too much time on social media? Switch off! Is your mind racing? Read a good book. Feeling sluggish? Go on some lovely long walks. Need an outlet? Get crafty! Treat yourself with care and respect…

I truly hope that you are all ok and that this Mother’s Day is a nice one for you. Never forget that your mother would want nothing more than for you to be happy. And she would be so proud of your strength… Try and enjoy being spoilt, you deserve it.”

What are your strategies for preparing and dealing with a motherless Mothers Day? Share your comments below. 

Read more:

  • Thinking of anyone who doesnt have a mum on days like this it must be very hard and sad


  • Mum is gone but she would be happy to see me spend it with my boys.


  • I have my own children, so I celebrate Motherhood with them :)


  • I understand as I lost my Mum many years ago. We were very close so I guess that makes it harder.


  • Sadly I no longer have my Mother so it is always a sad day.


  • My mother and I weren’t all that close, but I sure miss her now that she has gone. I was a daddies girl and mum had her son wasn’t interested in me – think we both missed out on something that could have been precious. My girls and I are quite close however.


  • I couldn’t even begin to know how they feel, as thankfully my Mum is still here


  • I still have my mum and ground it difficult not being able to see her on mother’s day, I’d hate the thought of losing her.


  • I don’t find it difficult as my Mum and I weren’t all that close. She had a lot of mental health issues which I know she couldn’t control. I wish every one a Happy Mother’s Day.


  • My mother died when I was a child so yeah it gets tough sometimes and not many people can relate as losing your parent as an adult is very different to growing up without her.


  • I’ve never been close to my mum, so even though she’s still around, I don’t bother to mark it.


  • A very sad day for many people indeed. My mother died 2 years ago, my husband’s mother last year.


  • I suppose this would be hard for those who were close to their mothers. It’s another reminder that they are not around, to be loved, honoured and celebrated. I do feel for those people. But then there’s the other people who are having a motherless Mother’s Day, whose mothers weren’t good for them, and it’s a day to remind themselves they are better off. and I feel happy for those people too


  • Hard to believe what happened this year.


  • Mothers Day always has been a day my heart goes out to those who miss their mum or those who miss/lost their child(ren) or those who can’t conceive; bless all those Mums !


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